What’s Your Solution?

SKU SLEUTH … Rick Cosmer, vice president of retail sales and operations at Mansfield Oil Co. in Georgia, has found cutting-edge back-office systems can offer huge payoffs in terms of data analysis and sales tracking. Cosmer said the most powerful piece of his system allows him to drill down J.D. to individual products to determine

Prepared Foods

TOP PERFORMERS Sara Lee Foodservice Oscar Meyer (Kraft Foods Inc.) Ruiz Foods Inc. HONORABLE MENTIONS Don Miguel Mexican Foods Inc. Stouffer’s (Nestle) Old-time retailers tell it this way: Some years ago, convenience customers were more willing to give up a little something on quality—in the way of food, at least—if it meant they’d get something

Cody’s Goes To Kum & Go

Cody’s Convenience Stores at a Glance Headquarters: Springfield, Mo. Store Count: 37 Fuel Brand: Phillips 66 Missouri Markets: Battlefield, Bolivar, Clever, Fair Grove, Hollister, Joplin, Monett, Neosho, Nixa, Republic, Rogersville, Springfield, Waynesville and Webb City. Distinctions: The Cody’s Gift Card, live bait, financial services, full-service delis and various leading foodservice concepts. It took the right

Smokeless tobacco market plans, snue and spit free product information

TOP PERFORMERS Copenhagen (Philip Morris USA) Skoal (Philip Morris USA) Grizzly (Conwood Co./ Reynolds American) HONORABLE MENTIONS Kodiak (Conwood Co./ Reynolds American) Timberwolf (Swedish Match) Longhorn (Swedish Match) Few product categories are as dynamic as smokeless tobacco, which helps make managing the set all the more interesting. With so many new products, flavors and line

The Impact of Tobacco Federal Excise Taxes

The increase of federal and state cigarette excise taxes will have a far-reaching, negative impact on the convenience store industry. With the exception of petroleum products, no other category is more vital to the industry’s success than tobacco products. Given that cigarettes represent 30-45% of c-store inside sales, the deterioration of this category will have

Branded Fast Food

TOP PERFORMERS Subway Subs & Salads McDonald’s Corp. Dunkin’ Brands HONORABLE MENTIONS Blimpie Dairy Queen Nothing draws a customer like credibility, and name brands come with credibility built in. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in foodservice.  Just ask John Cary, director of operations at the 38-unit Uppy’s chain in Virginia. “If we have

Budgets Tightened, Jobs Squeezed

As retailers big and small continue shedding jobs amid economic troubles, some convenience and petroleum brands bleed a little, some bleed a lot.  The industry is taking its share of hits in this economic tsunami, but if there’s any consolation, it’s this: Their wounds aren’t nearly as deep as those suffered in other retail channels.

Point Of Sale

TOP PERFORMERS Gilbarco Veeder-Root Verifone Inc. Professional Data Solutions Inc. (PDI) HONORABLE MENTIONS Dresser Wayne FACTOR Inc. Pinnacle Corp. With convenience stores offering more services and profit centers, operators need a point-of-sale (POS) system that can easily integrate each component without driving up operating costs. Consider the rapid expansion of loyalty programs—successful chains have been

Soft Drinks

TOP PERFORMERS Pepsi Coca-Cola Mountain Dew (PepsiCo) HONORABLE MENTIONS Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper Snapple Group) Sprite (Coca-Cola Co.) Carbonated soft drink sales may be slowing a bit, but they still dominate convenience store coolers. Chalk it up to brand-loyal buyers or market saturation, but one thing is certain: This is a packaged beverage segment retailers

Bakery

TOP PERFORMERS Sara Lee Foodservice Bon Appetite Prairie City Bakery HONORABLE MENTIONS Rich Products Mrs. Freshley’s Convenience retailers across the board are rolling out innovative approaches to boost their foodservice sales, and many are looking to the trusted breakfast daypart as a proving grounds for new ideas to lure new customers. This means plenty of

Sunoco Downsizing

Sunoco Inc. said it is selling off 165 convenience stores and gas stations in the Eastern U.S.  The properties are located in selected markets in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Philadelphia-based Sunoco operates a network of approximately 4,700 retail sites—including the APlus

Cash Management

TOP PERFORMERS Tidel Engineering Triton Systems Brink’s Inc. HONORABLE MENTIONS Armor Safe Technologies Tokheim Operators in any retail channel will find it impossible to survive in today’s environment without a secure, accurate and reliable cash-management system, though convenience retailers in particular are faced with added challenges on this front.  A tough economy increases theft internally

Juices And Teas

TOP PERFORMERS Lipton (PepsiCo) Tropicana (PepsiCo) Minute Maid (Coca-Cola Co.) HONORABLE MENTIONS AriZona Beverage Co. SoBe (PepsiCo) While innovation is a valued component to every category, the juices and teas segment of packaged beverages seems to be particularly prone to new twists and creative concepts. Largely in response to consumers looking for more functionality and

