Chocolate Attracts Snackers

While overall chocolate volume saw a slight dip in 2016, convenience stores helped buoy category chocolate sales. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Despite studies that show the health benefits of chocolate, many consumers have moved away from snacks perceived as unhealthy and toward more health conscious eating. Healthy snacks have become the norm in stores

Cigar Market Remains Competitive

Despite a full-court press from regulators, cigar sales are still on the rebound. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor When the original Tobacco Control Act was signed into law on June 22, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given “authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products.” The government was

E-Tobacco: What’s Next?

C-stores remain cautious with regards to what direction the e-cigarette and vaping industry is headed this year. By Anne Baye Ericksen Between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deeming regulations finally released last year and a bevy of new state taxes and regulations restricting who can sell or purchase tobacco and other-tobacco products, 2016

Pairing Menus and Automation

Technology for menu boards and kiosks is quickly revamping how foodservice is being delivered in the convenience channel. By Lisa White, Contributing Editor Utilizing traditional back-lit LED frames for menu boards, Pride Stores, a St. Charles, Ill.-based retailer with 12 stores, wanted to step its foodservice program up a notch. The opportunity arose when the

S. Abraham & Sons Celebrates 90 Years

Wholesaler’s 31st annual Vendor Exhibit & Trade Show to take place Feb 23-24 in Grand Rapids, Mich. In 1927, Sleyman Abraham founded S. Abraham & Sons beginning a 90-year journey of supplying convenience stores across the Midwest. Along with his sons, Abe, Wade and Jim, Sleyman was an entrepreneur who worked tirelessly to ensure a

Shuffling the Deck: What the Trump Administration Means for C-Stores

C-store operators are betting that a Trump administration will usher in a more business-friendly environment. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In the world of New York real estate, Donald Trump earned a reputation as a self-publicist and an assertive schemer. Now, as the soon-to-be leader of the free world, President-elect Trump is still viewed by

EMV Deadline for Pumps Extended Until 2020

Issues with regulatory-compliant EMV hardware and software to enable most upgrades by 2017 prompted shifting the compliancy deadline. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Citing technological and regulatory challenges, Visa, MasterCard and American Express recently announced that the U.S. deadline for installing EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip-card readers at automated fuel pumps has been extended

Meat Snacks Gain Weight

Convenience store customers crave variety, which is a big draw in today’s meat snacks category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor From a wide variety of flavor offerings, including specialty meats, to various textures and forms, the meat snacks category succeeds in meeting consumers’ desires. The category is well positioned at what some refer to as

Understanding the Hispanic Market

Growing populations warrant c-stores’ investment in Hispanic/Latino communities. By James Johnson, Jr., Terry Johnson and Allan Parnell Hispanics/Latinos continue to reshape our nation’s demography and consumer markets. They are the nation’s youngest consumer group, with a median age of 28 and tend to be brand-loyal consumers, especially when culturally-sensitive marketing and advertising are used to

Pipeline Problems Reveal Regulatory Flaw

Two separate occurrences that interrupted operations of the Colonial Pipeline also forced states to declare emergencies, which in turn spurred a wide-spread run on fuel. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Two recent, high-profile incidents that struck the Colonial Pipeline in Shelby County, Ala. were exacerbated by a federal transportation policy that inadvertently caused a run

Giving Back Year Round

There’s no doubt that the convenience industry is generous when it comes to providing for charitable causes. However, two retailers—Kum & Go and QuickChek—are examples of companies that go out of their way to make a difference. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Almost all convenience stores are engaged in charitable activities during the holidays. Some

Alternative Energy Drinks

Energy drink producers are banking on convenience store customers’ growing interest in better-for-you beverage products to energize sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Against a towering LED backdrop at The NACS Show this past October in Atlanta, singer CeeLo Green had showed up to greet onlookers at the +RED Elixir exhibit. In an opposite corner,

Enhancing Foodservice Options

Food-forward strategies are helping c-stores drive strong lunch and dinner sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Warrior Fuel Convenience Stores’ signature burritos are the talk of Bernalillo, N.M, where the company operates two stores. That word-of-mouth plus the aromas of fresh cooking wafting through the stores sell the house-made burritos more effectively than any advertising

Tying Up the 2016 Tax Season?

