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

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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

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

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

refreshing sales

New products, new segments and new approaches to merchandising help Alabama’s Shop-A-Snak boost sales and maximize variety in each area of the cooler. Shop-A-Snak Food Mart Inc. made the decision two years ago to wrap its arms firmly around the beer customer. The Birmingham, AL-based chain of 37 convenience stores expanded its mix by increasing

cleaning up at the coffee bar

A new addition to 7-Eleven’s coffee bar targets the road warrior: spill-protection wipes. There’s nothing more frustrating for a “road warrior” than to stain a freshly-pressed shirt or suit coat with a splash of hot coffee. And 7-Eleven Inc. knows it. The retailer that began offering hot-to-go coffee in convenience stores almost 40 years ago

if the safety shoe fits

Outfit your employees with stylish, comfortable shoes that can prevent slip-and-falls. One of the leading causes of employee injuries is slip-and-fall accidents. All the safety procedures in the world can’t protect a company from a momentary lapse that results in an employee taking a spill on a slippery floor, but a simple footwear program can

a holy grail for tobacco

Seeking better ways to manage the cigarette category as a means of securing more gross profit dollars? A ’six-step’ analysis may help uncover hidden profits. Even though the “same firms” database of CStoreXchange (CSX) shows that 2004 cigarette dollar sales may approximate 1% more per store versus 2003, when you factor in tax and price

is krispy kremed

Key changes in the rungs of Krispy Kreme’s corporate ladder raise both optimism and doubt regarding the once-infallible brand’s long-term prospects for the c-store channel. For one-time Wall Street darling Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., the dough may yet rise again. The board of directors for the North Carolina-based donut maker, which had been making headlines

loss leaders

New technology convinces Town & Country and WESCO Inc. that slashing losses can be just as profitable as growing sales. About three years ago, WESCO Inc. (Muskegon, MI) implemented its "Churn Busters" program as a means of slashing turnover. The savings gained from the program—the company reduced its turnover by 50% in just one year—

nice n easys new face

A bold new store image helps Nice N Easy in its quest to become the ’Wegmans of convenience retailing.’ Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes has no fear of going out on a limb. In the face of dwindling cigarette sales—the chain has seen its carton sales cut in half over the past five years due

numbing the sting

Due to a zero-tolerance policy Terrible Herbst instituted about three years ago, George Philpott has had to witness the termination of an hourly employee that served the company for 18 years, as well as a store manager that worked there for seven years. He’s seen some good people leave in tears after violating the stringent

staying fresh

New technology helps retailers focus on freshness and maintain the power of their brands. It wasn’t long ago that convenience stores were stuffed with nothing but pre-packaged foods with a long shelf life. That’s not the case today, as consumers have dictated what matters most: convenient products with freshness and quality. That, after all, is

bars of gold

For these two retailers, chocolate bars had an exceptional year in 2004. Based on early results, they expect the segment’s performance to only sweeten in 2005. When the convenience store industry tries to breathe new life into a sluggish category, one of the first suggestions often made is to reduce price. But when it came

upgrading the bean

C-store retailers expect enhancements to the coffee bar new blends, cups and designs—to foster dramatic growth. Less than six months ago, the coffee presentation at Heritage’s Dairy Stores looked pretty basic. It took up 8 ft. to 10 ft. of space, featuring just a few brewers selling dark roast, decaf and a proprietary blend. Today,

cool

A new digital badge could help increase sales, improve the execution of in-store promotions and raise awareness of your brand. Seems like you just might need some ’stinkin’ badges’ after all. Picture this: It’s Super Bowl weekend and an adult customer comes to the register with a sixpack of Bud Light. He places the package

hot doggin

Hot dogs have long been a staple on convenience store roller grills, but new items help spice up sales. For as long as Jeff Beal can remember, foodservice has always set apart Johnny Quik Food Stores, Inc. (Fresno, CA). Eight years ago the 20-store chain tried its first Subway, which has yielded three more franchises

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