The Customer: Wine Appetites and Beer Wallets

The 2008 consumer, complex and roiling in its many needstates, has become a multi-headed hydra whose rituals and habits are being altered by external forces. It is, however, a creature predictable on at least one front: It always appreciates the convenience and value of the neighborhood c-store. Pinched by rising costs of fuel, food and

Faith-Fueled and Furious

At a jail in Valparaiso, Ind., there’s a rebel musician who’s probably wishing he’d sung just a little bit louder. At a church in San Francisco, there’s a holy man wishing he and his flock had prayed just a little bit harder. And in a backwater town just outside Kansas City, Mo., there’s a new

Technology Driving Safety and Cash Management

Safeguarding c-stores and the people and property in and around them is getting easier and more economical thanks largely to incremental advances in a variety of technologies. Among them: safes that do more, software systems that communicate better and electronic eyes that see more. Theft and mayhem of all types, from gas pump drive-offs and

Corralling the Customers

There’s little debating the sort of purchase Buffalo Bill Cody would make these days if he could ramble into one of the southwest Missouri corner stores that brandish his name. “He seemed like a beef jerky kind of guy to me,” Curtis Jared, president and CEO of Cody’s Convenience Stores, said of the cowpoke-turned-entertainer who’s

Hometown Convenience

Folks in Walla Walla, Wash., say their town is so nice, you have to say it twice. Bill and Loretta Singer (pictured on front) may be inclined to say it three or four times, seeing as the dynamics in this small town 13 miles north of the Oregon border have grown their relatively young convenience

Rutter’s Is Tops With Locals

Rutter’s topped the York Sunday News’ 2008 “Best of York” rankings in six categories, beating out a number of other national brands, the company said. Rutter’s took first place in the six categories evaluated by its hometown newspaper, including breakfast, coffee, deli/sub/sandwich, fast food, lunch and milk. York, Pa.-based Rutter’s bested the likes of Cracker

Uni-Marts LLC Files For Bankruptcy

Uni-Marts LLC, operator of 283 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, has voluntarily filed bankruptcy, but in the meantime will continue operating most of its stores without interruption. The move, however, will result in closure of at least 45 Uni-Marts stores. The company and six subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions this week under Chapter

Fresh & Easy Adds To Product Lineup

West Coast retailer Fresh & Easy said it added 23 new self-branded kitchen products to its lineup this week, all of which were developed by Fresh & Easy Chef Mike Ainslie. The company also introduced product No. 3 million to stores this week: a 17-ounce package of Fresh & Easy Mashed Potatoes made using only

CHS Exec Calls For Delay On Lieberman-Warner Bill

CHS Inc. Executive Vice President and COO Leon Westbrock drafted a letter this week criticizing the Lieberman-Warner Bill pending in the U.S. Senate. “Next week the U.S. Senate may vote on the Lieberman-Warner bill which is intended to address greenhouse gas issues through a complex program of allowances targeted at our nation’s key industries,” Westbrock

Zarco 66 Station Turning To Turbine Power

C-store chain Zarco 66, of Kansas, is taking its forward-thinking ecological practices a step further by planning green technologies such as the installation of a small-scale wind turbine atop its fuel island canopy, the Lawrence Journal reported. Lawrence City Commissioners gave tentative approval to Zarco 66 President Scott Zaremba’s plans to add a small-scale wind

Altria Pushing OTP Over Cigarettes

Altria Group Inc. told shareholders this week that it’s looking to bolster its OTP business as domestic cigarette sales continue to decline, a decision also motivated by concerns about health, smoking bans and price increases, the Associated Press reported. Altria CEO Michael Szymanczyk told shareholders that while Altria will still be able to build market

Oklahoma City Travel Plaza Switches Hands

An investment group in Oklahoma City, Okla., has purchased the Anderson Travel Plaza in that town, giving the group free reign on almost 11 acres complete with two convenience stores, a trucker’s lounge, a 120-seat full-service restaurant called The Silver Spoon and other amenities at the Phillips 66-branded site. Andrew Geller, managing partner of 333

Calif. Authorities Investigate Card-Skimming

San Jose police are investigating an incident at a gas station where a couple used their ATM card to pay for gas and ended up falling victim to a skimming scheme, news stations in that city reported. The couple said they rarely use their ATM card, and noticed that $1,500 was taken from their bank

