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Are Employees Sabotaging Your Company?

Consultants Julie Miller and Brian Bedford share 10 employee types  whose attitudes and actions are sabotaging your company’s accountability,  costing you money, and sending customers running for the hills. A CSD Staff Report We all know what it’s like to be promised, “I’ll get back to you on that question,” only to never hear another

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Banking on Cigarettes

Declining sales, consolidation and consumer alternatives pose challenges for retailers who rely on cigarette sales to maintain margins. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Cigarettes Are still a vital c-store category despite recent declining sales. Restrictive regulations and new competition in the form of both dollar stores and alternative products like e-cigarettes and vapor tanks are

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Packaging Precision

When mulling food packaging options, label appeal and on-the-go performance are important considerations. By David Bennett, Senior Editor At a time when consumers increasingly perceive private label, food retail brands as competitive with big-name brands in terms of cost and quality, innovative packaging solutions can add value to a convenience store’s take out food program.

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Hola to Ethnic Breakfasts

Handheld, ethnic breakfast offerings, such as tacos, tortillas, empanadas and kolaches, are hot stuff everywhere from quick-service restaurants to convenience stores around the country. Retailers explain how they are spicing up their breakfast sales with these ethnic edibles. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Mexican in the morning is now mainstream, said Aaron Noveshen, founder and

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Menu Makeover

New flavors and small portion snacks can add excitement to an otherwise traditional foodservice menu. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience store retailers pursuing proprietary foodservice have the challenge of keeping menus exciting and innovative, while still offering tried-and-true favorites that keep regulars coming back for more. Snacks and appetizers are one menu section where

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Tea for Two…and More

The demand for tea grows as more consumers seek out healthy beverages. C-store chains like QuikTrip are responding by offering up to 10 flavors of fresh-brewed teas. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Texas technology professional Sheryl Thompson spent about a decade drinking four 12-ounce cans of brand-name soda every day. When Thompson wanted to lose

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NACS: Must Go Show of 2014

Last minute tips for getting the most out of the NACS Show. By Jim Callahan It happens just once a year and it’s almost here. Unlike any other c-store trade show, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show must be experienced live. Whether you’re as large a chain as 7-Eleven or operate a single

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7-Eleven Powers Up its Fresh Foods Menu

7-Eleven marks the first retailer to offer Tony Horton Kitchen Foods. Celebrity health and fitness expert Tony Horton has teamed with 7‑Eleven Inc. to launch a new line of healthy and nutritious foods and cold-pressed juices under the Tony Horton Kitchen label. Tony Horton, the master behind the best-selling fitness program, Beachbody P90X, is a

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Wells Fargo Offers Insights On Non-Combustible Nicotine Industry

Following the recent ECig Vegas Conference Wells Fargo offers key takeaways, predictions. Wells Fargo Securities recently spoke on the “Views From Wall Street” panel at the ECig Vegas Industry Conference. “After attending/speaking at this conference, we continue to sense uncertainty around the broad vapor category, likely driven by eventual increased regulation and where the industry

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Top Shelf Retailing

Shelf tags are becoming an increasingly important component of reducing out-of-stocks and providing a better customer service experience. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Before heading to his neighborhood gym, Terrance Stewart of Fort Worth, Texas, stopped at a local convenience store to pick up an energy drink. He selected his favorite from the cooler and

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Debit-Card Reform Helps Consumers Save Almost $18 Billion

Reform also supported 100,000 new jobs in three years. As part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, Congress reformed the debit-card swipe fees that banks charge merchants. The regulations have now been in effect three years. In that short time, the debit reform—known as the Durbin Amendment for the senator who introduced it—has created

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Tri-Lakes Petroleum Opens New Location

Shows customer appreciation with event and giveaways. On Aug. 20, local CITGO Marketer Tri-Lakes Petroleum LLC and CITGO Petroleum celebrated the grand opening of its newest location in Kalamazoo with a customer appreciation event. As part of the celebration, more than 150 locals gathered at the new station, located at 6300 E Michigan Ave., to

