How To Operate With a Vision for the Future

This retailer’s natural growth progression and organic ingenuity has it well suited to compete in the New York state marketplace. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Not every convenience store operates with a full vision for the future. Some in the industry seem to function in the dark for the most part, blindly trying new innovations


How To Heighten The Customer Experience

More c-stores are coming up with innovative concepts to heighten the customer experience, resulting in increased sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In the competitive climate, in which convenience stores operate, one of the biggest advantages that the channel holds over other retail segments is obviously convenience. It’s the one business aspect that other channels

How Duchess is Growing With Foodservice

With its prototype store now open to the public, Englefield Oil’s Duchess brand is positioned to build upon its legacy as Ohio’s ever-evolving c-store chain. By David Bennett, Senior Editor As two children looked longingly at the new frozen drink dispenser, tethered balloons wafted away from the heat that escaped from the hot pizzas taken

NACS Sessions Explore Design and Food

Foodservice is moving from a key concept to critical component for c-store operators. By David Bennett, Senior Editor NACS 2015 continued Oct 13 with various education sessions meant to inform and explore. Many attendees packed the room to hear discussions from a session, titled, “The Psychology of Store Design.” Joseph Bona, president of the retail

NACS Experts Get Fresh

Retailers learn the benefits of fresher food options, as well as cutting costs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Fresh is easier said than done, especially in the convenience store business. But for operators looking to introduce fresh food options in their stores, there’s practical ways to go forward, according to a panel that shed some

NACS Discusses Fuel, Employees and Branding

NACS 2015 kicks off with education sessions that strike at the core of c-store operations. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In the session, Preparing Your Infrastructure for Future Fuels, Norman Turiano, principal of Turiano Strategic Consulting, theorized that because gasoline costs will likely rise again, alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) will continue to increase in number

How Stinker Stores is Refreshing for the Future

With a new store design and a myriad of new company initiatives, everything is coming up roses for Stinker Stores. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The interactive LED display boards now being erected outside select Stinker Stores locations provide customers the latest in-store promotions, cool graphics and crisp digital messaging all at the flip of

How to Foster a Stronger Workforce

As convenience retailers compete with other channels to attract qualified workers, it may be time for c-stores to rethink their strategies. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The old adage that one bad apple spoils the bunch can apply to numerous things—from pies to politicians. Inside c-stores, a bad apple can impair customer service, productivity and

Farm Aid Ensures Fresher Connection for Retailers

Now in its 30th year, the grassroots festival to benefit farmers has grown to become a significant advocacy resource that savvy c-stores might benefit from. David Bennett, Senior Editor Thousands gathered Sept. 19 to witness the sights and sounds of Farm Aid 30, held at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island in Chicago. While concert

How Loyalty Is Taking a Front Seat

Loyalty providers are meeting customer expectations with innovative programs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Today, loyalty programs aren’t only providing Americans with savings at the pump and inside the store, but are enabling convenience retailers to boost sales and engage their customers in ways like never before. Loyalty was in the spotlight at the 2015

How to Deal With Real Estate

Anytime a c-store acquires an existing property, there are various items to consider—from the environmental pollution that might exist in ground, to the traffic patterns on the corner, to the competition down the road. By David Bennett, Senior Editor A popular saying touts that the three most important considerations of a real estate deal are

How Non-Chocolate Candy is Wooing Customers

Whether it’s by the bite or by the bag, non-chocolate candy remains a staple of in-store sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Many convenience stores are heeding growing non-chocolate candy trends by stocking more chewy products and bite-size brand extensions. Of course, c-stores have only so much dedicated space and must be studious in order

Redefining Alltown Market

You wouldn’t expect a Fortune 500 company to demonstrate the same desire for building strong retail customer relations as perhaps, a family-owned c-store chain. But with its revamped Alltown Market concept, Global Partners LP is doing just that. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When Waltham, Mass.-based Global Partners LP launched its newly redesigned Alltown Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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,

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