Archives for 2009

Celestial Convenience

Leaders at Jordan Lutheran Church in North Carolina are promoting a gas discount at a BP station in Cary, N.C., to show people that God cares about their practical needs, too, TV station NBC 17 reported. The church will promote 50-cent-per-gallon gas at Dolphins BP on Jan. 17 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., NBC 17

Innovator Of The Year

The Griffin Report of Food Marketing has named Rutter’s Farm Stores as its 2008 Convenience Store Innovator of the Year. The Griffin Report ( covers the food industry for supermarkets, restaurants and convenience stores from Maine to Florida, and has a monthly readership of more than 50,000. Award criteria included foodservice offerings, store design, environmentally

Why Not Wi-FI?

BP North America has turned to Dayton, Ohio-based network management company HarborLink Network and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Wi-Fi services company Ruckus Wireless to offer a next-generation Wi-Fi service for free at 50 BP sites nationwide. If it’s well received, the service could be rolled out at additional BP locations, said BP Spokesman Scott Dean. Dubbed “Smart

Tesco, Wal-Mart Dig In Their Heels

It’s been more than a year since Tesco and Wal-Mart first scrawled their battle lines for a convenience-channel fight on the West Coast, and already analysts are predicting that retail Goliath Wal-Mart could have a fight on its hands. A report by Business Week said that Tesco’s Fresh & Easy stores, launched in November 2007

Winnings For All

A Detroit gas station owner is discounting gas prices after one of his customers won a $1 million lottery prize last week, the Detroit Free Press reported. Kayed Bazzi, owner of a BP in Detroit, received a $2,000 commission from the Michigan State Lottery after he sold the winning ticket. One day next week, he’s

Sheetz Awards Free Gas To Ohio Resident

Sheetz Inc. awarded a Canton, Ohio man free gas for a year on Tuesday as part of a gas-giveaway promotion in its Ohio stores. The man won $2,000 worth of free gas after signing up for a My Sheetz Card. The company is awarding the prize to 17 other customers in Ohio in the coming

Turbulent Times for Tobacco

Fasten your seat belts because 2009 will likely be one of the most turbulent years for the tobacco industry in recent memory. The outcome of the federal elections has further cemented Democratic control in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House and ushered in a new liberal administration with President-elect Obama waiting to be

Three-Mile Marketing

As John Matthews sees it, a store languishing in mediocrity is a store that has become wallpaper in the halls of retail.   “Generally, when starting a business, it’s easy to get people excited when its new and fresh,” said Matthews, founder of Chicago-based retail marketing firm Gray Cat Enterprises. “After a few years, though,

Operations Wake-Up Call

Tougher economic times are pushing convenience retailers to look at how they can improve operations. While cutting costs may be one common theme, savvy retailers are also looking at other avenues to help them stand out among the competition. “The economy changed and that changes how people are buying,” said Brooks Blair, owner of Bells

Foodservice Flexibility

Few items that c-stores carry personify the industry’s mission more fully than sandwiches and wraps:  convenient, colorful, fast, tasty, inexpensive and full of impulse-sale potential. But the fact that consumers can also find them everywhere—from Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble to Starbucks and every local grocery and convenience store in between—means operators have to get

Honoring Our Past

This month begins a very special year for Convenience Store Decisions. Throughout 2009 we are committed to recognizing the leaders and innovators that have shaped the convenience store and petroleum industry and helped create this multi-billion-dollar retail sector. Legends in Retailing will focus on the challenges operators faced in the early days of the industry,

Reaching Your Target Audience

When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise. There’s no doubt we’re trudging through some tough times—it’s been this way for at least the past year. And there’s certainly no “crystal ball” to tell us when it’ll all be over. We might pull out of this down cycle sooner

Americans’ Changing Love Affair with Pizza

Consumers have shifted their pizza-ordering habits, cutting back on weekdays but ordering more often on weekends, Technomic Information Services found earlier this year. In 2006, Technomic found that 35% of consumers indicated that they would primarily order pizza for dinner during the week, and just over a quarter (28%) typically ordered pizza for dinner during

