How To Keep a Robust Grill

No matter what other foodservice products you offer, the roller grill is the first thing customers encounter. A clean, filled grill makes a clear statement about your commitment to foodservice. So does one that isn’t so well maintained. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Few retailers are ambivalent about roller grills. They either really love them


How Legislation and Taxes Are Affecting Cigars

C-store operators looking to grow their cigar business need to keep one eye on their customers and another on legislators looking to raise OTP taxes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Several states continue to consider excise taxes for cigars and other tobacco products (OTP), while others look at raising the smoking age and enacting outright

How To Crack Down on C-Store Theft

From employee training to video monitoring and community engagement, Mac’s fights crime from all angles. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Mac’s Convenience Stores Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based division of Alimentation Couche-Tard, is taking a multi-faceted approach to preventing theft. Proven tools include a growing Crime Busters Program, best practices in preventing internal shrink and graffiti

How to Pick a Loyalty Program

Whether the scope of a prospective loyalty package is small, medium or extra-large, ensure it includes everything to meet your needs. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Retail loyalty programs come in a variety of sizes, but there is only one goal: to keep customers returning to the store and buying more products. Whether you prefer

Seasonal Swings Sway Sales

Summer temps aren’t the only weather occurrences affecting car wash sales this year. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor What a difference a few thousand miles makes. While Californians face strict water restrictions, residents throughout the South and Midwest are cleaning up after record-breaking spring and summer flooding. Ironically, these divergent weather conditions are stirring

Redefining Alltown Market

You wouldn’t expect a Fortune 500 company to demonstrate the same desire for building strong retail customer relations as perhaps, a family-owned c-store chain. But with its revamped Alltown Market concept, Global Partners LP is doing just that. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When Waltham, Mass.-based Global Partners LP launched its newly redesigned Alltown Market

NAG Awards Five Student Scholarships

Selected students receive $1,000 each toward their college education. By CSD Staff The National Advisory Group (NAG) has announced the five winners of the 2015 John MacDougall/NAG Memorial Scholarship. The winners are Emily Harris, Louisville, Ky., Thorntons; Ashley Hernandez, Key West, Fla., Dion Quik Marts; Rachel Hudson, Amarillo, Texas, Toot N’ Totum; Maxwell Klyczek, Hollywood,

High Protein, High Profit

Can meat snacks continue to serve up healthy sales for c-stores? By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor “High in protein.” “Natural ingredients.” “Low sugar.” Analysts insist these are some of the top buzz descriptors that today’s consumers look for when contemplating snacking options. Even popular workout programs like P90X push high-protein meal plans and trending

Are Energy Drinks Still Delivering Oomph?

Demand for energy drinks continues to push sales upward, making the category a star performer. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Energy drink sales are up, even as larger, more established, mass-market categories like carbonated soft drinks and fruit beverages have dipped. For convenience store operators, the message couldn’t be clearer. “Energy drinks experienced solid volume

How To Entice Customers With Frozen Drinks

Bundling and smart marketing help keep frozen dispensed beverage sales hot as summer arrives.  By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Sales of frozen dispensed beverages in convenience stores show no sign of slowing down, with flavor extensions and in-store marketing resonating with consumers of all ages. “The frozen dispensed category at convenience stores continues to soar

What’s in a Brand?

Convenience retailers come and go; that’s the reality of the business. However, some brands seem destined to endure. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Arguably, it’s taken the convenience store industry two decades to catch up to the illustrious White Hen Pantry chain that sprang from Chicagoland. At its peak, White Hen was comprised of 300

Judging the New and Unique

 Drawing Duchess Shoppe customers in Ohio, CSD recently rolled out a products competition that evaluated the latest in snacks, sweets and drink offerings. By David Bennett, Senior Editor hielded from the mid-Ohio sun by a spacious tent erected in the parking lot, the curious and the eager, the young and the old weighed what goodies

How to Win With Fresh Food

Convenience stores continue to meet consumers’ growing penchant for healthy food options. By Michele Wojciechowski, Contributing Editor If you think many convenience stores are offering more fresh and healthy food choices for consumers, you’re right. It’s possible to provide these kinds of food options while still appealing to customers who may not be quite as

Competitive Data Analysis

The key to better business is in the numbers. How do yours stack up? By Traci Dawn Carneal, Contributing Editor Anymore, data analysis in the convenience store industry is as accepted as loss prevention tools and loyalty programs. Like other operational strategies, it’s how a c-store uses such technology that often forecasts how much benefit

ATMs: Dollars and Sense

Even as payment technologies advance, ATMs are here to stay and are expected to evolve even more in terms of customer services. To cash in, convenience retailers must decide which management model works best for them. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor As credit card companies seek stronger security by adding chips to cards, and companies

Soup Up Your Sales

As a snack, appetizer, side or main meal, soup sells steadily throughout the day and—surprisingly enough—in the morning. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It may not be as enticing as a piled-high sandwich or as full of pizzazz as a generously topped pizza but, in its own quiet way, soup is a fresh foodservice workhorse.

Deli Can Equal Destination

Whether grab-and-go, made-to-order or both, deli had better translate to delicious to persuade consumers to make your c-store a foodservice destination. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Consumers might not expect to find a “gourmet” deli inside a convenience store, but that’s just what they get at Bolla Market locations around New York City and Long

Salty Snacks Still Tops

Even as better-for-you products gain popularity, chips and salty snacks remain top-sellers. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Between media reports and industry data, it’s clear that today’s consumers want better-for-you (BFY) choices when it comes to snacking. More and more, Americans are looking to replace sugar and fat with protein and all-natural ingredients. On

How To Achieve The Right Candy Mix

Innovation is a key for enticing Millennials and Gen Z customers, but staple products continue to drive the candy category. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Even as ‘healthy’ becomes a growing call, candy customers continue to want indulgent options. Convenience store retailers are succeeding in driving candy sales with a balance of tried-and-true products and

Don’t Label E-Cigarettes Just Yet

Not unlike killers of spiders, anti-smoke groups and some lawmakers are moving quickly to stomp out e-cigarettes without really knowing what effect the act will have. By Jim Calvin, President, New York Association of Convenience Stores Some people have responded to the emergence of e-cigarettes the way they might react to seeing a spider on

Tobacco’s Future Muddy for Merchants

In more ways than one, tobacco’s pie is shrinking. The net result for convenience stores could cut either way. By Carl V. Phillips, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association The future is bright for tobacco consumers. Sure there’ll be some bumps along the way as tobacco control dead-enders fight their desperate

2015 Legislative and FDA Regulatory Update

Of all the different tobacco legislative bills introduced this year, two themes have emerged: increased tobacco taxation and greater scrutiny of electronic cigarettes. Both issues will shape the tobacco offering at convenience stores for years to come. Tom Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) sat down with Convenience Store Decisions

Tobacco Category Update

Industry experts sketch out why the tobacco category is as robust as ever. By Mary Szarmach, NATO President The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) Show held in Las Vegas this past April was an ideal place for retailers to learn about market trends on all tobacco product categories. I had the opportunity to personally

Implementing ADA Compliance Changes

Having the tools to take charge of ADA compliance before a lawsuit mandates your chain to do so, gives retailers more control over how the process is handled. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience Store Decisions recently sat down with Brad Gaskins, managing principal of the McIntosh Group. Gaskins is well versed in the Americans

Exploring Tobacco’s Future

As cigarette sales drag, OTP segments are filling the gap. For real momentum, however, e-cigs are breaking away from the pack. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Except for automobiles, processed food and banking perhaps, few U.S. industries have encountered the vast market influences that tobacco has. In the past century, the tobacco industry has been