A Clear Vision

Smoking restrictions, excessive taxes and competition from tax-free sources on Native American reservations and the Internet have proven to be three obstacles too big to overcome for most convenience store retailers. For Smoker’s Express, a seven-store chain based in Fairless Hill, Pa., these obstacles are merely gateways to new sales opportunities. Nestled in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh

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The Industry’s Power 25 (part 5)

Tom LongPresident and Chief Commercial OfficerMillerCoors Since becoming president and chief commercial officer of Miller Brewing Co. in 2006, Tom Long has guided his company through several successful changes, including the joint venture agreement that created MillerCoors last July. Long also made the crucial decision to locate the newly merged company in downtown Chicago instead

The Industry’s Power 25 (part 4)

J. Michael Walsh President and CEO Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. It would be tough to overstate how important the company J. Michael Walsh leads is to the c-store industry. As one of the largest broad-line, full-service distributors of packaged consumer products to the convenience retail industry in North America, Core-Mark provides distribution and logistics services

CSD at the Races

NASCAR appeals to millions of race fans across the U.S. Spend any time at a race and you’ll quickly know why. It’s not just the roar of the engines or the intoxicating smell of burning rubber and motor fuel—it’s the intense, high-speed race to be a champion that at any given moment could send one

The Industry’s Power 25 (part 2)

Robert Myers President and CEOCasey’s General Stores Inc. About 40 years and 1,470 stores later, Casey’s General Stores still prefers those small Midwestern towns. If not for the small-town charm they offer, then at least for the collective $4.8 billion they generated this past year to make Casey’s a leader in the world of convenience.

The Industry’s Power 25 (part 3)

Donald ZietlowPresident and CEOKwik Trip Inc. Kwik Trip CEO Donald Zietlow and his team at the La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. have built a well-oiled network of facilities and operations that support more than 380 Kwik Trip and Kwik Star stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The Kwik Trip brand started in a small

Finding Balance

Whether it’s maneuvering the fine line between hard work and spending enough quality time with the wife and kids or walking home after one too many at the local pub, finding the right balance is the crucial difference separating success from a split lip. In his poignant memoir, “From Smart to Lucky: Leadership Lessons from

Vote for Convenience Store Decisions’ Power 25

It time once again to vote for Convenience Store Decisions’ Power 25! The Power 25 recognizes industry pioneers, association executives, lawmakers and other influential figures that shape the way the convenience store industry operates. These prominent leaders are being selected for the lasting contributions they have made to the convenience channel and the impact their

Overcoming Adversity

Good things happen to good people. That’s an axiom we’ve all heard from the moment we were able to distinguish right from wrong. For Jeff Morris, president and CEO of Alon USA, that was a concept he struggled to wrap his brain around eight months ago. Morris has enjoyed a reputation as a great leader

Altria Lands UST

On paper Altria Group’s estimated $11.7-billion deal to acquire UST Inc. is a deal for the ages that will meld its powerhouse Marlboro line with the immensely popular Skoal and Copenhagen smokeless tobacco brands. The combination of Altria, parent company to Philip Morris USA, and UST, creates the premiere tobacco company in the U.S. with

Alon Emerges

Alon USA At a Glance: Alon USA is a Dallas-based independent refiner and marketer majority owned by Alon Israel Oil Co. Ltd. It was formed in 2000 when Alon Israel purchased the downstream operations of Atofina Petrochemical. Today, Alon owns and operates the Fina fuel brand and Southwest Convenience Stores LLC (SCS), the largest 7-Eleven

Onboarding: The Key to Valued Employee Retention

Branding, corporate identity and corporate image are just a few of the buzzwords the folks in the marketing department use to describe the basic building blocks of a comprehensive business development plan. What these terms have in common is that they’re all about communications. Simply put, as every convenience retailer knows, the world won’t beat

