Planning Your Packaging Needs

With foodservice sales booming and more retailers making the leap to fresh foods, operators are turning their attention to take-out packaging and finding that, with all the options and considerations, choosing the proper packaging can be as tricky as selecting the foodservice program itself. “There are so many things to think about when you’re looking

The Future of Retail Technology

Imagine a day when your customers pay for coffee by scanning a cell phone, and play their favorite music at the gas pump with a quick swipe of a loyalty card. Well, ready or not, such technology is already out there and it’s coming for c-stores—the only question is how soon. As the Millennial generation

Placement Strategy Helps Prepaid Prosper

As the U.S. economic recession continues, it’s no secret that customers are altering their shopping habits to save a few dollars wherever they can. The silver lining for convenience store retailers could be the resulting affinity credit-crunched customers have developed for the prepaid segment. In a credit weary and increasingly online world, prepaid is helping

Security by Force

Convenience store retailers are already dealing with tobacco taxes, PCI deadlines and encroaching competition. Now, if officials in Mesa, Ariz. get their way, operators within the city limits will be forced to invest in security measures aimed at reducing incidents of theft. The proposed mandate, aimed at convenience stores measuring less than 7,500 square feet,

Vying for Customers with Value Meals

McDonald’s has it. Dunkin’ Donuts has it. And if your c-store doesn’t have it, you’re likely losing customers to the QSR down the street. In 2010, featuring a value meal with your foodservice offering is essential to driving new customers through your doors and securing them as regular visitors.  C-stores with foodservice programs are facing

Ethnic Fare Adds Foodservice Flair

Sushi in the c-store cooler? Burritos in the food warmer? Mediterranean sandwiches on the menu? Exotic foods are here to stay and becoming more mainstream, spicing up the foodservice section and appealing to a wide audience. With the growth of the Internet consumers today are exposed to new foods they may not be used to

Energizing Beverage Sales

Thirteen years after the energy drink market emerged in the U.S. with the introduction of Red Bull, the category remains popular with consumers, who are willing to pay higher prices in a difficult economy for an extra jolt.  But while Mintel reported in July 2009 that the energy drink market had climbed to an estimated

Lessons in Leadership

As the director of real estate for High’s of Baltimore and a member of the Darnell family, which owns the Hanover, Md., chain of 69 stores in Maryland and Delaware, Briana Darnell knows first hand the importance of being a strong leader and how it can impact a company’s success.   In her current role, she

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

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,

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

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

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

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,”

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