irving keeps the promise

Irving Oil developed the ’Irving Promise’ as a guide to reinforce the importance of doing whatever it takes to simplify the lives of its customers throughout its network, including its newly reimaged Bluecanoe stores (see Making Over Mainway, p. 18). Irving Oil developed the “Irving Promise” as a guide to reinforce theimportance of doing whatever

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making over mainway

Irving Oil’s Mainway stores make way for BLUECANOE, an uncommon concept driven by best-in-class service, an intense focus on fresh foods and a unique sense of humor. People don’t pay much attention to washroom signs. But at IrvingOil’s new Bluecanoe stores, the signs are tough to ignore. Tim Guen, senior brand manager for the Portsmouth,

milk money

Farm Crest Milk Stores gives its dairy doors the royal treatment. While some retailers skim by with a few facings of milk, Farm Crest serves its customer base of ’diggers’ with no fewer than five doors of all-natural dairy products. Denver’s Farm Crest stores compete in today’s modern convenience retailing arena by employing a 1950s-style

ad it up

Digital advertising networks boost the top line by funneling traffic from the great outdoors to inside the store. How to consistently transform gas customers into insidethe-store customersremains one of the great mysteries of our time. Retailers have tried a batteryof techniques— instore promotions with banners, advertisements blastingfrom overhead speakers, static ads on pumptoppers and streaming

casework

Rotisserie chicken. Cold sandwiches. Pizza. Fresh fruit. Display cases boost the sales potential of any food item. Display cases hold and merchandise products effectively and offer customers a quick showing of the operator’s menu selections. The idea is to give Mr. Customer the opportunity to view the retailer’s fare—and increase the likelihood of him making

casing the deli

Some O’Connell Oil stores receive upwards of 30 call-ahead orders per day. Store-made sandwiches are popular, but deli meats and platters are the big draw. Which came first, the deli or the sandwich program? Pittsfield, MA-based O’Connell Oil may be in the minority, but it was trying to become a destination for deli meats long

at their fingertips

Huck’s Food & Fuel (Carmi, IL) is no stranger to big ideas. The company’s latest brainstorm has the chain saving on phone calls made from stores to regional and district managers. It’s also getting operations staffers more involved in the decision-making process surrounding competitive gas pricing. A little more than a year ago, Huck’s President

fired up

Barbecuing brisket wasn’t anywhere on Rudolph Aue’s agenda in 1929, when heopened his one-pump country store in the tiny community of Leon Springs, TX,just a few miles west of San Antonio. In fact, it wasn’t until 60 years later,when Aue sold the operation, that the pit was first lit. The buyer was restaurateur Phil Romano,

drivethru goliath

This natural descendant of the c-store intends to offer everything from lottery tickets and liquor to groceries and fast food—all in a drive-thru format. Stephen Beardsley wants to out-convenience the c-store industry. Beardsley is president of AutoCart LLC (Las Cruces, NM), a company that plans on building a $13 million to $18 million “Drive-Thru Supercenter”

in the q

Anchored by Starbucks and other powerful food brands, Canadian Tire’s ’Q’ concept could have a dramatic effect on the retailing landscape north of the border. Canadian Tire Petroleum has sold gasoline since 1958, but even the company’s president will admit that its traditional convenience store offer has been less than imaginative—until recently. Canadian Tire Petroleum’s

payback with interest

Are you boring your associates right out the door? Trim turnover by keeping employees stimulated. Which item on the following list of job benefits is most important when it comes to keeping great convenience store employees on the payroll? Money Recognition Respect Interesting Work If you answered money, recognition or respect, you’re dead wrong. Although

pilot takes control

Pilot Travel Centers adapts to its growth by streamlining its payroll and human resources systems. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. As Pilot Travel Centers grew to 50 c-stores and 262 travel centers in 40 states with 14,000 employees, it became imperative for the company to streamline its payroll and human resources processes. Explosive

roll reversal

Eric Dean remembers walking into a store as a child with a note from his mother saying, “Please sell my son a pack of Pall Malls for me.” Things have changed a lot since then. Retailers have become much more responsible, for instance, by taking greater precautions to ensure that tobacco products don’t fall into

new and improved

Branded fast food and a retooled ’people process’ inspire New West Petroleum to new-found profitability in the Golden State. California’s New West Petroleum often interviews 40 candidates to fill one store manager’s job or 20 candidates for one sales associate’s job. But the pools of talent in the two major markets in which the company

keep on truckin

Carrying on a local college tradition has given New York retailer Albert Smith new menu items and a new generation of grateful customers. In the 28 years Albert Smith has operated the Shortstop Deli (Ithaca, NY), he has never gotten a hug from a customer. Sure, his patrons appreciate that the coffee is fresh, that

fine dining at the circle k

A critic’s mock cooking competition paints convenience stores in a slightly more refined light. (Note the use of the word slightly.) Are the words “convenience store” and “gourmet foods” mutually exclusive? With a little help, according to one non-scientific “study,” virtually any convenience store can supply the goods for a delightful night of fine dining.

firstclass foodie

Trend-setting fuel marketer Bill Knight serves up ’chef-crafted meals to go’ at his amazing NexStore MarketPlace in one of South Florida’s most affluent locales. The birds living in the lush foliage adorning the NexStore MarketPlace in South Florida’s affluent Boca Raton community couldn’t have it much better. Thrushes and mockingbirds look happy and well fed,

a gift horse

Petro Stopping Centers’ new prepaid card programs diversify the chain’s product mix. They also boost sales in the store, at the pump and in the dining room. The rapid transformation of the telecommunications superhighway hasn’t come without its share of potholes, detours and a few roadkill carcasses. Just five years ago, after all, longdistance cards

in control

Valero and Wesco are among the ’do-it-yourselfers’ finding efficiency and sales opportunities by handling their own distribution. Earlier this month, Valero Energy Corp. changed the way it conducted business at 650 of its Texas-based Diamond Shamrock Corner Stores. The chain leased a 130,000 sq. ft. warehouse in the San Antonio area and spent $7 million

cobranded credit

Building Fanatics at Retail

A decade ago, RJ Reynolds took a journey to the center of its Doral brand, located its DNA, and began rebuilding it from the inside out. For convenience retailers, there is much to be learned from the example. Flash back to that infamous Friday in 1993, when Philip Morris took swift and dramatic action to

empowered

QSR Pal’s Sudden Service expects and gets outstanding results from a well-trained workforce ofstrategic thinkers. by Dave Scopinich, Contributing Editor Pal’s Facts Pal’s has lost just four general managers since 1981—the last one left in 2000 to buy his own restaurant. Pal’s President and CEO Thom Crosby calls today’s young workers "part of the best

the phd of pizza

Nice N Easy’s foodservice expert took its programs to the next level by applying a more scholarly approach. By Kate Quackenbush, Associate Editor Jack Cushman has made foodservice the focus of his education and career—and pizza is his forte. He received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University in Hotel, Restaurant, Institutional Foodservice and Dietetics. He

dream grill

The roller grill has evolved. Today’s versatile roller grills cook up and merchandise a lot more than just hot dogs. Roller grills are a great way to prepare and merchandise a growing number of foods in convenience stores. In fact, operators are finding that roller grills are much more versatile than once thought. Not long

fewer gallons

Reclaiming water helps car wash operators cut costs substantially and reinforce their reputation as being good neighbors. By Bill Donahue, Editor Last summer, as a cameraman was setting up his tripod at a car wash/convenience store in the Las Vegas area, Jon Athey knew it probably wasn’t a positive development. There, an associate producer for

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