Are You Ready for the Summer?

The warm months are almost here. It’s time to prepare for customers who are looking to spend dollars. By the time you read this, there will be less than four weeks before Memorial Day, which also kicks off the summer season. Those who own and operate convenience stores hope it’s the beginning of a long,

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Heroes Aren’t Who They Used to Be

The faces of acclaimed Americans have been replaced by some who aren’t so recognizable, but are heroic nevertheless. By Jim Callahan I saw the recent presidential debates and I’m left very troubled, with an emptiness and fear for our country. I watch as Republicans and Democrats hurl insults, spout half-truths, and make outlandish accusations and

Vote Your Industry This Election

This year’s political election is one race that c-store members can influence for the betterment of the industry. By Jim Callahan It’s election year and certainly this time around it’s critically important that each and every one of us get invested and involved in the industry that provides our livelihood—if you’re not actively involved already.

How To Get Ahead Of The Wave

Gas prices may be down now, but high quality offerings will ensure steady c-store traffic if prices jump again. By Jim Callahan During the last few months, the convenience store industry has garnered kudos and a measure of goodwill from customers based upon the incremental drops in gas prices, which has put more dollars in

Gassing Up on Earlier Lessons

The convenience store industry should take a chapter from the big automakers’ book and adopt the stellar performance of our industry’s current “Big Seven” c-store operators. By Jim Callahan The fuel shortage that occurred in the 1970s changed the perception of foreign compacts and their superior fuel mileage. America’s gas guzzlers quickly lost favor as

Preaching That Freshness Always Trumps Waste

Take a lesson from the big chains that fresh food offerings always win in the end. By Jim Callahan When it comes to category offerings such as deli and coffee, the old adage “penny wise and pound foolish” should not be associated with a convenience store’s effort. Consumers have had their taste buds tantalized by

Out of Stock Can Mean Out of Business

Running out of merchandise is a sure cause for customers to run out of patience. Thus, solving the problem of out-of-stock items is smart indeed. By Jim Callahan I have long held the belief that being out of stock is akin to running the risk of irreversibly damaging your business—beginning with that one product and

Football Lessons I’ve Learned

With the football season upon us again, there are some life lessons to be gained from those who coach on the gridiron. By Jim Callahan So what does football have to do with addressing employee and management performance levels at convenience stores and truck stops? More than you might imagine. First though, I was struck

Obtaining a Second Opinion

Convenience store operators who make decisions based on their instinct, knowledge and experience are often proven right. But, to be especially sure that you’re on the right track, connect with an expert. By Jim Callahan We all know something about running a business and yes, many of us have been doing it successfully for years.

Thinking Through Shrink and Other Issues

With some inventiveness, c-stores can develop ways to manage their inventory. Effective inventory control doesn’t happen automatically. In fact, controlling inventory is somewhat of a misnomer that might be better termed: managing inventory—because of how difficult indeed it is to control. The landscape is littered with the remains of fired managers, dismissed district managers and

Retention Takes Time

Making employees aware that you value their service requires commitment. By Jim Callahan The need for appreciation knows no bounds—extends from mothers to children, wives and husbands, employees to bosses and in every other direction imaginable. It need not be costly and really doesn’t require much thought or effort, for it starts with something as

Industry Pearls of Wisdom

Advice may be cheap, but words that self-motivate are priceless. By Jim Callahan I’ve been fortunate enough and have benefited greatly by being surrounded by some great and learned minds, from cashiers to CEOs. Along the way, I’ve learned life lessons that have been ingrained in me. Allow me to share some pearls of wisdoms

Along With Sunshine, Comes Seasonal Customers

Summer’s near and so will be the demand for beer, lattes, fine wine, deli and other assorted in-store products. Are you ready for the rush? By Jim Callahan As I sit here writing this, I realize that by the time any of you choose to read this, there will remain just a few short weeks

Gasoline Fuels Convenience Retail

Fuel remains the only product that customers will drive miles just to save a penny. Ensure that you’re handling fuel revenue wisely. By Jim Callahan Name another business where it’s imperative that you post the price of your No. 1 selling retail product on a large illuminated sign by the road? It’s not just lit

Embrace the New and Old

Soft drinks and cigarettes are still key categories to convenience stores, but today’s sophisticated consumer expects a wide array of products when they enter the door. Staying up with trends is good business. By Jim Callahan Who among you remembers the great convenience store axiom, “If it ain’t red, it’s dead”? For those too young

Life is an Education

Sometimes the best life lessons are the ones that you teach yourself. By Jim Callahan I graduated from high school in the lower 25% of my class because I was a lazy and unmotivated student who studied just hard enough to continue to be eligible to play sports. Well, a funny thing happened on the

A Home Heating Business and Lessons Learned

If a home heating firm can lose nearly 50% of its business over an extended period of time, the same underlying factors are applicable to your convenience store. By Jim Callahan Many years ago, when I was younger and a little less wise, I led an acquisitions team that purchased a small fuel oil and

Recognizing Critical Worth

Never forget that one cost of employee turnover is the loss of familiarity between your staff and the customers. By Jim Callahan Last month, I wrote on the topic of employee turnover and the small, but important, actions that employers can take to ensure a more productive workforce. Sometimes when retailers lose a staff member,

Reducing Employee Turnover

Whether it’s at Exxon or Google, ensuring employee satisfaction is an often overlooked factor when running a business. By Jim Callahan I am, if nothing else, an unabashed copier of good ideas. Let me explain. Early in my retail career, I was tasked to try and “turn around” an Exxon distributorship noted for its dwindling

NACS: Must Go Show of 2014

Last minute tips for getting the most out of the NACS Show. By Jim Callahan It happens just once a year and it’s almost here. Unlike any other c-store trade show, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show must be experienced live. Whether you’re as large a chain as 7-Eleven or operate a single

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

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

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

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

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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