Achieving Inventory Control

Taking small steps in managing inventory can mean big savings for your store operation. By Jim Callahan Inventory management is a pain point that plagues many convenience stores. Without an effective strategy, retailers can make critical mistakes such as tying up capital in excess inventory and even missing sales opportunities due to out-of-stock products. Attaining

Get a Start on Good Training

Turning to industry experts can assist convenience stores looking to craft an effective employee-training program. By Jim Callahan Last month’s blog dealt with the critical need for providing your convenience store employees effective workplace training. This month, I want to suggest some employee training topics companies might consider, with a particular focus on some resources

Making a Wise Investment

Employee appreciation is a good starting point in any successful training program. By Jim Callahan If you don’t have a comprehensive training program in place for your employees you’re failing them. And of course, you’re cheating your company since a well-trained workforce is the most valuable commodity in the convenience store industry. If you already

Fighting Fire With Fire

Convenience stores can develop a social media program to work in their favor as long as they still employ quality customer service. By Jim Callahan Let’s review a long-time conception related to the all-important subject of customer service. Then we’ll delve into the idea of how providing great customer service has evolved from being very

RaceTrac Reflects the Future

RaceTrac Petroleum in the last few years has topped itself, which leaves something for other convenience stores to aspire to. By Jim Callahan I was seriously wowed recently and I loved every minute of it, and thought I’d share the occasion with you. On a beautiful night in historic Newnan, Ga., which is 30 minutes

Fountain of Opportunity

Summer is a great time for c-store offerings—few of which are more refreshing and profitable than fountain drinks. By Jim Callahan Have you noticed all the beverage specials that bubble to the surface at convenience stores, and other retail establishments, during this time of the year? Summer weather is a natural fuel for the sale

Seeing the Glass Half Full

Being upbeat can help a retailer’s vision for the future. By Jim Callahan It is said that, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity,” while “an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I’ve encountered so many intelligent and impactful individuals during my 48-year journey in the convenience store industry and, I am struck

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,

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,

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