Ethanol Fuels Show Promise

Fuel sales have been the backbone of gas station operations since rumble seats were considered extreme in the 1930s. Today, that fact still remains as 80.1% of convenience stores (123,807) sell motor fuels, according to the “2017 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count Study.” Of course, in some 90 years of fuel trends, one of the

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Energy Shots Still Compete

Energy shots satisfy the need that drives many customers to convenience stores in the first place: something fast and convenient to help them rocket through their busy day. However, the segment has been overshadowed for the last few years by a dynamic energy drink category. Dollar sales of energy shots, including 5-hour Energy, Stacker 2,

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Adding Juice & Tea To the Mix

Both the juice and tea segments have experienced expansion when it comes to flavor innovations as well as more healthful ingredient profiles. Millennials and younger consumers tend to seek out a variety of ready-to-drink tea and juice flavors, according to Los Angeles-based market research firm IBISWorld. Also, tropical flavors like mango and pineapple have been

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HBA Items Fill Niche

Because of space constraints and better-equipped competitors, the health and beauty aids (HBA) category in 2017 will fill a role that it has for years in convenience stores: an essential, but unspectacular part of the in-store mix. From pain relief, cough/cold/allergy, skin medications, vitamins and personal care to smoking cessation, supplements and cosmetics, HBA is

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Specialty Coffees Are Hot

Like other convenience retailers, Lassus Handy Dandy Food Stores, a subsidiary of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lassus Brothers Oil, is boosting its hot dispensed sales with specialty offerings. Following U.S. consumers’ inclination for more specialty coffees and teas, c-stores are banking on this trend continuing. Coffee sales continued to grow in 2016. Overall servings of both

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Roller Grill Reigns Supreme

No matter how many different food items are on a convenience store menu, there’s still room—and a fan base—for roller grill favorites. “The traditional hot dog will always have its place; it will never go away,” said Ted Roccagli, director of partnerships and preferred vendor programs for Dallas-based Empire Petroleum Partners. “But now, customers expect

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Fresh Ideas Sell Sandwiches

Grab and go? Made to order? Kristi Patel sees it all as assistant director for retail operations for Iowa State University, which has five convenience stores on its campus. All of the stores offer grab-and-go sandwiches and three also have delis that offer the made-to-order (MTO) option. Some locations also offer the option of toasting

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Hispanic Food Offers Opportunity

As the U.S. Hispanic and Latino populations continue to grow, the demand for Hispanic items in c-stores is expected to increase as well. The Hispanic population in the U.S. has grown 43% in the past decade, reported IBISWorld, a Los Angeles market research firm. There has never been a larger or more influential minority than

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Chicken Options Span Dayparts

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans are expected to eat close to 92 pounds per capita of the nation’s favorite fowl, making it the most popular center-of-the-plate choice. The National Chicken Council (NCC) noted that chicken consumption per capita has increased nearly every year since the mid-1960s, while red meat consumption has declined.

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Cumberland Farm’s Flint Influences Industry

Work with government regulators, NATO and legislative committees are just some examples of Anne Flint’s dedication to helping the tobacco category succeed. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor In February, Anne Flint became the director of category management —tobacco for Cumberland Farms after 16 years managing the tobacco category for the Westborough, Mass.-based chain

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Gehrts Reinvents Tobacco at Kum & Go

Years of experience on the manufacturer side has provided Jodi Gehrts a unique perspective on tobacco retail. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor This April marks Jodi Gehrts 24th year in the tobacco industry, first on the tobacco manufacturing side, followed by nearly 10 years overseeing the tobacco category for Kum & Go. For

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Vespole Directs QC’s Foodservice Future

After climbing the ranks from a part-time employee to director of food service, Jennifer Vespole knows what it takes to make a food program a success. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor In December 2016, Jennifer Vespole, director of food service, celebrated her 29th anniversary with Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based QuickChek (QC), which operates 148

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Turner Making Waves at RaceTrac

Because of his body of work at RaceTrac, CSD recognizes Steven Turner as a Front-runner in Foodservice for 2017. By David Bennett, Senior Editor During his tenure at McDonald’s, Steven Turner saw waves of food trends shake the industry. Some rolled in like tsunamis and some quickly sunk below the surface. “I was at McDonald’s

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Reheating Coffee Sales

With so many options available, consumers expect to get their perfect cup of coffee all day, every day. Retailers share tips on how they turned their store coffee bars into daily destinations for brew enthusiasts. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Many consumers associate convenience stores with coffee, and if the coffee program is done right

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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