visionary

Jim Fiene started his c-store career as a thirdshift worker at a Speedway SuperAmerica store while studying cinematography at a Milwaukee technical college. He dreamed of one day making movies as a big-time Holywood director, but he soon realized the convenience retailing industry provided all the drama and excitement he could ever want. "I thrive

centralized production

Central Ohio Energy (Mansfield, OH) opened its commissary about threeyears ago. Company executives saw a need for a fresh and consistent productand couldn't pinpoint a vendor that could provide the quality it needed andbe flexible about returns. The Ohio chain operates nine locations: eight In-n-Out Marts and one Easy TripStore. The Easy Trip, which is

the key to consistency

When a particular category— say, foodservice—accounts for almost 12% of the industry’s total inside sales (which it did last year, per the National Association of Convenience Stores’ State of the Industry report), retailers will work to control it as much as possible. In fact, retailers have spent millions of dollars and man-hours to add cost

Decision Makers – August, 2005

– Stop’n Go of Medina (Medina, OH) has named Rich Frank as its new general manager. Frank had been with Stop’n Go as a consultant and project manager for two years and was instrumental in the implementation of a number of projects, including a prototype Stop’n Go store that opened in late April. – R.J.

cultivating the greyfields

If a recent visit to one of Philadelphia's premier retail attractions is any indication, America's specialty shopping destinations are in trouble. In late June, I visited Philly's South Street, a kitschy shopping district on the outskirts of Center City known for its funky shops and coffeehouses, "colorful" characters and plenty of places to pick up

open pantrys golden egg

Open Pantry Food Marts used its coffee program as the centerpiece for its new bistro-like stores. It’s been so successful that now the company is set to open its own standalone coffee shops. Bubba has always been Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin’s bread andbutter. But if it was going to attract female customers ages

training with ipod

So you’ve tried training videos, Web-based resources and clunky paper manuals. Ever considered using an iPod as a training tool? It seems that just about every kid in America—not to mention a heck of a lot of adult music-junkies—owns an iPod, Apple’s pocket-size listening device that’s doing its best to turn the Walkman into an

gallo mondavi 7eleven

The world’s largest convenience retailer readies to ’pour it on’ with the introduction of Thousand Oaks, its own wine brand. (No word yet of a private-label cheese to go with it.) 7-Eleven Inc., the company that “invented” private-label in the conveniencestore space with its now-famous Slurpee and Big Gulp brands (among others),has taken private brands

the king of all duckies

Elvis is in the building! Elvis Presley is as American as apple pieand baseball, and if early results are any indication, a new rubber duckie castin the mold of “The King” could reap a hunk-ahunkof-burnin’ sales for conveniencestores. Elvis represents the biggest new addition to the lineup from the company thatmade rubber duckies cool again,

moe speeds to market

Running a convenience store business comes with its share of benefits.For Brian Bach, co-owner of More of Everything, the perks include a companycar…or van, to be more precise. The van features the logo and addresses of More of Everything's two locations,as well as logos of key vendors who helped Bach and business partner Cory Churchillpay

putting a finger onbiometrics

Some retailers now accept a new form of customer payment: the human body (or at least part of it). Most people would develop an eating disorder or some other form of neurosis if people continually gave them the finger. But not Colorado’s Bob Zenner. The more people flash him their “digits,” the wider his smile.

wheelindealin

Oregon retailer More of Everything caters to captive audiences in area shopping malls. It also attracts droves of race fans with exclusive and collectible items. Brian C. Bach’s passion for all things NASCAR came gift-wrapped with his DNA. His father, a photographer, freelanced for the Los Angeles Times and covered NASCAR and Indy races at

a bitter taste

’Old Salt’ remains the snack category’s strongest draw, but pre-priced items leave an unpleasant taste in the mouths of many retailers. One Arkansas-based merchant opted to take a leading manufacturer’s brands off its shelves over an inflexible pricing policy. No one is irreplaceable. That’s essentially the message Terry Taylorsent one of the packaged snack category’s

valeros got a brand new bag

Valero expects customers to munch as many as 1.5 million bags of its new Fresh For years Valero Energy Corp. has offered a proprietary line of sandwichesunder several brand names. Two years ago it took a step into the bottled watercategory with three packages of spring water under its Fresh Choices label.Its most recent proprietary

deliverance

Pizza delivery didn’t work out as expected for this small Carolina chain. Mike and Brad Woodie were probably the type of kids who weren’t afraidto fall off their bicycles. The two—president and vice president, respectively,of Woodie’s (Charlotte, NC)—looked at the neighborhood around their newestWoodie’s store in uptown Charlotte and saw loads of high-rise apartments, condosand

dealmaker

Rick Klyczek is what you'd call a NOCO "lifer." He started working for New York's NOCO Energy Corp. right out of school as an assistant manager in the company's NOCO Express retail division. He quickly moved up through the ranks to become store manager and then district manager before moving into various executive-level positions at

are you flushing profits down the toilet

Restrooms aren’t just another convenience for customers, especially as foodservice When VERC Enterprises (Duxbury, MA) first started offering restrooms, all the facilities had exterior entrances. It wasn’t the most convenient set-up, but the 20-store chain felt they would work just fine—until a customer brought something unusual to the attention of the manager of one of

clicking for bargains

Looking to rediscover a long-lost childhood toy and pick up a new roller grill at half the cost? Point your mouse to eBay.com Only five weeks elapsed from the day Raymond Hall decided to open his own restaurant to the day he had all the equipment he needed to operate his Riverside Deli in in

restroom riches

Everything in the restroom is a cost center

outfoxing the competition

Inventive car wash operators find faithful ’companions’ in pet owners wanting to pamper their pups. Most dog owners would associate the word “loyal” with their furry, four-legged friends. And retailers—specifically those with car washes—are hoping they can make the same association with all types of pet owners. While dog washes came into vogue in 2003

mopping upwithout the mop

They say the minute a robot can do a job is the minute a person is no longer required to do that job. Employees might not want to hear that unless it is to perform an unpleasant task like cleaning the restroom. iRobot (www.irobot.com) partnered with The Clorox Co. to develop the Scooba Robotic Floor

cold hard cash

Indiana’s Circle A Food Stores jolts awake its packaged beverage sales with Water is vital to sustain any life, whether it be that of a human, ananimal or a beverage category. Despite a furious wave of new item introductionsin every beverage subcategory, consumers always seem to return to their colorless,odorless and tasteless master. “Our total

coffee talk

Espresso and cappuccino machines can elevate convenience stores to the same level as gourmet coffeehouses. Espresso and cappuccino are hot in more ways than one these days. Espressois an Italian-style coffee, usually made by the cup, using high-pressure hotwater forced through finely roasted coffee to create the distinct potency andflavor. Cappuccino is espresso mixed with

dailys grind

A commitment to compliance and community powers Daily’s in its quest to be Rick Hamilton had seen just about everything by the time he decided to enter the convenience retailing business. After returning home from a tour of duty in Operation Desert Storm in the early1990s, he settled in Nashville and went to work as

the most unlikely real estate

Forgive me if this note gets too personal. About 12 years ago, my then-girlfriend (now wife) Donna and I were traveling the Garden State Parkway to pursue some R&R down the Jersey Shore. Ninety minutes into our trip, we pulled off at the Frank S. Farley travel plaza to load up on provisions and to

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