525 Killingly Street Front View

A C-Store for All Seasons

With the means to stand out, Seasons Corner Market is separating itself from its New England competitors. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In one way, convenience stores are like suspects in a police lineup. Usually, it’s distinguishing features that make them the most noticeable. Whether it’s following the hottest foodservice trends, regaling patrons with a

zarcopump

Pump It Up

Smart forecourt technology comes in various shapes and solutions and often fits any operation, depending on the retailer’s needs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Despite traditionally thin margins, fuel sales still remain the center of gravity for most convenience stores. That conception was on full display during the last few months as declining fuel prices

LED light bulbs

Earning Energy Efficiency

From LED lighting upgrades to energy control systems, implementing more energy-friendly strategies can add to a c-store’s bottom line. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Changing the light bulbs doesn’t have to occur only when one burns out. Rather, by becoming more energy efficient, stores can bring energy costs down while improving the customer experience at

gift card gifts aimed at mums, dads, children, teenagers etc!

Cashing in With Digital

Digital gift cards provide an opportunity for convenience stores to improve customer service, appeal to a younger demographic and add to in-store sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor With more emphasis on speed and convenience, customers increasingly enjoy being able to pay on the go, with a swipe of their phones. According to a report

CCTV operating with money in background

Combating Onsite Crime

Technology and training are helping make stores less vulnerable to lawbreakers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Because of the nature of how convenience retailers must conduct business, stores are prime targets for theft. However, with effective employee training combined with better technologies on the market, such as smart safes and advanced video systems, retailers are

colored lighters

Accessorizing Tobacco Sales

With tobacco sales picking up, customers are also relying on c-stores for tobacco accessories. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor At an average price of less $2 per unit, tobacco accessories, such as lighters, rolling papers, cigar cutters and pipe accessories, may seem like a low-demand category for convenience stores. However, according to Information Resources

Stack of potato chips isolated on white background

Salty Snacks Stimulate

Salty snacks are getting suggestive, with sweet and spicy variations abounding. With the Sweets & Snacks Expo scheduled this month in Chicago, the category is generating as much interest as it ever has. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Seeds are taking over the snack aisles at some convenience stores across the country. Cubby’s Convenience Stores,

Gum-Mints

Breath of Fresh Air

Gum and mints continue to battle for c-store share, but innovation promises to keep variety on the shelves. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor After months of postponements since Hershey first announced it was developing a new mint, the candymaker recently released Ice Breakers Cool Blast Chews—priced at approximately $2 for a 0.8-ounce slide pack

Pile of colorful chocolate coated candy

Consumers Sweet On Chocolate

Despite last year’s price increases, Americans are still treating themselves to the little luxury that is chocolate. Retailers report how they control this ever-growing category and keep their focus on consumers’ sweet spot. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It’s hard to think of anything that 85% of Americans would agree on. One consensus, however, is

food

Delivering Freshness

Flavorful and healthy are what American consumers are craving, and expect to get it whether it’s made-to-order or grab-and-go. Some retailers explain how they use fresh and—increasingly—ethnic products to satisfy customers’ expectations. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In a recent survey by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), almost two in three Americans (64%)

Sandwich

Building a Robust Sandwich Program

When it comes to foodservice, some retailers have found that well-equipped suppliers can give their sandwich offerings a lift. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Running a successful oil and gas retail business for nearly a century is a world away from operating convenience stores with foodservice operations. Just ask Bailey Lyden, vice president of retail

HOLT

Holt Oil Looking Ahead

A family-grown business for three generations, Holt Oil Co. is casting a wider net in North Carolina’s coastal region. By David Bennett, Senior Editor At times, businesses are so focused on future growth they forget their ties to the community. Fayetteville, N.C.-based Holt Oil Co. doesn’t forget either community or family. In positioning the company