Car Wash & Equipment

TOP PERFORMERS Mark VII Equipment Inc. Ryko Manufacturing PDQ Manufacturing Inc. HONORABLE MENTIONS Ecolab Inc. Autec Inc. If your car wash is poorly maintained or functioning improperly, it’ll be dead in the water in no time.   “First of all, make sure that the car wash itself is functioning and in good shape,” said Mark

Road Ranger Growing

Tough economic times mean new opportunities and Road Ranger just found one. The Rockville, Ill., convenience store chain entered into operating lease agreements for 15 Fast Break Food Mart gasoline and convenience stores in the Louisville, Ky., market. The deal increases Road Ranger’s network of travel centers and convenience stores to 88 locations in seven

Prepaid

TOP PERFORMERS PaySpot Inc. Coinstar Inc. Verizon HONORABLE MENTIONS InComm AT&T With the economy bogged down in a recession and job losses at the highest levels in decades, spooked consumers are no doubt learning to live on less—less money, less credit and less frivolity.  Prepaid solutions—whether it’s wireless sales, debit card transactions, gift cards and

Isotonics and Energy Drinks

TOP PERFORMERS Red Bull Monster (Hansen Beverage Co.) Gatorade (PepsiCo) HONORABLE MENTIONS Powerade (Coca-Cola Co.) Full Throttle (Coca-Cola Co.) Gulf Oil General Manager Terri Murray sums this category up about as sweetly as you can. “When energy drinks first came out, I don’t think any of us were sure what was going to happen,” Murray

Packaged Healthy Snacks

TOP PERFORMERS Chex Mix (General Mills) Planters Trail Mix/Sunflower Seeds (Kraft Foods Inc.) Kellogg’s Special K Nutra Grain Bar HONORABLE MENTIONS Gardetto’s (General Mills) Keebler (Kellogg Co.) While some retailers are still debating whether they should add healthy snacks to their product mix, others are creating entire programs based on healthier concepts. Entire brands, in

Retaining Talent For The Future

The best thing about the economy being such a dog? Employers get the pick of the litter when it comes to job candidates. Worcester, Mass.-based Honey Farms Mini-Market landed an expert last month when it hired retail veteran Lisa Clement to oversee nine Honey Farm stores in the Worcester and Middlesex county markets. Just weeks

Two-Ounce Energy Shots

TOP PERFORMERS Living Essential 5-Hour Energy NVE Stacker Upshot (Drinks That Work) HONORABLE MENTIONS BDI Mini Thin Rush NRG Make room for the new kid on the block: Energy shots, those concentrated versions of energy drinks that are beginning to mirror the high sales figures of their parent product.  Energy shots have as big a

Meat Snacks / Jerky

TOP PERFORMERS Jack Links Beef Jerky Slim Jim (ConAgra Foods Inc.) Pemmican (ConAgra Foods Inc.) HONORABLE MENTIONS Gardetto’s (General Mills) Keebler (Kellogg Co.) Accounting for $836 million in sales at convenience stores last year, meat snacks seem to be a category tailor-made for convenience consumers. Jerky is a quintessential impulse item that appeals greatly to

Service Reigns Supreme

There is no greater ally for convenience store owners than their supplier partners. When retailers boost sales and satisfy their customers, everyone in the supply chain benefits. When Convenience Store Decisions launched its Reader’s Choice Awards four years ago, our premise was simple: To find out just who retailers identified as their top supplier partners.

Bottled Water

TOP PERFORMERS Aquafina (PepsiCo) Dasani (Coca-Cola Co.) Nestle Waters (All Brands) HONORABLE MENTIONS Fiji Evian (GBE) Bottled water continues to grow at an unprecedented pace and the category’s popularity is attracting the attention of more than just retailers. The focus on bottled water by revenue-hungry legislatures and environmental special-interest groups will remain an ongoing story

Pizza

TOP PERFORMERS Hunt Brothers Pizza Freschetta (Schwan’s) Hot Stuff Foods HONORABLE MENTIONS Piccadilly Circus Pizza Red Baron (Schwan’s) With menus that are customizable to a broad array of tastes and budgets, pizza programs have long been a go-to solution for convenience retailers who want foodservice solutions that deliver immediately profitable models, not to mention proven

Energy Drinks Holding Strong

Energy Crash Ahead? Driven by studies that demonstrate the adverse impacts high levels of caffeine have, a “truth-in-labeling” movement is gaining strength that may strongly impact energy drink retailers from Maine to California and could raise liability issues for the fastest-growing products in the cold vault.Because energy drinks are marketed as dietary supplements rather than

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