Empowered by Energy Efficiency

With energy costs soaring and customers rewarding sustainable behaviors, many convenience store chains are realizing the need to upgrade stores to be more energy efficient. World marketed energy consumption is projected to increase by 44% from 2006 to 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The increase could hit c-store retailers especially hard

Managing Tobacco’s Four Tier War

A Closer Look at Who’s Trading Down According to Mintel International, 80% of smokers polled said it’s worthwhile to have a quality cigarette, which is contributing to sales of premium cigarettes. Other factors influencing sales include: • 51% of smokers have one preferred brand they always like to buy. • Less than 2% of smokers

Enhancing POS Possibilities

With today’s modern technology solutions—and in an economy where every dollar counts—there’s no reason stores should endure employee theft. Thanks to advancements in integrated point-of-sale (POS) systems retailers are not only reducing shrink, but are able to reward customer loyalty in real time, speed up the foodservice line, upsell products to boost incremental sales and

Keeping C-Stores Secure

When he thinks of PCI compliance, Ed Freels, director of information systems for Honey Farms Inc. recalls an old t-shirt slogan from the 1970s, “It showed the AC130 gun ship from the Vietnam era and it said, ‘You can run, but you’ll just die tired,’ and PCI compliance is no different. The most dangerous merchant

Recycling Program Breeds Customer Loyalty

While stopping for gas one day, two waste management interns working for the city of Lexington, Ky., pondered how much garbage could be recycled from cars if locations, such as gas stations, made it more convenient to recycle. The interns, Elizabeth Rebmann and Natalie Cooke, pitched their idea for such a recycling program to Bruce

Finding Profits with Tobacco Accessories

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates, scheduled to go into effect on June 22, prohibit retailers from selling cigarettes and smokeless products in self-service displays except in age-restricted stores that ban customers younger than 18 years of age. While retailers in some states, such as New York and Idaho, have already had to comply with

Targeting Customers Through Store Design

When Towns Mart enlisted the services of Design Fabrications (DFab) to create an inviting shopping environment for a new store it was constructing in Washington Township, Mich. in 2007, the chain was looking to broaden its customer base through an upgraded design. “We were targeting female and upscale customers by trying to achieve an open

The Benefits of Going Green

An Illinois CITGO fuel marketer became the first gas station owner in the nation to receive the Green Business League award for its efforts to reduce energy and minimize its environmental footprint. Dave Welch, president of Deerfield CITGO, began his journey toward achieving a green business in June 2009, when he and a consultant started

The Shack Pushes the Bounds of Convenience

As all convenience store chains look for innovative ways to drive sales as tobacco and gas margins decline, they might take note from an unlikely teacher—a small town store in Grandy, Minn., whose unique offerings are going to new lengths to meet consumer demands. Though only 1,100 square feet, “The Shack on 65” packs the

Using ATMs to Drive Profits

For many years ATMs were nothing more than large boxes hiding in the corner of convenience stores across the country. Over the years, though, that strategy has evolved as in-store real estate became more valuable and marketers looked for every edge to attract new customers. As such, retailers these days are faced with three distinct

Social Networking Takes Retail by Storm

Speedy Personalized DealsChristianna Frizzell, customer relationship manager for Speedway SuperAmerica, said the best online responses will come from email blasts and text message campaigns if you know your demographic and keep contact timely and relevant. It can also be helpful to look at how customers are contacting you. For example, are they emailing or calling

Brothers at the Helm

Jimmy McCarthy III, vice president of sales and operations for Tom Thumb Food Stores, still remembers the Saturday morning his dad, Jim McCarthy Jr., owner and president of Tom Thumb, woke him up to begin his career in the convenience store industry. “He said, ‘wake up, you’re not going to sleep all day.’ I said,