Safe banking

Counting Down to EMV Liability

In a few months, retailers not prepared to accept EMV credit and debit cards could find themselves liable for purchases made with counterfeit cards. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor As the second quarter of 2015 begins, retailers have approximately 100 business days to prepare for the EMV fraud liability deadline of Oct. 1. Those merchants

Snus tobacco

Smokeless Growth Continues

Customer loyalty and smart retailing are helping the category prosper. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Despite the 2015 federal budget proposal calling for tax increases on other tobacco products, which could negatively impact the category, c-stores report continued growth in the smokeless tobacco category known for brand loyalty. According to the Chicago-based market research firm

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette)

The E-volution of Vapor

As e-cigarettes continue to generate headlines, c-stores are addressing a maturing product category. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor In 2006, retailers were unsure as to how American consumers would react to a non-combustible smoking product. Would it catch on or taper off as an unsuccessful experiment? Nearly a decade later, the category has more

Human Resources

Tackling Workforce Issues

By Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics and John Lofstock, Editor Staffing is one of the biggest investments in the convenience store industry. Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics collaborated to examine the most pressing human resource issues and where companies are spending their money. To help convenience store retailers better manage their workforce and understand what employees

Money

Minimum Wage and Beyond

C-stores cast a wary eye toward various minimum wage initiatives that could impact workforce costs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Because most convenience retailers strive to retain the most capable employees, it’s common that hourly wage rates at c-stores often eclipse the respective wage rate mandated by the state or states that they operate in.

Jerry Wein

Foodservice His Way

Jerry Weiner’s experience and expertise drive the foodservice category at Rutter’s. By John Lofstock, Editor Category management is the lifeblood for success at convenience stores. Effective category management can drive higher margins, identify emerging sales trends, which products are in high demand and, perhaps most importantly, let you know what products are simply not selling.

Cumberland Farms

Commitment to Coffee Excellence

More than two decades ago, Greg Lorance discovered where he wanted to work—Cumberland Farms. Today, he and the company are facing the future together. By David Bennett, Senior Editor It’s been a long time since Greg Lorance worked the third shift at convenience retail chain Cumberland Farms. As an 18-year-old clerk at the time, he

Tim Cote

Keeping Candy Relevant

Tim Cote might not be a candy traditionalist, but he knows how to make confections appealing to Plaid Pantry customers. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The traditional approach to selling candy is going the way of Root Beer Barrels and Charleston Chews. Retailers who are satisfied with a few racks of the normal candy offerings

Ellagrin

Winning at Word of Mouth

Keeping customers engaged on social media can drive WOM and increase traffic at the store. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Social media is crucial for staying top of mind for customers and driving word-of-mouth (WOM) advertising for your chain, which many customers today trust more than traditional marketing. Cindy Morrison, social media strategist with social

OpenPantry

Reinventing Open Pantry

Longtime employees assume control of the daily operations of Open Pantry stores, while CEO Buhler provides financial backing. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor After 17 years as president and CEO of Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin Inc., Robert Buhler at the beginning of the year turned the corporate reins over to his longtime, right-hand

Parfait

Breakfast Carry Over

Cereal sales are suffering as consumers look for more portable breakfast options like egg sandwiches and Greek yogurt. With the right mix of products and value, convenience stores are well positioned to capture a greater share of the breakfast business. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In a recent survey, NPD Group researchers found that American

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Equipping Your Kitchen

A growing number of manufacturers are making foodservice equipment sized to fit smaller footprints required by convenience stores. Moreover, retailers are using these machines to make the most of their limited foodservice space. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Kyle Lore, corporate chef for North Salt Lake, Utah-based Maverik Convenience Stores, is not an impulsive person,

SONY DSC

Weathering Change

Automotive and marketing advances are challenging c-store car washes to keep pace. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor The calendar officially states spring has sprung, and residents in the mountains, across the prairies, all the way to the New England coast welcome the reprieve from winter’s harsh grip. Not only did the bitter cold try

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