6things

Six Things to Know Before Your Next C-Store Purchase

Acquiring convenience stores and gas stations can be a major investment in time and money. Before you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, Ken Watson, a financial services analyst with Cara & Associates in Atlanta, said there are six things retailers should focus on that should help make their investment worthwhile. 1) Financing.

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Driving New Business in a Competitive Market

Location, appearance and service are among the most important factors to consider when building and operating new convenience stores, but operators are urged to also focus on the impact of social media. Picking the right location for a new store can ensure business volume. Having the right appearance—or street appeal—may determine whether the majority of

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Building Beer Sales

Larger, single-serve packages are increasing in popularity as customers are trading  down to save money. While some Americans hit hard by the recession are drinking less but better, others are opting for cheaper brands, while still more are selecting single beers instead of packs and taking a long look at craft beers, which some see

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Attacking Shrink from All Angles

Loss prevention in retail is becoming a more challenging task as the economy stumbles along. In order to keep costs down it is important to put measures into place that will deter thieves. In a tough economy, every dollar counts. But loss prevention is often overlooked by convenience stores, even when following through on upholding

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Marketing and Social Media

In 2011, look for cause marketing to be a bigger trend. An expert panel at the U.S. Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) annual meeting revealed that the trend toward cause marketing is the next step in engaging customers and increasing loyalty. But it’s not enough just to pick a cause and throw together a promotion. Customers

Retailers are finding new ways to reach customers in the forecourt. WilcoHess,  for example, is testing vending machines at the fuel pumps.

Emerging Retail Trends

Convenience store owners should expect to embrace new technology and a fresh set of rules for communicating with today’s consumers as 2011 approaches. A  year that witnessed a whirlwind of technological advancements proved that retail is all about change. The best retailers are embracing that change and  diversifying their technology investments in order to stay

Train to Retain

Convenience store turnover is staggering—100% is typical, and 200% is common among hourly retail employees. Yet, in a Fortune magazine survey of the most admired companies, “the single best predictor of overall excellence was a company’s ability to attract, motivate and retain talented people.” Training and preparing employees for advancement is one proven method for

Keeping USTs and Fuel Dispensers Safe

“Those operators who are only now waking up to the need to tend to UST-related matters need not despair. I recently put together an update for a client I have on all 50 states, and everything I remember reading said that no one’s been cast out, shut down or told they can’t operate because they

Rutter’s Farm Stores Named CSD’s Chain Of The Year

Exceptional leadership, great stores and unsurpassed customer service are the hallmarks of the convenience store industry’s extraordinary chains. Following these guiding principles, Convenience Store Decisions is proud to announce Rutter’s Farm Stores as the 2010 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. At a time when many industry marketers are struggling with exorbitant credit card fees

Managing Packaged Beverages

New products and core beverages will always drive cold vault sales. So when is the right time—and how often does that right time come—for category managers to reset them? “We do cold vault resets twice a year, which means we’re making fairly minor adjustments all the time,” said Richard Ginther, category manager for Kum &

Other Tobacco: Find the Right Mix

Few product categories are as dynamic as tobacco—or as controversial—which helps make managing the set all the more interesting. With so many new products, flavors and line extensions to choose from, some operators say they are frankly overwhelmed, a state of affairs that has never been good for anyone’s bottom line. Keeping sets fresh—allocating shelf

Lessons in Leadership

As the director of real estate for High’s of Baltimore and a member of the Darnell family, which owns the Hanover, Md., chain of 69 stores in Maryland and Delaware, Briana Darnell knows first hand the importance of being a strong leader and how it can impact a company’s success.   In her current role, she

Pricing, Promotions Key for Salty Snacks

When the American Public Health Association highlighted a December 2009 study on candy, snack and sweetened beverage availability in non-food retailers, it was worried about obesity. Convenience store retailers are only worried about thin margins. The Tulane University researchers found snack food in 41% of all stores whose primary merchandise was not food. Candy was

Energizing Beverage Sales

Thirteen years after the energy drink market emerged in the U.S. with the introduction of Red Bull, the category remains popular with consumers, who are willing to pay higher prices in a difficult economy for an extra jolt.  But while Mintel reported in July 2009 that the energy drink market had climbed to an estimated

Brands, Packaging Benefit HBC

With healthcare capturing so many headlines these days, the health and beauty category (HBC) has taken on added importance in the c-store set. Fueling much of the growth: smaller package sizes that save shoppers money and stimulate impulse sales. Medford, Ore.-based Minute Market has jumpstarted its HBC sales by mixing in smaller-sized packaging, according to

Brothers at the Helm

Jimmy McCarthy III, vice president of sales and operations for Tom Thumb Food Stores, still remembers the Saturday morning his dad, Jim McCarthy Jr., owner and president of Tom Thumb, woke him up to begin his career in the convenience store industry. “He said, ‘wake up, you’re not going to sleep all day.’ I said,

Why Every Convenience Store Owner Needs An Exit Plan

By Ted Thomas, Sun Exit Advisors Most convenience store owners are too busy to think about their exit plan. There comes a time, however, when business owners want to successfully leave their business. Unfortunately, when it comes time for transition, most don’t know how to accomplish that goal. A common mistake is to rush 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

Retailers Counting on COFFEE

Ten years ago, “experts” warned the coffee industry was becoming saturated; then they said it again five years ago and once more two years ago. Turns out they were wrong every time. There’s not a convenience store operator in America who doesn’t work at building coffee sales and expanding dayparts thanks to the category’s excellent

Is Your Land at Risk?

The question of eminent domain may sound scary and far fetched, but as a convenience store owner your land could in fact be seized by a municipality. It happens more than you think, said noted attorney William Goldman, who works with landowners facing this threat to ensure they get what they deserve. Goldman spoke with Convenience

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

A Functional Boost to Confections

You know the truism about Americans wanting more of everything is, indeed, true when we begin demanding more from our candy, gum and mint products than just good taste. As with beverages over the last decade or so, so-called functional snacks are slowly gaining respect in the convenience store channel, as major manufacturers roll products

What’s in Store in the Humidor

As if the turbulent economy, rising state taxes and local anti-smoking regulations hadn’t rendered the retail cigar landscape dangerous enough, enter the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which wants to significantly reshape that landscape, but so far hasn’t told anyone—most notably the retailers that will be selling the products—how. Some background: The law granting

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

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.

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