TravelCenters of America Adopts E-Payment Services

Coinstar E-Payment Services’ full range of Pay-As-You-Go products and services will be available in TravelCenters of America’s full-service travel centers operating under the "TA", "TravelCenters of America" and "Petro Stopping Centers" brands. The lineup of Coinstar Pay-As-You-Go products includes prepaid wireless, long distance, gift cards, financial services like prepaid re-loadable and one-time gift debit cards

Shareholders Reject ExxonMobil CEO-Chairman Split

Exxon Mobil Corp. shareholders on Wednesday rejected a resolution to bar its CEO, Rex Tillerson, from serving as the company’s chairman, Bloomberg news reported. The rejection also killed plans to have the company adopt greenhouse-gas reduction targets. A proposal to split the CEO and chairman’s roles received 39.5% support at the company’s annual meeting in

CHS Completes Refinery Project

CHS Inc. said it has completed a $400 million upgrade to an oil refinery near Billings, Mont., which could give the company the ability to increase fuel production at that location by more than 20%. The company marked the completion of the two-year project at an event held at the refinery on Wednesday. A diversified

Couche-Tard Bolsters Food Offering

Alimentation Couche-Tard, Convenience Store Decisions’ 2007 Convenience Store Chain of the Year, continues to respond to consumer demand with its introduction of Couche-Tard Menu stores. With their bright and welcoming self-service environment, these stores feature not only the traditional products they are known for, but also a vast range of brand name prepared meals, warm pastries

Rutter’s Unveils Ecofriendly Store

Rutter’s Farm Stores unveiled its latest store design this past week, a 5,200-square-foot ecofriendly site in Springettsburry Township in York County, Pa. The North Hills Road store features a modern, environmentally friendly design with a white roof to cool the building and reduce energy demand, the company said. It’s the first of 10 new stores

7-Eleven Embarks On DSD Experiment

Dallas-based 7-Eleven is embarking on a direct-store delivery experiment in Southern California in hopes of sharpening up the entire DSD process, the company’s CEO, Joe DePinto, announced last week at the 2008 Beverage Forum in New York. The plan is not to bypass the DSD process, DePinto said, but to bundle rival marketers’ brands on

InBev May Be Drafting Merger With A-B

Belgian beer giant InBev is working up what may be a $44.6 billion offer for Anheuser-Busch, according to The New York Times. The world’s largest brewer by sales volume and the maker of Stella Artois, InBev already has some ties to Anheuser-Busch, as it distributes Budweiser in Canada while A-B imports InBev beers like Stella

Pennsylvania Allowing Half-Gallon Pricing

Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture is temporarily allowing half-gallon pricing on gas sales as a short-term fix for problems at old fuel pumps that can’t display the current market’s high prices. While most fuel dispensers in Pennsylvania can display per-gallon prices over $4, as well as calculate accumulated costs for a purchase, the state’s Department of

Worsley Acquires L’il Cricket Stores

Worsley Operating Corporation, of Wilmington, N.C., has acquired Li’l Cricket Food Stores Inc., the operator of 88 convenience stores in South Carolina under the Li’l Cricket brand name, the company said. Worsley is an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., a private investment firm focused on leveraged buyouts, equity, and other investments in market-leading companies.

Chester’s Opens At Love’s Travel Plaza

Chester’s International, a fried chicken foodservice provider for the convenience store industry, has opened a new location at Love’s Travel Stop in Hubbard, Ohio at exit 234 off Interstate 80, the company said. The Hubbard location, located just across the Pennsylvania state line, celebrated its grand opening on May 22. Love’s Travel Stops & Country

Kroger’s Enhances Fuel Discount Program

The Kroger Co. is offering customers the ability to earn up to 15 cents off per gallon on fuel by accumulating credits through purchases made at the company’s U.S. stores. Most of the fuel discount programs offered by Kroger and its family of stores reward customers with a minimum of 10 cents off per gallon

Researchers: McDonald’s Coffee Sales Are Stale

McDonald Corp.’s coffee program may not be posting sales as high as some analysts had hoped, according to The Chicago Tribune and Technomic. Specialty coffee sales in McDonald’s test markets seem tepid, the Tribune reported, adding that the category accounted for less than 3% of sales per restaurant.

 "Those numbers indicate they are off to

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