COLA

Preparing for the Fountain Wars

McDonald’s is preparing an aggressive summer promotion targeting core c-store customers. Another month, another challenge for convenience store operators. Where is the legendary Charles Atlas when the big bad bully tries to kick sand in our collective faces? As I’m sure you’ve heard by now this summer’s bully is, once again, McDonald’s. The hamburger chain

Targeting Casual Smokers

A new class of products is emerging to satisfy the needs of social tobacco users. So many thoughts that capture my mind are worthy of being written about. Some incite our emotions (like the recent attack on Terry Gallagher of Smoker Friendly who accepted the position as coach of the Boulder High School girls varsity

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

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

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

FDA Clarifies Tobacco Ban

Flavored products including cigarettes, RYO and loose tobaccos and rolling papers are no longer legal in U.S. stores; administration said it would look at “little cigars” and similar products on a “case-by-case basis.” The smoking lamp on the majority of flavored tobacco products sold in convenience stores has been extinguished, but the ruling has ignited

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

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

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Multiculturalism in the Marketplace

With the election of the nation’s first African-American president, the time is right to get a better understanding of our consumer base to make sure we’re meeting their needs. Things have been quite difficult for most Americans this holiday season. There have been thousands upon thousands of job layoffs, though the retail sector has weathered

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

Engaging the Future

Retailers must embrace the many new opportunities offered in the tobacco category.   The current and future tobacco category will present new challenges that retailers will need to embrace if they are to succeed. As each convenience store retailer looks at the future of their tobacco business, there is one thing that is certain and

Talent Management

Embracing the differences that minority candidates offer can help stores attract new customers.   I recently received a thin, white letter with the logo of my employer on it. While I have received many letters and packages from my employer, the thinnest of them all is, for me, the most important of them all. That’s

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

Sticky Choices

Having a tough time deciding which gums and mints to carry? You’re not alone. The amazing number and diversity of new entries in this important category have most convenience store retailers second-guessing the wisdom of their choices. From energy boosts to dietary supplements, gum and mints are now available in a wide variety of formats

Did You Know…

» The first patent for chewing gum was issued in 1869 to Ohio dentist William F. Semple. » In the early 1900s, William Wrigley Jr. was one of the first people to promote a brand to consumers through advertising. His spearmint gum quickly became a best seller. » During World War II, U.S. military personnel

Multiculturalism in the Marketplace…No Myth in C-Stores

A lack of mentors is affecting the advancement of women and minorities to executive positions. Even with the strain of oil prices and the reduction of in-store sales, convenience stores are a booming industry. But it has some work to do to continue reaching a profitable, untapped demographic: women. Women are a full 50% of

The Strategic Role of Chief Diversity Officers

There’s a place at the table in the evolving convenience store industry. By Tonya Brown The issue of diversity and inclusion in corporate America has been a topic of conversation for a long time. First, the issues around the table were about achieving diversity. Then the role of inclusion came to be and the issue

Communication: Not Always a Hard and Fast Rule

Leaders need to modify their thinking and actions in order to truly unleash the human spirit in their store managers. By Tonya Brown Over the last 11 months, I have seen four District Managers (DM) take reign. Now of course, given that this is the retail industry, it was hardly a surprise. They came and

The Store Manager Psyche

The business of inclusion is as important as what’s sold on the shelves. Tonya Brown One might think that the convenience store industry is a microcosm of diversity. One would have to admit that the industry, at least from the lower operations level, would fit this mold. After all, the DNA at the lower level

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 a press conference at the All Candy Expo Wednesday in Chicago. The study is intended to help generate increased sales

Steppin’ into Spring and Springing into Summerby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

I recently read a great quote attributed to a one time door-to-door sales person and lately more recognizable as founder of the billion-dollar company that bears her name, Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash said, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as

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

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