NATO Trade Show Gains Support

The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) reported that key manufacturers have formally committed to its 2011 trade show and conference in Las Vegas. Supporters currently include Altadis USA, Swisher International, Swedish Match, Republic Tobacco, National Tobacco Co., King Maker Marketing, Smoker Friendly International and Zippo Lighter Co. During NATO’s annual awards dinner last month,

Kum & Go Fights Interchange Fees

Kum & Go, L.C. has collected more than 40,000 signatures from customers wanting to  control and reduce credit and debit card swipe (or interchange) fees put on customer transactions.  The signatures were collected in one month from all Kum & Go stores as part of NACS’ Fight Swipe Fees petition drive. “Kum & Go joined

Breaking Down the PACT Act

Convenience store owners scored a major victory in March when the House and Senate passed the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act in a near unanimous vote, which forbids the U.S. Postal Service from delivering cigarettes directly to consumers. At presstime, President Obama was expected to sign the bill into law. The PACT Act aims

Would You Like Wi-Fi With That?

Wi-Fi is a trendy offering customers are clamoring for, and it’s starting to appear at more c-store locations, including BP, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes and Rutter’s Farm Stores, especially as chains expand their foodservice programs and look for new ways to pull foot traffic into the store. Coffee shops, such as Starbucks have long

Efficient Exit Strategies Sweeten Candy Profits

Developing an effective exit strategy for candy and reviewing product performance regularly can boost profits in the candy segment. “On a basic level you want to discontinue the slow moving items that rank in the bottom of the category to bring in something new that is going to contribute sales and margins to the category,”

J&H Family Stores Rebuilds and Flourishes

Just eight months ago, J&H Oil watched its Stanton, Mich., location burn to the ground after a drunk driver crashed into the store and ignited the fire that would destroy the building and the attached Subway restaurant. But with hard work, dedication and a little bit of innovation, the chain was able to rebuild the

What Do Your Restrooms Say About You?

When it comes to sanitation and store cleanliness, looks speak for themselves. Whether it’s the front counter, the forecourt or the restrooms, convenience store operators must monitor the message they are sending to customers. “If you’re in this business and want to stay in this business your customer is going to tell you what their

The Coffee Cup Hotel

C-stores are known for providing a myriad of services, but could your stores house customers for the night if the weather turned bad? Coffee Cup Fuel Stops, which operates eight 24-hour locations in the Dakotas and Wyoming, is no stranger to hosting overnight guests at its Summit, S.D. location, where winter storms have been known

Calming the Beverage Storm

As marketing category manager for Mansfield, Ohio-based EZ Energy USA Inc., Deb Davis oversees the beverage category and makes the critical call as to which products head to the cooler, and which don’t make the cut. Having just finished meeting with soda vendors to finalize the 2010 soda contracts, Davis is now busy overseeing beer

Keeping It Fresh

Now that customers are used to finding fresh food at their local c- stores the pressure is on the roller grill to maintain its share of foodservice sales. Thanks to the innovation of retailers and suppliers alike, the roller grill continues to turn out strong sales. Chains are bundling meals with fountain drinks and chips

Breaking into Branding

Branded Check List Retailers planning to add a branded foodservice program should consider the start up cost as well what long-term factors will influence profitability such as additional labor and rising food costs. “You have to decide what’s best for you,” said Sandy Arrasmith of J&H Family Stores. “Take a look at the brand you

Community Cries Foul Over Canned Canine

Customers are standing behind their favorite convenience store employee, Cody, a chocolate Labrador recently banned from his post at a BP convenience store in Clearwater, Fla., by the state’s Department of Agriculture. Cody had long accompanied store-owner Karim Mansour to the store a couple times a week, except during a short period of time when

Aztex Buzzing Over Beer Sales

When beer sales were made legal last August in formerly dry Clay County, N.C., Aztex Fuel & Food Centers’ Hayesville location was ready to pounce, becoming the first c-store in the market to supply cold suds. Aztex, an experienced c-store marketer, knew from its other stores that alcohol sales can drive foot traffic and increase

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