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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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MLPs: Sign of the Times

More convenience store chains like CST Brands are banking on master limited partnerships to improve their position in a widely-fragmented industry. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Acquisitions have always played a strategic role in the convenience store industry. Take for example CST Brands Inc., which last month entered into an agreement to acquire the convenience

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Crafting Better Beer Sales

Millennials are the No. 1 consumers of craft beers, much to the delight of convenience stores that are growing their adult beverage business through specialty ale sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh might have remained a beer backwater had it not been for the grassroots lobbying group Pop the

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Walmart Enters C-Store Territory

Walmart’s prototype convenience store in Bentonville, Ark. reflects a shift  in strategy for the retailer, but will it be a game changer for the industry? By David Bennett, Senior Editor As vehicles navigate under the shiny white fuel station canopy, the eye goes immediately to the yellow columns designed to mimic the burst of petals

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Car Washes Can Clean Up

After committing to the upfront costs, convenience stores can wring regular profits from an automatic car wash operation. David Bennett, Senior Editor Gross revenues at convenience stores are affected by a multitude of market forces. Everything from constrained gas prices to tobacco taxes to bank fees can combine to impede cash streams. In fact, there

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Self-Distribution Drives Discussion at NAG

C-store executives explain how a self-distribution model can cut out the middle man, helping your chain cut costs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Todd Jenney, president and CEO of North Carmi, Ill.-based Huck’s Convenience Stores, remembered that the company’s first warehouse operation ran from the back of Huck’s first store. Now with a 93,000-square-foot building

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Fresh Foodservice Is A Growing Staple

C-stores like Wawa and Tedeschi are meeting customer expectations with innovative food offerings. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Ed Burcher, principal and president of Burcher Consulting, has studied principles and developed strategies of how convenience stores can improve their foodservice programs that will appeal to customers’ changing tastes, and add to a company’s bottom line.

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Distribution Models That Deliver

A self-distribution model can cut out the middle man and help your chain save on costs, but is a big capital investment. Partnering with a good distribution provider can be the right course of action, but only if the arrangement brings value to your operation. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Candy, tobacco, drinks, food and

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Deriving Loyalty From Data

Scanned data is putting basket-level insights in the hands of decision makers who can turn this information into strategies that drive profitability. By David Bennett, Senior Editor A customer’s continuing business is no longer guaranteed. Because of that fact, convenience stores strategize more and more on the need to understand their customers better, and to

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Managing Loss Prevention

Shrink comes in all shapes and sizes, but knowing how to identify and remedy these occurrences can enable c-stores to turn losses into gains. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When a convenience store is humming along efficiently, the signs are unmistakable: The coffee is fresh and flowing. People are enjoying prompt foodservice offerings. Motorists are

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Kentucky Town Fuels Debate

In an effort to balance fuel prices for local motorists, officials in the city of Somerset, Ky. have gone into the gas business despite complaints from area retailers. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Consumers frequently voice their displeasure over high gasoline costs but often find themselves over a barrel because they don’t have the means

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Buc-ee’s Eying Another Enormous Store

Plans call for a 60,000-square-foot convenience store, which has become a normal model for the expanding Texas chain. By David Bennett, Senior Editor They say everything is bigger Texas, and Buc-ee’s Ltd proves it with every new convenience store it builds. Its newest location is in the works in Corinth, Texas, after that city’s planning

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Kentucky Town Now Selling Gas

Following years of residents’ complaints over local gas prices, the Kentucky city of Somerset has opened up its own pumps to the public. By David Bennett, Senior Editor. After much anticipation on the part of motorists—and hand wringing by local gas retailers—the city of Somerset, Ky. opened its new fuel pumps to the public Saturday,

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Energy Drinks All The Buzz

Once a fringe player, the energy drink segment today is a billion-dollar business and according to analysts, there’s still room for growth. By David Bennett, Senior Editor As consumer tastes have shifted, carbonated soft drinks (CSD) top perch within the pantheon of packaged beverages has eroded considerably over the last few years. During that period,

Print

C-Stores Change with the Times

Whether it’s technology, the workforce, or the weather, the industry has always adapted and moved on. By David Bennett, Senior Editor There are few Years more turbulent in the history of the convenience store industry than 1990. Just prior, the total number of c-stores had peaked at 83,000 in the late 1980s. The market was

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VCU Earns C-Store Accolades

After putting a novel spin on an existing theme, Virginia Commonwealth University is named top innovator in 2014’s NACUFS New Store Design competition. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Convenience stores aren’t new to U.S. college campuses. For years, universities have afforded students expedient spaces where they can purchase beverages, snacks and merchandise. However, just like

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Blu Tops in E-cig Sales

Lorillard remains category leader with continued strong c-store sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Lorillard Inc.’s (LO) popular blu e-cigarette continues to garner strong sales, retaining its No. 1 spot in the c-store channel. Lorillard garnered 42.0% $ share in the recent period ended June 7, according to data from Wells Fargo Securities LLC. Logic

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Choosing the Right Foodservice Partner

Want to avoid the deep end of the proprietary food pool? A co-branded relationship with a QSR can keep your operation flowing smoothly. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Today, quality foodservice is a key ingredient in profitable convenience store operations. Just how key? Foodservice accounted for 18% of total c-store sales in 2013, which also

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Regulators Chew on Cigars

While federal officials weigh new standards for the tobacco industry, retailers hope cigar sales don’t go up in smoke. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a big step towards regulating other tobacco products (OTP), including cigars, by proposing to assert deeming regulations under the 2009 Family Smoking

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Employing a Special Workforce

In following through with its unique hiring policy, VERC Enterprises has positively impacted surrounding communities. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Most convenience stores strive diligently to create a working environment where employees feel wanted and useful. VERC Enterprises Inc. has taken that page and written its own book, which began more than a dozen years

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Snacks Remain A Mainstay

Salty snacks again are grabbing a lion’s share of c-store snack sales, but healthier offerings are making noise. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Convenience stores represent five times their fair share when it comes to grab-and-go snacking occasions, beating out grocery stores and even discount stores, according to a 2013 study by market research firm

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Weighing Financial Services

Whether it’s check cashing or the latest mobile wallet technology, providing customers with useful financial offerings can help your bottom line. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Cash makes up nearly 29% of U.S. consumer transactions per year, or about $1.2 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Among those transactions last year were a lot of

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Lorillard Joins Altria In Pricing Action

Tobacco companies enact pricing adjustments, raising the cost of popular cigarette brands in the next few days. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Lorillard Inc. (LO) is pushing through a six-cent per-price increase across the some of its key cigarette brands, a move that will keep pace with rival Altria Group Inc., according to analyst reports.

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Commonwealth-Altadis Unveils Packaging Innovation

“Slide up, light up” feature sure to strike it big with consumers, CA officials predict. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Kicking off a company Webcast describing the latest upgrade to its flagship cigarette brand, Commonwealth-Altadis Inc. (CA) CEO Kevin Freudenthal said “it’s the most exciting thing in packaging for USA Gold in CA’s history.” Rolled

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Chocolate: Sweet Returns

Finding out what confectionery products your customers will gobble up in 2014 can be a recipe for more sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor You don’t need to be Willy Wonka to know that chocolate candy is a sweet product in terms of generating impulse sales. The National Confectioners Association (NCA) recently reported that the

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