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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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