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Cultivating the Leaders of Tomorrow

Training employees to accept responsibility when they stumble will help groom the next generation of industry executives. By Jim Callahan. My wife called me one morning this week with a quote that gave us both pause to stop and think: “When you stumble, make it part of the dance.” I took some time to analyze

While some stores may be facing overcrowding, examining the facility with a critical eye and objectivity can help you find a new solution to an existing problem.

Keeping Your Cool in Turbulent Times

In order to change the outcome of a situation that plagues your operation, the quickest way to empower yourself is to take action as soon as possible. By Jim Callahan. Since the recession of 2009 hit, it has taken the skills of a tightrope walker to navigate the treacherous economic pitfalls to stay profitable. For

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Investing in Tomorrow

Building a convenience store requires a great deal of planning. Operators are urged to examine all of their options before making their next big investment. By: Jim Callahan Thinking of building a new store? Well, I’ve got some thoughts and opinions to help you focus on making a wise investment. In these trying times few

Electronic cigarettes are  just one of the new products  that retailers should consider  when updating their product mix for 2011.

Embracing a Fresh Perspective

The New Year offers convenience store owners an opportunity to evaluate  their product mix to ensure they are meeting their customers’ needs. The bells have chimed, the ball has dropped and 2011 is now a reality. Happy New Year to all of you. Every New Year starts with hope and a sense of wonderment as

Employees may not like working holiday shifts. It’s important to remind them of the valuable service they provide to the industry’s loyal consumers.

Meeting the Demand for Convenience

  Even during the holiday season customers expect their local c-store not only to be open, but to meet their diverse needs. Every year during the holidays I have cashiers tell me that customers ask them why our stores are open on days like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Customers often remark, “It’s a

Working to Make a Difference

An introspective look at life through the fading eyes of a genius. As our 28 year old daughter lay ill in Emory University Hospital, a wonderful second-generation Spanish surgeon knelt down and held my wife’s hands to share words of wisdom he learned from his father. He imparted to us what a great privilege it

Selling Smokes Still Profitable

While foodservice sales are soaring, the tobacco category is still as important as ever. I heard recently that the the profit convenience stores derive from foodservice has overtaken that of tobacco. Now I’m right there with the rest of the industry in joining the deli revolution, but that does not mean that I’m ready to

The Simple Secret of Free Publicity

Whether you operate a large or small chain, there are deals to be made that can attract a lot of positive attention to your company. I know some of you don’t place much of a value on publicity, but when was the last time you priced the cost of a retail ad in the local

Maintaining Faith in America

With jobs being transferred overseas and business burdened with new financial challenges, more and more employees are struggling to survive. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a great understanding of the global economy, but there’s a disturbing trend of outsourcing jobs overseas, while at the same time hamstringing American business

Celebrate the Reason for the Season

It makes not one iota of difference whether you believe in Santa or celebrate Christmas to make a difference in someone’s life at this special time of the year. We all recognize that 2009—like no other year in the past 50—has created a genuine and critical need that provides both an opportunity for all of

The Power to Turn a Life Around

While this troubled economy lingers, there might never be a better time than right now to increase your efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of your employees. As I reflected on gracious words attributed to a motivational speaker, the late professor Leo Buscaglia, I was both struck by his gentle touch, and

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

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