Convenience Industry Takes Center Stage

Tips, thoughts and reminders to enhance your NACS Show experience. Move over Ringling Brothers because the NACS Show is indeed “The Greatest Show on Earth.” 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

Hitting the Customers’ “Sweet Spot”

The ability to offer outstanding service remains the industry’s biggest asset. Do whatever it takes to exceed expectations. Doing a late night check on our new Huddle House restaurant attached to a quite awesome BP travel center, I arrived just in time to tackle the concerns of a pretty tough and very tired truck driver

Mind Control: The Road to Success and Rewards

Fostering determination, desire and a great attitude in employees is what allows cashiers and middle managers to rise in senior management’s eyes. Saturday is my “honey, I’ll do it today” day. To be candid, though, my wife is much better with home repairs than me. We tackled regrouting an entire bathroom and my task was

Here Comes the Sun

As the summer selling season hits its peak, operators must hone best practices to increase market share. Gazing through my crystal ball, I see it boldly predicts summer 2009 is going to bring some very solid sales numbers, indeed greatly increased sales for much of the country.  Moreover, as you view this issue of Convenience

Things I Learned on the Way to the Convenience Store

The term “blessed” is trite but, in this case, true: My journey through the convenience store industry has seen me blessed with the friendships of so many special people. More than a few of them fit the mold reserved for greatness. I’d like to share some of the wonderful wisdom I’ve learned from them.

The Night They Burned Tobacco Down

Increases on cigarettes have put the category’s long-term viability in jeopardy. By Jim Callahan, Convenience Store Solutions I recently saw a statistic that declared tobacco was no longer king in convenience stores. While that is not yet true for most of us, it’s about to become an indisputable fact. The entire country now gets to

You Are Known by the Company You Keep

The contacts and friends you make in this industry can become lifelong confidants. This one’s personal. As the saying goes, this is not my first rodeo, but amazingly I’ve come through with very few of life’s saddle sores. Now in my 40th year in the industry, I’ve worked for some amazing people, learned many valuable

Riding Out the Economic Storm

Facing one of the most difficult financial crises in the nation’s history, convenience store operators must maximize store performance and drive efficiencies. That old axiom “fall back, spring ahead” takes on an entirely new meaning for 2009. Faced with the worst recession in more than half a century, springing ahead means fighting for survival for

Appreciate Your Antique Assets

A great source of dedication and experience, seniors can excel throughout the entire organization. Surfing through the TV channels recently, I paused to watch a few minutes of the popular Antiques Road Show program. I was amazed at the value we place on antiques in this country, how they appreciate with time. Indeed, the older

New Year, New Challenges

With 2009 approaching, let patience be your guide to achieve personal and professional goals. As we usher in a new year, let patience be your guide to achieve personal and professional goals. What if you suddenly found out that your slate could be pretty much wiped clean and most all of the tactical mistakes made could

Diamonds in Your Own Backyard

While searching for the magic bullet to grow your business, don’t forget about the extensive pool of customers the competition is attracting. I had the genuine great fortune of being hired, trained, nurtured and guided for several years by legendary NACS Hall of Fame member and wonderful friend, Robert E. “Bob” Seng. Many remember Bob

Bad Times Make for Good Habits

  Making the tough choices on employees and operations can be difficult, but well worth it in the end.     I read a great quote attributed to John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State under President Eisenhower, which said, “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem, but whether it is

Take Me Out of the Ball Game

With all the volatility surrounding the fuel business, a more effective strategy may be found in focusing on in-store volume. Any rookie baseball player knows you can’t win if you don’t score and that you can’t score if you don’t get on base.  In business, this veteran player feels strongly that you can’t win if

The Man in the Mirror

With the U.S. consuming about 20% of the world’s fuel, it’s time to take matters into our own hands to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. By Jim Callahan You may have noticed that fuel prices seem to be on the rise recently. Quite dramatically you say you’re really ticked off about it–you say

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive!by Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive! Staying Alive is both the title of an old disco tune, as well as a description of the challenge that today’s c-store operators face. C-store growth in numbers as well as quality continues unabated. I certainly don’t have all the answers about staying relevant, but I have some very interesting

Negotiation Practices for Small C-Store Chainsby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

The sweet science of obtaining a better deal than was offered! To compete with the big chains more effectively, you’ve got to be able to buy better, which is obviously much more difficult for a smaller chain, even more so for the single store operator. But in reality it’s much easier than you might think

The Simple Secrets of Getting Ahead in the C-Store Businessby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

A Must Read for all your cashiers! First, it is an established fact that getting ahead in the convenience store industry is much, much easier than in most any other industry. While we absolutely believe in the value of a good education–indeed many company’s help fund continuing education for their employees, our industry does not

Growing Same-Store Sales in a tough Market by Jim Callahan, Convenience Store Solutions

So simple – so profitable – so what’s stopping you! Unless you run an above average operation, you might just experience a sudden urge to stop reading, part way thru this article. I’m going to put the results toward the top to help, suppress that urge!More…

Making a Mountain Out Of — Fountain by Jim Callahan, Convenience Store Solutions

In my usual rush, I found myself in a long, but swiftly moving line at a fast-food restaurant recently. Having nothing better to do, I did a little observing and confirmed what I really already knew, but had just never taken the time to place in proper perspective.More…

Can’t Take the Trip Without a Road Map!

Running Convenience Stores is a long and exciting journey, albeit fraught with Pot Holes, Winding Roads and Stormy Weather. If you’ll stay the course, you will still find that a small pot of gold awaits you!More… So tell me, what other long, rugged and expensive Trip would you make without using a “Road Map”?

Great Timing = Great Sales

Over the years, I’ve found that when I’ve matched the right product with the right occasion, I’ve been able to create increased sales with a much higher gross profit %. Not nearly as difficult as it sounds! Here’s an example: we place wool hats and brown jersey gloves on the counter, directly in front of

The Times They are a Changin’

So wrote the poet Bob Dylan! You may very well have a nice, clean, well merchandised Convenience Store and still not be doing the amount of business required. Just in case you missed the memo, the days of depending on Customers automatically coming to your nice store are over! Like Hansel and Gretel, the most

Let's Play Some Defense!

It’s a well know Sports adage that you can’t be a stand out winner without being strong on defense. The very same holds true for the Convenience Store Business. Viewing Security Tapes from your stores Video System is one excellent way of practicing “Strong Defense” (for those that don’t have Security Cameras, this very same

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