Business tax rules are never simple, but there are things to know that may make the process less painful and costly. By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor Convenience store retailers should be turning to their advisors for strategies on how to reduce their convenience operation’s—and their own—tax bill. Fortunately, every c-store retailer has at their disposal

Do Meat Bars Match Up?

Meat bars forge a unique position in the meat snacks category. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Every once in a while, a new type of product enters the marketplace that doesn’t neatly fit into an existing category. Meat bars is one of the latest examples of this phenomenon. Although they contain many of the

QuickChek Celebrated as 2016 Chain of the Year

The New Jersey c-store chain is helping to redefine convenience by embracing cutting-edge retail technology and staying true to its foodservice roots. By John Lofstock, Editor Total Customer Dedication. It’s a phrase retailers like to use, but extremely difficult to execute. Not for QuickChek. For Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based QuickChek, Total Customer Dedication is the company

Cigars Press On

More regulatory policies continue to exert a downward pressure on the resilient category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As fall turns into winter, convenience store operators continue to track the trends—both commercial and legislative—affecting the cigar category. From concerns over deeming regulations to consumers’ ongoing desire for smaller, cheaper cigarillos, new flavors and limited-time promotional

Beer Changes With the Times

While demand for beer is on the rise, changing demographics and state laws are helping shape the adult beverage segment even more. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor In terms of volume sales, the largest beer category continues to be mid-priced standard lager, which accounted for a 43% share of total U.S. beer volume sales last

Back Office & Forecourt Evolution

From state-of-the-art back-office software programs to innovative forecourt marketing and ordering systems, the convenience channel’s bottom line is benefiting from the latest technology. By Lisa White, Contributing Editor It would be difficult to dispute the many groundbreaking developments in forecourt marketing and back-office technology. From beacon programs to ordering apps and scanning software that provides

Beverage Lines Blur

Innovation abounds in packaged beverages as crossover between segments can cause confusion in the cold vault. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor Consumers continue to demand healthier beverages as they move away from sugary drinks, but innovation continues across the beverage spectrum including among more indulgent flavors and appeals. As innovation grows, the lines

Just How They Roll

A profitable roller grill program combines the hunger to succeed with a taste for offering customers more for their money. By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Editor At Shout & Sack, a long-standing convenience retailer on Route 66 in Vinita, Okla., Owner Chris Carter swears by his roller grill. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a

St. Romain Is Making its Mark

There’s no question that the Louisiana company is fulfilling its destiny. As the operator of Y-Not Stop convenience stores continues to put customer and community first, its future seems assured. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Louisiana is largely the creation of the Mississippi River. As a result, the southern state has varied geography and habitats—tidal

Reducing the Risk of Theft

Theft comes in many forms and if left unchecked, can become a constant issue. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor “Theft is one of the oldest crimes in the world,” said Chris McGoey, president of McGoey Security Consulting and an internationally-known security expert. “There has always been shoplifting and theft, and convenience stores are hit particularly

Hispanic Consumers Want More

The reasons why the U.S. Hispanic community increasingly matters to c-stores’ marketing plans are becoming more varied, and important. By Sylvia Klinger and Tania Melendez, Contributing Editors In a country that has been shaped by the cultures of many different lands, it should come as no surprise that the many changes occurring in convenience stores

Top 10 Emerging States for C-Stores

CSD examines certain U.S. states that have the economic might to shoulder future industry growth.  By David Bennett, Senior Editor San Antonio-based CST Brands Inc., a Texas-born company, is known as an industry leader not only because of its strong Corner Store brand, but the bolt-on acquisitions it achieved in the last few years. For