whitehen

What’s in a Brand?

Convenience retailers come and go; that’s the reality of the business. However, some brands seem destined to endure. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Arguably, it’s taken the convenience store industry two decades to catch up to the illustrious White Hen Pantry chain that sprang from Chicagoland. At its peak, White Hen was comprised of 300

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Judging the New and Unique

 Drawing Duchess Shoppe customers in Ohio, CSD recently rolled out a products competition that evaluated the latest in snacks, sweets and drink offerings. By David Bennett, Senior Editor hielded from the mid-Ohio sun by a spacious tent erected in the parking lot, the curious and the eager, the young and the old weighed what goodies

ECig

Exploring Tobacco’s Future

As cigarette sales drag, OTP segments are filling the gap. For real momentum, however, e-cigs are breaking away from the pack. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Except for automobiles, processed food and banking perhaps, few U.S. industries have encountered the vast market influences that tobacco has. In the past century, the tobacco industry has been

Woman

Don’t Blow Off Cigarettes

Cigarette sales have been steadily declining, but the category is too big to ignore and too lucrative to disappear any time soon. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Since cigarettes sales have been slowly falling the last few years, convenience retailers have invested in foodservice and other ventures to help balance in-store revenue—which seems a wise

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New Products Attract the Curious

Duchess Shoppe customers treated to the latest in snacks, sweets and drink offerings. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Shielded from the mid-Ohio sun by a spacious tent erected in the parking lot, the curious and the eager, the young and the old were inclined to participate in the first Consumer’s Choice Contest The event, sponsored

e-cigs

Are E-Cigarettes The Future of Tobacco?

As big tobacco enters the e-tobacco category, retailers take notice. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The U.S. cigarette market retains a resilient presence—enabled by strong consumer loyalty—but regulatory initiatives continue to chip away at the industry’s dominance. As a result, customers are increasingly exploring smoking alternatives and looking to other tobacco products (OTP) from smokeless

525 Killingly Street Front View

A C-Store for All Seasons

With the means to stand out, Seasons Corner Market is separating itself from its New England competitors. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In one way, convenience stores are like suspects in a police lineup. Usually, it’s distinguishing features that make them the most noticeable. Whether it’s following the hottest foodservice trends, regaling patrons with a

zarcopump

Pump It Up

Smart forecourt technology comes in various shapes and solutions and often fits any operation, depending on the retailer’s needs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Despite traditionally thin margins, fuel sales still remain the center of gravity for most convenience stores. That conception was on full display during the last few months as declining fuel prices

HOLT

Holt Oil Looking Ahead

A family-grown business for three generations, Holt Oil Co. is casting a wider net in North Carolina’s coastal region. By David Bennett, Senior Editor At times, businesses are so focused on future growth they forget their ties to the community. Fayetteville, N.C.-based Holt Oil Co. doesn’t forget either community or family. In positioning the company

Kloza

SOI Wraps Up In Chicago

Data shows economic climate in c-store industry is heating up and should continue for 2015. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Convenience store industry revenue in 2014 topped $697 billion, bolstered in part by lower gas prices and demonstrating that c-store merchandising programs are resonating with customers. That was a major theme as the State of

Frey

Healthier Food on Display at SOI

Whether they are young or old, health-conscious consumers mean opportunity for c-stores. By David Bennett, Senior Editor One of the hot topics at this year’s State of the Industry Summit, an annual conference hosted by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), is the increased emphasis on healthier food option in convenience stores. Sherry Frey,

Kevin Smartt, president Kwik Chek Food Stores.

C-Store Industry Records Record Sales

NACS indicates that lower gas prices provided an economic boost to in-store sales in 2014. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Fueled by lower gas prices and more potent foodservice programs, the nation’s convenience store industry generated $697.5 billion in revenue last year, thanks to several strong product categories. Despite lower fuel sales, c-stores experienced record

Money

Minimum Wage and Beyond

C-stores cast a wary eye toward various minimum wage initiatives that could impact workforce costs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Because most convenience retailers strive to retain the most capable employees, it’s common that hourly wage rates at c-stores often eclipse the respective wage rate mandated by the state or states that they operate in.