The Maine Thing

If you’re driving north or south along a crooked road just inside Maine’s Atlantic coast, you’re eating up New England’s northernmost scenery on Interstate 95. Trucking southbound through the state’s southern belly, you might stop off for gas in the town of Waterville and find J&S Oil’s Xpress Stop Service Station sitting just off the

BP Testing “Smart Wi-Fi” at U.S. Stores

BP North America has teamed with two wireless networking firms to pilot a souped-up version of Wi-Fi at 50 stores nationwide, all in hopes of adding more value to the customer experience. “We’re very interested in what the customer reaction will be,” said BP spokesman Scott Dean. “We have high hopes for this.” BP turned

Flying J Files For Chapter 11

Ogden, Utah-based Flying J Inc. has filed voluntary petitions for itself and some of its subsidiaries to reorganize under Chapter 11.  The company operates nearly 250 travel plazas and gas stations nationwide, and it had 2007 sales exceeding $16 billion. Flying J President and CEO J. Phillip Adams said the filing was triggered by a

By the Numbers

» 13 Months in prison Ashraf “Mike” Ali, owner of 26 Fast and Easy convenience stores in California’s Bay Area, will serve for an elaborate scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration. » 25 Ranking for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores on Forbes’ 2008 list of the largest private companies in the U.S., a

EZ Energy Acquires 42 Stations

EZ Energy USA Inc., the U.S. entity of Israeli-based EZ Energy Ltd., has signed a contract to acquire 42 gas stations in the U.S. and all related inventory—as well as four lots—for a reported $32.6 million. When the deal is closed, EZ Energy will own 93 stores that sell approximately 160 million gallons of gas

Step One: Knowing Your PCI Merchant Level

Merchant Levels are designated by the PCI Standard as follows: Level 1: Any merchant, regardless of acceptance channel, processing over 6 million Visa transactions per year; that has suffered a hack or an attack that resulted in an account data compromise; that Visa, at its sole discretion, determines should meet the Level 1 merchant requirements

Pilot Testing Electronic Smokeless Products

In an effort to boost sales in the smokeless category, Pilot convenience stores in the Knoxville, Tenn., market are testing the Vegas E-cigar, a product manufactured by Minneapolis-based Ruyan America Inc. that looks and feels like a premium cigar, but uses a microchip and nicotine-infused liquid to produce a vapor that provides its user with

Casey’s Intros New Store

In keeping with a plan outlined in 2008, Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s General Stores is rolling out expanded store designs. Casey’s executives said that roughly six stores with the new design are open or nearing completion, and the company hopes to finish a total of 20 by the end of April. The new ‘O’ floor plan

Redbox Heads To 7-Eleven

An instant video-rental concept is moving into a leading c-store chain after storming the  grocery channel. Redbox is spreading into 7-Eleven stores nationwide as it continues its focus on the c-store market. Starting this month and continuing through next year, Redbox will be installing its DVD rental machines into 2,600 7-Eleven locations nationwide, boosting its

Establishing the Right Foodservice Brand

There are few sure things in business. But partnering with an established foodservice brand could be about as close as one can get. That’s because proven concepts offer so much, such as built-in brand equity, customer loyalty, honed or even turnkey systems with shorter learning curves, proven menus and recipes, pre-existing designs and equipment packages

Focused on the Future

If it has mechanical parts or it’s sown from a seed, Nevada resident Donald Bently can probably enhance its performance or improve its propensity for growth. To shorten a very long story, in fact, this accomplished inventor and engineer has chiseled himself some commanding niches in the most curious and seemingly disparate of industries: pressurized

Ethnic Flair Drives Roller Grill

My, how the roller grill continues to evolve. No longer visited exclusively by customers hungry for a hot dog, roller grills now boast a growing variety of ethnic foods nationwide, featuring everything from Mexican tortas to pork-filled Chinese steamed buns to breadsticks stuffed with jalapeno peppers and cheese. “We brought egg rolls and tornados into