Customers Rate Rutter’s No. 1

Rutter’s topped the York Sunday News’ 2008 “Best of York” rankings in six categories, beating out a number of other national brands. Rutter’s took first place in the six categories evaluated by its hometown newspaper, including breakfast, coffee, deli/sub/sandwich, fast food, lunch and milk. York, Pa.-based Rutter’s bested the likes of Cracker Barrel in the

The New Face of Convenience

The late Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s once said, “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” Well, the folks at Rutter’s must be drenched.  Fresh off the launch of its convenience store prototype in York, Pa., the executive team at Rutter’s, Scott Hartman, Jeff Leedy and Jerry Weiner,

How Rutter’s Stays on Top

There was a time not long ago in this industry when bigger was always thought to be better. Fortunately, the folks at Rutter’s Farm Stores knew better.  With 52 stores in five Pennsylvania counties, Rutter’s focus has never been on reckless expansion simply for the sake of having a larger store count. Rather, its has

Ethanol and Biodiesel: What You Need to Know

Ethanol is a renewable fuel made primarily by distilling grains such as corn, wheat, barley and other food crops. It is an alcohol that is mixed with gasoline when used in vehicles. Cars can run on a mix of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, but typically ethanol is only used as a fuel additive in

Green and Envied

Scott Zaremba grew up in the fuel business. As president and CEO of Zarco 66, the petroleum company his father founded in 1968, Zaremba is battle-tested in the trenches and has the scars to prove it. But what motivates this savvy industry veteran every day is the opportunity to push the boundaries of creativity and

The Wild Ride Continues

As if industry operators didn’t have enough to worry about, ExxonMobil dealers were greeted with the news that the Irving, Texas oil giant decided to exit direct-store operations by divesting 825 company-owned and -operated stations as well as 1,400 stations leased to dealers. This decision thrust those dealers into an anxious state of limbo, an

Reshaping the Convenience Landscape

For some marketers and distributors, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s decision to get out of direct-store operations could present the chance of a lifetime; an opportunity to acquire the rights to stores for an entire market, maybe more. For others, the announcement caused immediate fear and panic concerning the long-term viability of their operations and, in some

NACS: Visa’s Move to Reduce Debit Holds a “Smokescreen”

With retailers and consumers struggling from the card companies’ policy of placing excessive holds on credit- and debit-card transactions at the fuel pumps, Visa announced a plan to reduce hold times to just a couple of hours. Right now, issuing banks impose a hold on funds in their customers’ bank accounts for an amount exceeding

In the Days of Old…

Under attack from taxes, credit card fees and even some of our branded partners, retailers must continue to fight on. by Jim Callahan, Convenience Store Solutions In the days of old before crude was “liquid gold” and drive-offs were unheard of, we had low taxes and no faxes and just two blends to deal with.

Fighting Through the Pain

Everybody wants a piece of the action. That was among the key messages my father taught me when he was running his business. Though he only had three pumps and four service bays, there was no shortage of business partners or associates who wanted a cut when times were good, but were nowhere to be

By the Numbers

» 15 Cents Discount per gallon Kroger is offering customers as part if its enhanced fuel discount program by accumulating credits through purchases made at the company’s U.S. stores. » 33 Zip Trip stores that are rebranding from 76 to Cenex. The initial conversion covers the fuel offering. Once completed, the c-stores will also be

7-Eleven Forging DSD Changes

7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto (pictured) fired a shot heard ‘round the industry calling for reforms to the direct store delivery (DSD) distribution system that helped grow the operator to one of the largest retailers in the U.S. The system has been used effectively for some 30 years, but the problem is, not much

Convenience Industry Study Outlined at All Candy Expo

Three industry associations are partnering on a groundbreaking research effort to identify more effective and profitable opportunities in confections. Details of the study, which was spearheaded by The Hershey Co. and Eby-Brown, were announced at the All Candy Expo in Chicago. The study is intended to help generate increased sales and profits of confectionery products

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