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Challenge Your Way of Thinking

Mind control is an often overlooked quality, but it’s an extremely important attribute in business and in life. By Jim Callahan When I think of the act of mind control, I’m not referring to hypnotism or getting my best friend to squawk like a chicken. Rather, having the right attitude in the face of both

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The Story of Herb and Charley

There are many attributes that good store owners and operators possess, but knowing the value of a dollar and the value of a satisfied customer is critical. By Jim Callahan. For years, I was always puzzled by the fact that the best automatic transmission mechanic I ever knew ultimately went bankrupt, and the least talented

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Nostalgic Notions of the Last 25 Years

The industry has reached unforeseen heights over the past quarter century, but it remains a people business first and foremost. By Jim Callahan. “Carry me back and let me feel at home, let me cling to those memories that won’t let me alone.” Those are great lyrics from the Statler Brothers and perhaps, a fitting

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Tackling Adversity

A positive attitude can help c-store employees thrive in the face of any obstacle. By Jim Callahan I recently came across a thought provoking and very astute quotation that captivated my attention, and since I have this great forum provided by Convenience Store Decisions, I thought I would share it because it relates as much

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Developing Committed Employees

Cultivating a competent workforce shouldn’t be a temporary exercise, but a long-term goal. By Jim Callahan There is an old story that states that the difference between involvement and commitment can best be explained by likening it to a breakfast of ham and eggs: While the chicken was certainly involved in the meal, the pig

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The Numbers Don’t Lie

When analyzing sales performance and employees, retailers must set their personal feelings aside and study the data they have on hand. By Jim Callahan When it comes to understanding convenience store profitability, I have always relied on analyzing and digesting all of the data I can get my hands on. After all, the numbers don’t

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Emphasizing Customer Service

Training employees to focus on providing outstanding service and maximizing the time you spend in your own stores is an investment that always pays off. By Jim Callahan In the retail business there are always tasks—extremely important tasks at that—that are time consuming and we’d rather not do. It’s then that we are tempted to

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There is Life After QuikTrip

When you have to compete against the best in the retail industry, follow best practices to maintain your market share. By Jim Callahan More than a year ago, I received a frantic call from a client informing me that QuikTrip had just been granted a building permit for a new store to be built in

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Making a Great First Impression

Most people will judge you within the first few seconds of meeting you and their opinion will most likely never change. By Jim Callahan. I was in a client store recently and saw a familiar, middle-aged cashier behind the counter that recently began paying a little extra attention to her work appearance. Dressed in the

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The Value of a Positive Attitude

The behavior of your employees is contagious. When employees are friendly and outgoing, the entire company will benefit. By Jim Callahan. I have long believed that you do not truly know what a good job is until you have experienced the angst of being forced into a bad position. I have been fortunate in my

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Developing a Sense of Urgency at Retail

From store cleanliness to customer service, all retailers must go above and beyond the call of duty to protect their brand identity.By Jim Callahan. I don’t get upset too often, but I’m usually able to get there pretty quickly when it does happen. And when I do encounter a less-than-positive experience, I always look for

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Getting the Most Out of Your NACS Show Experience

As the convenience store industry descends on Atlanta for the annual NACS expo, retailers of all sizes are advised to attend the educational sessions and walk the show floor for new ideas. By Jim Callahan. This year’s NACS show in Atlanta promises to be the biggest and best ever. In an industry where there is

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Evaluating Your Team Members

Frontline employees remain the crucial connection between your brand and your customers. You must have faith that they are representing your company in a positive manner. By Jim Callahan. I read recently that with the improvement in the economy, employee turnover in the convenience store business is back on the rise. This follows a couple

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Preparing to Own Your Own C-Store Business

Making the leap from company employee to c-store owner presents many new challenges, but could also reap exciting rewards—if you are fully prepared. By Jim Callahan. So you have aspirations to build your own convenience store chain? That’s great, but as you move from an executive role into actual ownership, there are many more issues

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Price Drives Coffee Sales, but Quality Makes it a Destination

When it comes to your brew program, can you compete with the big boys or are you willing to concede this important customer? By Jim Callahan. Starbucks taught the industry that consumers will readily pay double and even triple the normal price for a clean, upscale and trendy atmosphere where they can obtain a more

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Protecting Your Brand

It takes a lifetime to build a personal and professional reputation, but, fair or not, it could take just a minute to lose it. By Jim Callahan. I’ve always preached and firmly believe that one reprimand wipes out 10 “atta boys.” To me, this is an absolute truism that I always caution employees about.  I

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Stepping Up to Train Loyal Employees

Convenience store operators must work on improving their training programs so that they can improve sales, customer satisfaction and employee retention. By Jim Callahan. The strained economy has been a little bit of a double-edged sword for the convenience store industry. While customers may be a little tighter with their spending, I’ve found that employee

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Getting the Most Out of Your Car Wash

Energy efficient washes can help car wash owners save money, while winning bonus points with customers who value sustainability. By Jim Callahan. Increasing profits at the car wash depends on two tasks: drawing new customers and tempting current customers to increase the frequency of their visits. To succeed with a car wash, you must be

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Give Stores a Quick Makeover

Checking store sets daily for clutter and cleanliness is a simple solution for enhancing your location’s appearance. By Jim Callahan I went to check on a small convenience store recently that was in need of a little pick-me-up. One of the first things I noticed was the amount of free space the store had along

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Embracing Change in the Year Ahead

With 2013 well underway, convenience store retailers should take the time to evaluate their operations and develop a plan to stay ahead of their competition. By Jim Callahan. It has long been a  habit of mine to prioritize my work hours and spend them where they are most needed. As a result,  I am able

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Improving Customer Service in the New Year

As the calendar turns to 2013, convenience store retailers should embrace the challenge of exceeding their customers’ expectations. By Jim Callahan. Let’s face it, the great majority of us struggle miserably to drive sales during the very first week of each New Year. Here’s a resolution that every retailer can wrap his arms around—one that

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Aftershocks from Hurricane Sandy

In a time of need for our customers, one bad apple can spoil all of the good will done by others. By Jim Callahan. “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” That is an old saying that certainly rings true, even more so when faced with public scrutiny over the availability and pricing of petroleum products.

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Embracing the Lipstick Theory

When times are tough, customers substitute bigger purchases for more inexpensive, feel-good items. By Jim Callahan. According to economists the lipstick theory works like this. You’re in the store, checking out some new gear. Then you check your finances and think, “No, better not.” You buy a new lipstick instead. The theory is that if

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Get Ready for The NACS Show

By Jim Callahan With the 2012 NACS Show now just days away, here are some tips, thoughts and reminders to enhance your NACS Show experience. Beyond the night life, parties, shows and the glitter of the Las Vegas lights lies, by far, the best and most comprehensive trade show and conference in the industry for

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The Importance of Making a Great First Impression

Something as simple a smile and a “thank you” goes a long way in elevating the customer service experience. By Jim Callahan. The saying goes, and I so agree, that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.In the business world, when you are expected to be a leader, this is something

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