Cumberland Farms

Commitment to Coffee Excellence

More than two decades ago, Greg Lorance discovered where he wanted to work—Cumberland Farms. Today, he and the company are facing the future together. By David Bennett, Senior Editor It’s been a long time since Greg Lorance worked the third shift at convenience retail chain Cumberland Farms. As an 18-year-old clerk at the time, he

Tim Cote

Keeping Candy Relevant

Tim Cote might not be a candy traditionalist, but he knows how to make confections appealing to Plaid Pantry customers. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The traditional approach to selling candy is going the way of Root Beer Barrels and Charleston Chews. Retailers who are satisfied with a few racks of the normal candy offerings

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Exploring Future Fuel Demand

Drivers are becoming younger, but it doesn’t mean they’re driving more. By David Bennett, Senior Editor One of the forwarding looking topics at this year’s M-PACT show in Indianapolis is how new technology is driving U.S. fuel sales. In some cases, however, technology is combining with other factors to slow fuel sales, including younger Americans’

Obama

Obama Touts Healthy Economy

The president appears in Cleveland to explain how “middle-class economics” is taking hold and helping. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Boasting one of the most diverse manufacturing bases in the country, the city of Cleveland served as a suitable backdrop for President Obama who arrived Wednesday to promote proposals for more federal investment to help

Chuckles

Chuckles: A Family Affair

With new locations planned for Kentucky and Indiana, third-generation C.E. Taylor Oil is positioning its Chuckles convenience store chain for the future. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When C.E. Taylor Oil Inc. was just getting started, family members who were intent on growing the business realized that while gas was the base of operations, retail

Somerset Station

Kentucky Gas Station Faces Legislation

After the city of Somerset, Ky. opened its own gas station last summer, a Kentucky senator has now sponsored a bill to determine how fair the enterprise is to surrounding businesses. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Kentucky Sen. Chris Girdler (R-Somerset), on Feb. 6, filed a bill that would require government entities to conduct a

COGos

Cream of the Crop

Though its legacy derives from the dairy business, CoGo’s commitment to modern convenience retail is reshaping its future. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Since Pittsburgh-based CoGo’s Co. chose to expand its operation in the shadow of West Virginia University (WVU) more than a year ago, the return on investment has been noteworthy. Not only did

Healthcare and Taxes

ACA Spurs Change

Convenience retailers should weigh their options to determine how their operations will coexist with the Affordable Care Act. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When Congress in 2010 enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), one pillar of the law’s sweeping objective was fostering a wide span of health plans to empower smaller employers.

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GetGo Brewing Up Pennsylvania Store Plan

New c-store will offer kitchen-cooked food and beer on site. By David Bennett, Senior Editor GetGo is moving ahead with its plan to construct its newest prototype store—this one outside of Erie, Pa. Officials from Harborcreek Township are reviewing the company’s plan for the 6,100-square-foot c-store and restaurant that is the second proposed GetGo location

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NOCO Stores Dig Out From the Snow

NOCO Express finds itself buried along with many other western New Yorkers. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Like thousands of stranded New Yorkers over the last few days, employees of NOCO Express found themselves buried to the hilt in one of the largest snowstorms to every hit the Buffalo area. In western New York, locations around Buffalo were covered with massive mounds of

Coffee

Innovation by the Cup

Retailers are investing more in hot dispensed beverage programs that reflect the consumers’ growing penchant for espresso-based coffee offerings, flavorful teas and more choices. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Wawa Inc. is known for its proprietary coffee, especially to its customers—one of every two are said to purchase a hot beverage every time they enter

Beer Flight.

Cheering Craft Beer

As adult beverage preferences evolve, convenience stores are tapping into specialty beer trends. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Studies show craft beer is not only good for overall industry volume, but is re-energizing beer lovers, bringing new people into the beer category. Seasonals, variety packs, ambers, pale ales and wheat beers not only hold the

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