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

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

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

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

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

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

Super Quik Named Kentucky Store of the Year

The Kentucky Grocers Association and Kentucky Association of Convenience Stores (KGA/KACS) honored Flatwoods, Ky.-based Super Quik Inc. and its president G. Lynn Rice with the 2009 Kentucky Convenience Store of the Year last month. Rice accepted the award on behalf of all the Super Quik employees at KGA/KACS’s annual meeting. “It’s nice to be recognized

Employee Appreciation Goes A Long Way

Carl Singleton has had a whirlwind career, rising through the ranks at Worsley Operating Corp. His colleagues describe him as a “force to be reckoned with” who has made a positive impact on his company since joining the team in 2006. Singleton embarked on his career in the c-store industry 14 years ago, beginning as

NACS Showcases Cool New Products

Cool Products Unveiled The top new items viewed by retailers at the NACS Show include: • Dippin’ Stix Healthy Snacks, Reichel Foods Inc. • Pringles Extreme Peggable Bags, Procter & Gamble Distributing Co. • Eclipse ELS, ElectraLED Inc. • Stride Gum, Cadbury North America • Dole Fruit Bowls in a Clear Merchandise Glide, Dole Food

Pennington Prospers with Pizza

Inside the Numbers What do one million personal-size pan pizzas add up to? According to the folks at Hot Stuff Foods, about 550,000 pounds in all. It includes 250,000 pounds of dough, 150,000 pounds of custom blended cheese and 62,500 pounds of sauce, plus the meat toppings and vegetables. One million personal-size pan pizza boxes,

New Products Keep Food Sales Fresh

Sophisticated customers are demanding foodservice programs that keep the menu fresh by rotating options and adding new products and flavors. Dan Rotherham, director of operations at Feather Petroleum Inc., which operates 18 Stop ‘n Save c-stores in Colorado, has seen firsthand how adding new products and streamlining store menus has helped business. “We strive to

Clifford Fuel Takes it Nice N Easy

As one of the largest franchisees of the Nice N Easy convenience store brand, Clifford Fuel Co. Inc., a petroleum marketer and c-store retailer throughout central and northern New York, pairs the brand recognition and reach of a large c-store chain with the more intimate management of a small franchise. Founded in 1961, the Utica,

Meeting the Demand for Meat Snacks

Meat snack manufacturers are going after the teen demographic, solidifying them as the product’s target audience, and introducing new flavors and varieties to meet the changing needs of consumers. Many retailers agree flavored meat sticks are driving the category. “Flavors products are strong right now whether it’s the hot, teriyaki or the smoked,” said Bill

Building a Strong Team

It’s been quite a year for Valerie Conley. On the heels of being named Nice N Easy Manager of The Year, she received a promotion to district manager, her former store in Carthage, N.Y. was honored as Retail Store of the Year by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce and she is about to graduate with

Q Stop Earns Green Achievement Award

Q Stop convenience stores was honored with the Green Idea Group’s Green Achievement Award for reducing electric power use and costs by 64% after installing a new canopy lighting system at its store in O’Fallon, Mo. Q Stop, which operates six stores in the St. Louis metro area and is owned by Jones Oil Co.,

Cruising the Express Lane

Customers in Sandpoint, Idaho crave convenience, but even they were surprised by the speed of service offered at the new Express Lane drive-through convenience store. Express Lane’s founder Adrian Cox was looking to expand his company and found the drive-through concept too tempting to pass up. He described the offering as an appealing and cost-effective

Cultivating Customers Through Loyalty

Customer Commitment The biggest hurdle some retailers face when implementing a loyalty program is getting customers to notice the many benefits. When Mid-State Petroleum launched its loyalty offering last November company Vice President Tony Perez launched a promotion to give away $10,000 in rewards at each of his locations. New customers received a $5 reward

Vendors Help Prepaid Prosper

Prepaid services are revolutionizing the way customers do business today. From unbanked customers to students and others looking to reduce their outstanding debt, prepaid debit cards and bill pay services offer customers a payment solution without the drawback of monthly interest charges. Retailers agree that choosing a vendor that will work with your chain to

Turning to the RYO Category

Since the onset of the April SCHIP tax increase, tobacco retailers have been turning to puffed or extended tobacco to help customers deal with the skyrocketing costs of cigarettes, especially as more customers are turning to the roll your own (RYO) category in an attempt to save dollars. Republic Tobacco’s Gambler is the market leader

Retailing on Two Wheels

With gas pumps out front, automotive supplies inside and the occasional adjacent lube shop, c-stores are geared toward the driving public. But as more commuters take to bikes for exercise, to save on gas or to support a greener environment, one c-store owner is making bicycles his business. A bike commuter and bike mechanic, Edwin

7-Eleven Goes Viral Targeting Younger Consumers

The latest 30-day promotion from 7-Eleven features a Battle of the Bands online music contest geared toward music lovers and younger consumers, complete with live concerts around the U.S., and new guitar-shaped Slurpee and Big Gulp cups. The contest marks the first time Slurpee has sponsored a grassroots music competition with music-enthusiasts from across the

Keck Oil Does Sandwiches the Rite Way

For most c-store chains, it goes without saying that foodservice must play an integral part in driving traffic and helping maintain sales at a time when gas and cigarette revenues are down. But with so many possibilities to consider, from adding a Dunkin’ Donuts to developing a stir fry offering, deciding which foodservice program will

Make Coffee More Profitable

Tips for Preparing the Perfect Cup • Always use fresh, filtered water. • Always use fresh, whole bean coffee. Coffee is perishable: use within two weeks of roast date. • Store coffee beans in an air-tight container away from heat, light and moisture. No freezer or refrigerator. • Grind just before brewing—a timer will help

Customer Relations Expert

Ralin Nespeca, the customer contact center manager for Oklahoma City-based Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, learned the value of customer service and an unwavering work ethic at a very young age. Those skills have proved to be a valuable asset on her career path. She joined Love’s in December 2008 as the call center

Sonja Hubbard Paves the Way for Women in Retailing

As CEO of Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart Stores Inc., which operates more than 300 stores in five states, Sonja Hubbard is a true c-store industry veteran. Hubbard was just a child when her father, Jim Yates founded E-Z Mart in 1970 and learned the ropes at an early age. “I grew up with this industry

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