hot stuff for 2005

Next month rings in a new year, bringing with it plenty of never-before-seen product innovations. The low-carb fad that swept the U.S. market in 2004 sparked the launches of more than 3,100 new food and beverage items through late November. But the trend has begun to wind down, leaving the door open to new developments

human resources

Gain a tax break There are thousands of dollars in tax credits available to small-to medium-sized businesses for hiring people that are more difficult to employ or for locating businesses in areas where the government wants to revitalize economic growth. Only one in 800 businesses actually claims the credits they are due, leaving $4.2 billion

productsservices

Charge and protect Seven million people became victims of identity theft in 2003—an 80% increase versus the prior year, according to the research firm Gartner Group. Further research shows that 55% of Americans plan to use the Internet to buy "stuff." Next Estate Communications (www.nextestate.com) provides prepaid debit card programs through i-Gen® Free & Clear™,

advertisings final frontier

Forget TV. Radio shmadio. Billboards? Puh-lease. Why not advertise where you know consumers have their eyes and ears trained: their cell phones. Imagine having the power to send advertising messages directly to devices in the palms and pants pockets of your best customers. Well, now you do. Services from marketing vendors like Textalert.com (www.textalert.com) enable

wrist watchers

7-Eleven adds to trend of selling wristbands to support worthy causes. Following the enormous success of the “LIVESTRONG” bracelet from cancer survivor and champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong, 7-Eleven Inc. (Dallas, TX) has launched its own wristband for another noble cause—supporting U.S. troops. 7-Eleven is helping customers support American troops and the United Service Organizations (USO)

cashing in on credit

Rising credit card fees got you down? Some retailers have convinced many credit customers to trade down to cash. Customers using cash or a CITGO Cash Card (above) at Larry Neville’s CITGO station in Florida receive a discount on gas purchases. Some credit-card customers aren’t too pleased, but Neville says the program has been worthwhile

building the a team

To hire and retain co-workers that are a cut above, KWIK TRIP offers benefits that are a world apart. by Jay Gordon, Editorial Director Every new Kwik Trip store built since 1991 is owned by Convenience Store Investments—and CSI is owned by all full-time Kwik Trip co-workers with five or more years of service. CSI

building a community

Assisting people in need customers and co-workers has become a fundamental part of KWIK TRIP’S culture. by Bill Donahue, Editor For many Kwik Trip co-workers, it’s never too cold to go swimming if it’s for a good cause. Kwik Trip is very active in its support of Special Olympics of Wisconsin. The company was instrumental

dynasty builders

I distinctly remember the conversation I had with Don Zietlow the day I called to confirm Kwik Trip's selection as the 2004 Convenience Store Decisions Chain of the Year: "You will have a good time doing this story," he promised, "because you will see things here that are not being done in any other convenience

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