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

Specialty Water

TOP PERFORMERS Glaceau VitaminWater (Coca-Cola Co.) Gatorade, Propel (PepsiCo) SoBe Life Water (PepsiCo) HONORABLE MENTIONS Metromint With demand for enhanced waters showing no signs of abating, it is clear that consumers continue to seek the benefits of vitamins and other specialty ingredients in their beverages. According to a Nielsen study released in November, the unsweetened

Fully Prepared Hot & Cold Sandwiches

TOP PERFORMERS Deli Express (E. A. Sween Co.) Landshire Inc. Pierre Foods HONORABLE MENTIONS Jimmy Dean (Sara Lee Foodservice) Lettieri’s (Hot Stuff Foods) Proprietary foodservice programs get a lot of love and admiration for their relentless innovation and ingenuity, and even branded fast-food concepts tend to get their share of attention from convenience operators who

Bursting With Energy

Sultry Sales One new energy-shot sales trend WSCO’s general retail manager Darrell Looney sees is that some shots are being touted as aphrodisiacs. “The last NACS show was the first time I really noticed the presence of products that specifically spoke to potency and endurance,” Looney said, adding that it’s probably too soon to tell

Beer

TOP PERFORMERS Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. MillerCoors Heineken USA HONORABLE MENTIONS Mike’s Hard Lemonade Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Co.) Corona (Crown Imports) The economy may be slowing, customers may be spending less, but beer sales remain solid at convenience stores. A recent report by AC Nielsen shows beer sales are least affected by the current poor

Chicken

TOP PERFORMERS Tyson Foods Inc. Chester’s International The Broaster Co. HONORABLE MENTIONS Krispy Krunchy Chicken Squawkers (Brakebush Brothers) For such a little creature, chicken certainly knows how to command a formidable presence on foodservice menus.  To fully grasp this indefatigable bird’s share of American stomachs, look no further than this: Each U.S. consumer gobbled up

Driving HBC Sales

Convenience store operators preparing to expand their health and beauty care (HBC) category in time for the summer months may be facing some challenges. With the moribund economy depressing impulse sales across retail, this may be a bad summer for new products, while tried-and-true brands of medicines, sunscreen, sunglasses and other warm-weather favorites remain strong.

Innovation Drives Frozen Sales

  TOP PERFORMERS Coca-Cola Co. PepsiCo ICEE (J&J Snack Foods) HONORABLE MENTIONS F’Real! Foods Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper Snapple Group) Slush Puppie (J&J Snack Foods) It’s little surprise that The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo were ranked as top performers in the dispensed cold beverages category, but innovators like J&J Snack Foods and F’Real! are certainly

Cigarettes

TOP PERFORMERS Philip Morris USA R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Lorillard Tobacco Co. HONORABLE MENTIONS Commonwealth Brands Inc. Liggett Vector Since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), tobacco taxes and sales from tax-free sources continue to plague the convenience store industry. Cigarettes continue to be the top in-store category based on sales dollars. On a monthly

Choosing the Right ATM

With the number of ATMs in service across America rising and their average transaction dipping for a decade, convenience store operators face a variety of choices in how they choose to deploy them. Viewed as revenue generators or simply services for customers, cash machines present c-store executives with a variety of options and challenges, beginning

Dispensed Beverages: Hot

TOP PERFORMERS S&D Coffee Boyd Coffee Folgers (J.M. Smucker Co.) HONORABLE MENTIONS Sara Lee Foodservice Ronnoco Coffee Co. If you haven’t figured it out by now, most customers aren’t going to be happy with a one-pot coffee program bookended by a cup of sugar and a bowl of curdled creamer.  They could get that at

Demographics Driving Cold, Frozen Sales

From movie promotions at 7-Eleven to new flavors, the cold and frozen category is generating some excitement despite the presence of chilly temperatures in many parts of the country. Actually, where you live may well play a large part in what customers want to see in your cold dispensers.  Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public affairs

Cigars

TOP PERFORMERS Swisher International Inc. Swedish Match Altadis USA HONORABLE MENTIONS John Middleton (Philip Morris USA) Royal Blunts (New Image Global) PrimeTime Cigars New insights on the cigar category reveal that retailers who manage the tobacco segment more strategically benefit from accelerated growth and a larger share of the market. “Retailers focused on offering a

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

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