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Hershey Wins P3 Impact Award

CocoaLink Program recognized for improving the lives of cocoa farmers in Ghana. The Hershey Co. was honored at the Concordia Summit with the prestigious P3 Impact award for its CocoaLink mobile phone program in Ghana. Cocoa experts create weekly text and voice messages based on the cocoa-growing calendar and farmers use their own mobile phones

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Making Prepaid Pay

Marketing, merchandising and knowing customers’ needs are keys to expanding prepaid profitability. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Research indicates that the amount of money spent at retail on prepaid services continues to grow in the U.S. But that may not necessarily mean the category will pay off handsomely for every c-store operator. The total dollars loaded

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Is Loyalty Right For Me?

Experts debate the challenges and benefits of integrating mobile payment and loyalty at convenience stores. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Mobile payment is fast becoming a reality. More c-stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are introducing payment and/or loyalty apps, and the recent announcement of Apple Pay is being heralded as a game changer in the mobile

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Kretek Names Five New Key Account Managers

Business growth and new retail chains are driving the need for greater account service. Kretek International Inc., exclusive importer and marketer of Djarum and Cuban Rounds Cigars, Voodoo and EZ Cig e-vapor products, DjEEP lighters, Nuvino Wines, and VirMax male performance products, has added five new key account sales managers in their Central and Northeast

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Make Sure You’re Secure

With credit card data hackers becoming increasingly innovative and sophisticated in their methods, it’s more important than ever for retailers to comply with current security standards set by the PCI Security Standards Council. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Target, Supervalu, UPS, PF Chang’s and, most recently, Home Depot and even Dairy Queen—American retailers are being victimized

A Teaching Moment

By Tony Huppert, CEO, Team Oil Inc. I arrived at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning at the Team Oil Travel Center.  The previous day, my business partner and I decided to clear out the 700 DVDs we had in stock. My partner, Eric, directed the staff to put them all on the shelf and

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Starting Your Own Consulting Business

John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises. Recently, I celebrated my ten-year anniversary as a management consultant. It has always been a life-long dream of mine to be on my own and in 2004 I realized that goal. I had spent some 20 years in corporate America prior to and breaking out on

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Developing A Retail Real Estate Strategy

By John Matthews, founder and president, Gray Cat Enterprises Organic growth by a retailer is an exciting time for the company. Reinvesting earnings into the expansion of their branded stores through new construction communicates that a) business has been good; b) by growing the network of stores through brand-new locations, it helps strengthen market share;

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Recognizing Your Best Customers

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises. Last month, I was participating in a client meeting and like most meetings that are lengthy, food is generally brought in and we eat/meet on the fly. This time we ordered a bunch of pizza and drinks to feed a group of 20 or so.

Developing Open Communication With Your Vendor Partners

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Imagine a business world where resources were plentiful and industry expertise could be available at every juncture. Where decisions could be made that dovetailed alignment in support of your strategic plan throughout your networks. Imagine a world that anticipates your directives and assists in

A Blog About Writing A Blog

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. About three years ago I began to publish a blog focused mainly on improving processes within small business. Many of these blogs are derived from having worked many years in larger organizations and attempting to translate those experiences to smaller businesses in the retail

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Phillips 66 Continues to Drive Retail Innovation

The Houston-based energy company is piloting several test programs and rolling out new images to help its branded marketers boost sales and attract new business. By John Lofstock, Editor Phillips 66, which supplies more than 7,100 outlets under the Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco brands, continues to innovate. Through a strategic program called Experience 66,

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Retailers Meet Goal in Preventing Tobacco Sales to Minors

NATO Executive Director Thomas Briant discusses the policies that have been successful in curbing cigarette sales to minors. By John Lofstock, Editor A new report just released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates retailers continue to meet federal mandates banning tobacco sales to youths under the age of 18. Tom

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