a subdued welcome

Welcome back to Las Vegas—the adopted home of this year’s NACS Show following the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Southeast. Our hearts remain with our friends, relatives and colleagues in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and we wish them a quick and full recovery. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities to visit.

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realationship

A new study reveals that customers are ready to take their relationship with your stores and employees to a new level. Are you? Kathy (not her real name) is a grandmother in her late 40s who recently movedfrom an apartment in Scottsdale, AZ, to a house in Phoenix. “So I don’t havemuch connection to my

premium pizza minimum labor

In an effort to better serve the convenience store market, Giorgio Foods Inc. (www.giorgio foods.com) has introduced a new pizza program that uses premium ingredients to provide pizzeria-quality pizza with minimal preparation required from store employees. Two styles of pizza are available: pre-baked or traditional. Depending on the style and cooking technique, fresh pizza can

fresh pressure

Casey’s and CJ’s don’t skimp when it comes to offering fresh pizza. Dedicated labor and attention to detail keep these programs profitable. Easy doesn’t necessarily mean better. That’s the view of Casey’s General Stores(Ankeny, IA) when it comes to foodservice. With more than 1,300 corporate-ownedstores and 19 franchised stores covering nine Midwest states, the company

gottahava new ad campaign

Wawa Inc. (Wawa, PA) has unveiled a new campaign “gottahava Wawa” for billboards, transit ads, radio and in-store promotions. Wawa hired Richards Group, which counts QSR chain Chick Fil-A and QuikTrip Inc. among its clients, to spearhead the campaign. The campaign started with billboard and transit advertising, then moved into radio and newspaper ads. Customers

A recruiting advantage for convenience stores

Deploy Solutions has developed a recruiting and talent management solution configured specifically for the convenience store industry called C-Store Advantage. The foundation of the program directs all applicants to a kiosk and/or Web solution when applying for an available position, which helps achieve consistency and compliance in the application process. Then, using assessments for traits

csd names 7eleven 2005 chain of the year

Nation’s largest chain honored for culture of innovation. Convenience Store Decisions has named 7-Eleven Inc. (Dallas, TX) its2005 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. The award recognizes convenienceretailingexcellence in marketing and merchandising, operating efficiency and severalother key areas, and is based in part on feedback from industry professionals. “We are especially honored to receive this

next stop for first stop handheld computing

First Stop Convenience Stores has implemented Pricebook Connect fromTiva Software LLC (www.tivasoftware.com),in conjunction with barcode scanners from Socket Communications Inc.(www.socketcom.com ) toimprove the speed and accuracy of order processing and information sharing forits chain of 30 stores throughout Ohio and Kentucky. Using the handheld system,First Stop has automated its inventory management process and simplified datacollection,

the tough questions

Completing parts of the hiring process by way of Web, phone or kiosk can sidestep store-level shortcuts. Faithfully performing every part of the hiring process every time youhire someone is just smart business. The problem, however, is that some hiringtasks are unpleasant and most are so repetitive that managers may be temptedto take risky shortcuts.

eye on the prize

While creating a safer environment for employees, Kent Oil witnessed as much as a 19% increase in sales in one of two stores testing a new surveillance system. Bill Kent has always had a simple goal: to deliver the best possiblelevel of customer service in his stores. Up till two and a half years ago,

whos afraid of the dark

If the “Monster” Blackout of 2003 taught retailers anything, it’s toprepare for the worst. During that blackout, which affected much of the EastCoast, Ohio and parts of Canada, retailers tried to go on with business as usual—oras well as they could in the dark (see Black Knights, p. 16, Sept. ’03).And as Hurricane Katrina has

the ostore

Baton Rouge’s upscale LA Rouge Mart meets at the intersection of Opulence and Convenience. In 1993’s dinosaurs-run-amok blockbuster Jurassic Park, the park’screator John Hammond often repeated the phrase, “spared no expense.” Louisianaentrepreneur Muhammed S. Khan can say the same. But unlike the film, in whichbloodthirsty dinosaurs revolted and tore the island to shreds, Khan’s investmentsin

club house

Independent marketers have the ability to buy like the big boys. Karen McGuire regards Doug Van Zee, a retail consultant for CHS Inc.,as a key person in her life. As general manager of two Cenex branded locationsin Mitchell, SD, McGuire doesn’t have time to chase down the best deals forher stores. But since she joined

removing obstacles

As senior vice president of sales and marketing for GPM Investments LLC, Brad Chivington does everything in his power to make sure his company's 160 Fas Mart and Shore Stop stores perform at a consistently high level. And when the stores show measurable improvement

a volatile mixture

With gas prices reaching obscene levels, sales of premium cigarettes could suffer in the short term. The past 10 months have been a pretty wild ride for Julie Van Alyea.Van Alyea, retail merchandise manager for Redwood Oil Co. (Santa Rosa, CA),has noticed a significant change in her most important instore category: cigarettes.While she has heard

working with a net

Meticulous vendor selection and an intense focus on proper rotation comprise some of the measures retailers take to build fortresses around their food programs. With great power comes great responsibility. So said "Uncle Ben" Parkerto his web-slinging nephew Peter in the 2002 summer smash Spider-Man. Asimilar maxim applies to convenience retailers in the food business:

Decision Makers – September, 2005

Waterway Gas & Wash Co. (Chesterfield, MO) has added Michelle Sausen as its director of merchandising. Before joining Waterway Gas &Wash, Sausen served McLane Grocery Distribution as vice president of sales for the company’s Western and Minnesota divisions. Keith Morrow, chief technology officer for 7-Eleven Inc. (Dallas,TX) and the company itself have been named among

waterworld

First-class service sets Waterway Gas & Wash apart from the crowd. Some people would consider Henry Dubinsky a visionary, a man ahead ofhis time. As far back as 1970, he realized that carwash and gasoline were naturalbedfellows. Dubinsky, chairman and chief executive officer of Waterway Gas &Wash Co., knew even then that the two profit

the new new normal

The images we see and stories we hear run the gamut, from disturbing to redeeming. America

serving the upper crust

Not many convenience stores serve Salad Nioise (Albacore tuna withbaby greens, tomatoes, haricot verts, potatoes, hard boiled eggs, anchoviesand nioise olives with a citrus vinaigrette) or Egg Florentine (classicegg salad with parmesan and spinach on a buttery croissant) as part of theirprepared foods offers. Not many convenience stores offer wine tastings and canapsat the bar

7eleven goes functional

7-Eleven Inc. (Dallas, TX) now offers in its stores Formula 7

carolina petroleum optimizes fuel ops

Carolina Petroleum Distributors (Charlotte, NC), which owns and operatesmore than 60 high-volume convenience stores under the Petro Express brand inthe Carolinas, has implemented an Internet software solution from TelaPointInc. to streamline and manage its fuel marketing and transportation schedulingprocesses. The retailer is using TelaFuel (www.telafuel.com),a browserbased application suite, to improve management of fuel replenishmentoperations serving

mapco gains some clarity

Mapco Express Inc., a subsidiary of Delek US Holdings Inc. (Franklin,TN) that operates a network of close to 400 stores in the Southeast, has adoptedClarity Systems’ ( www.claritysystems.com)Clarity Performance Management as its planning, reporting and performance-monitoringstandard. During its evaluation, Mapco reviewed several products, but one ofthe main advantages of choosing Clarity was its technical adaptability,

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

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