How to Appeal to Snackers

From candy and chips to popcorn and jerky, U.S. snacking isn’t defined by one consumer trend. Still, convenience stores are positioned to capture the bulk of them. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor There are few things closer to Americans’ hearts than snacking—in all its textures and flavors. So, it’s not surprising that the snack category


How to Add Space for E-Cigarettes

After years of stellar growth, the vapor products category responds to changing marketplace dynamics. With one eye on the market, convenience retailers constantly weigh how much shelf space to allot e-cigarettes. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor When industry analysts announce in July that a product category is on track for a growth rate of

How to Increase Cigarette Sales

Cigarettes remain a staple of c-store business despite the constant scrutiny the category attracts. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Despite increasing regulations and an incremental erosion of its once wide consumer base, cigarettes in the past year have shown a remarkable ability for bouncing back. Cigarette sales at convenience stores for the 52 weeks ending

How to Bake Up New Sales

As customers demand fresh and healthy fare, c-store operators share how they’re adapting to customer preferences. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor More convenience store operators are making bakery a priority, either through in-store programs or partnering with national brands and local bakeries that convert their locations into destination stops. “We have recently added a site

How to Compete in the Health and Beauty Categories

Health and beauty aids can rouse additional in-store sales with the right presentation. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Though retail channels continue to blur, one category where convenience stores still trail their mass, drug and dollar store counterparts is health and beauty aids (HBA). One advantage that does work in c-stores’ favor is, of course,

How to Choose Quality Vendors

When reviewing vendors to meet your retail needs, it’s not always about saving a buck, but ensuring quality service. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Every few years, convenience retailers often find themselves sitting at the negotiating table, talking with grocery wholesalers or direct store delivery (DSD) vendors in an effort to work out an acceptable

How to Entice with Ethnic Food

Savvy c-store retailers are tempting the palates of today’s consumers and growing profits with bold and spicy ethnic food options. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When you promote yourself as “Adventure’s First Stop,” you had better be able to back that up with some spicy experiences. That’s what Maverik Convenience Stores does with its proprietary

How to Go Green and Save

Increasing the eco-friendliness of your car wash can help reduce costs while boosting customer traffic. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Enacting environmentally-friendly policies can be good business. From recycling to energy efficiency, there are many options for convenience stores to reduce costs while aiding the environment. But there is one often overlooked area that can

Recognizing NAG Leadership

Toot’n Totum’s David Johnson receives the National Advisory Group’s inaugural Lifetime Award for Convenience Retailing. By John Lofstock, Editor The National Advisory Group (NAG), a convenience store trade association focused on small, mid-sized and family-owned businesses, has a long history dedicated to helping convenience store owners improve their businesses through education and networking. Through the

How 7-Eleven is Taking Convenience to the Next Level

Forget the drive-through, 7-Eleven customers can now get merchandise delivered to their doorstep. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience store behemoth 7-Eleven recently announced a strategic initiative to make its c-store offerings even more convenient to customers. In July, 7-Eleven announced it had partnered with technology and logistics company Postmates to offer on-demand delivery in

How to Ensure Successful Cash Management

More convenience stores are combining proven practices with the latest technology to keep a handle on their money. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Back in the 1970s, armed robbery was rampant in convenience stores. 7-Eleven Inc., one of the first retailers to stay open 24 hours per day, hired consultants to investigate ways to thwart

How to Control Operating Costs

The two largest expenses a convenience retailer often faces are labor and inventory, but costs can creep up anywhere. Experienced c-stores, however, have learned how to combat such costs. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor It is a truism in business that you cannot save your way to prosperity. Somebody probably also said once that containing

How to Build a Strong Service Team

Does your team really make service a priority? There are things you can do to develop a strong service team—and happier customers. By CSD Staff Developing a customer service team that has the skills to provide quality assistance to your customers can be the most straightforward plan if taken step by step. What can you

CSD Announces Product Winners

This summer we asked c-store customers in Ohio to taste-test the latest in snacks, sweets and beverages and let us know which ones they liked best. Now the votes have been tallied and we unveil the winners. By CSD Staff The votes are in and the winners of our First Annual Consumer Choice Contest have

How to Foster a Stronger Workforce

As convenience retailers compete with other channels to attract qualified workers, it may be time for c-stores to rethink their strategies. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The old adage that one bad apple spoils the bunch can apply to numerous things—from pies to politicians. Inside c-stores, a bad apple can impair customer service, productivity and

How to Prepare for NACS

Arriving at the NACS Show ready to mingle and network will increase your chances of coming away with new relationships and future opportunities. By Bill Scott, founder of StoreReport LLC & Scott Systems Inc. Before you pack up your golf clubs and wing it to Las Vegas to attend the 2015 NACS Show, it would

How to Figure Acquisition Financing

If a convenience store operation is primed to commit to a merger or acquisition, the potential benefits can be huge. However, missteps made when raising the capital can also be huge. By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor Obviously, not every company is in a position to buy, but for many small convenience store operators and chains,

How to Market to the Hispanic Consumer

Before convenience stores can effectively attract more Hispanic customers, they have to strive for cultural competence. This only happens through due diligence and time. By Sylvia Meléndez Klinger and Kate Brogan, Hispanic Food Communications Inc. There are more than 55 million Hispanic consumers in the U.S. today, and the Hispanic population is expected to double

How to Transition to Prepaid Cards

As it relates to prepaid platforms and the American consumer, the user profile has gone mass market. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Sharon Neal is the dream customer for any retailer selling prepaid cards. As manager of an educational foundation, Neal spent $10,000 on AMEX prepaid cards in 2014. Neal purchased numerous $25 cards and

How to Decipher Technology Lies

Our smartphones, tablets and other devices are technological marvels, but they’ve diverted our attention away from what people can accomplish in conversations. By CSD Staff Advertisements promise that the latest smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets will put blazing speed at our fingertips, enable us to multitask like an octopus and ensure that we never miss

How to Promote Sales with Packaging

The right packaging should do more than put a pretty face on your “fresh-to-go” foods. It should also maintain product freshness and offer customers consumption convenience. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor As more convenience stores venture into the realm of foodservice, they are quickly learning that packaging has to be more than just an afterthought.

Football Lessons I’ve Learned

With the football season upon us again, there are some life lessons to be gained from those who coach on the gridiron. By Jim Callahan So what does football have to do with addressing employee and management performance levels at convenience stores and truck stops? More than you might imagine. First though, I was struck

How True Believers Are Keeping the Flame Alive

In a positive corporate culture, you need different leaders and “True Believers.” By Fran Duskiewicz I suppose the reason that I have been mulling over what makes for a great corporate culture is that I will be moderating a panel on that topic at the National Advisors Group (NAG) Conference in Santa Fe, N.M. in

How to Keep Up With Evolving Payment Technology

As mobile payment grows, c-store retailers try different paths to meet customer demands. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Cash may still be king, but another portable payment system has its eyes on the throne: Mobile. As a result, convenience stores operators are keeping their eyes on the progress of this inevitable transition, looking for the

How to Spruce Up Sandwich Offerings

Ham and cheese on white bread used to be the go-to sandwich for grab and go. But now many consumers are expecting options that are unique, upscale and even unusual. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It’s not often that customers express their approval when a retailer raises prices. But that’s exactly what happened when Englefield