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The Essence of Leadership

Developing a service-oriented retail strategy can create highly successful teams for c-store owners. A CSD Staff Report We all know the types of people who make great leaders, right? They’re the talented ‘wunderkinds’ who are poised to change the industry. Or, are they the industry veterans who have done it all and seen it all?

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Recruit the Best (& Skip the Rest)

If you make the effort to find and recruit the best hourly employees, you will add value to your organization now and in the future because you’re recruiting the kind of people who can give you a competitive edge. By Mel Kleiman, Contributing Editor When it comes to recruiting hourly employees, the sixth annual Convenience

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Mitigating Risk to Protect Your Business

More and more companies are investing in cybersecurity insurance, which is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, business interruption and network damage. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor The dangers of Internet hacking and cyber thefts continue to make the headlines. This fall, Home Depot discovered a data

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Beautifying Sales

Knowing what women want—and expect—can help c-stores understand how to grow the HBC category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As convenience stores look to attract more female customers, industry figures indicate that the health and beauty care (HBC) category offers retailers an opportunity they might not have considered before. While no one is claiming that

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Rally Those Referrers on Social Media

If your business is providing value to its customers, you already have loyal fans. Annie Tsai explains how to turn them into active referrers who spread the word about what you have to offer—and help you grow your business. A CSD Staff Report Picture this: After a long day’s work, you sink onto the couch

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How Can Employees Show Customers They Care?

It doesn’t take a big-business budget to make customers feel special. All you need is a little creativity and a personal touch. A CSD Staff Report Caring about customers is one of the best ways to differentiate your business and gain long-term consumer loyalty. But how can employers incorporate such a “soft” skill into their operation?

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Are Employees Sabotaging Your Company?

Consultants Julie Miller and Brian Bedford share 10 employee types  whose attitudes and actions are sabotaging your company’s accountability,  costing you money, and sending customers running for the hills. A CSD Staff Report We all know what it’s like to be promised, “I’ll get back to you on that question,” only to never hear another

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Banking on Cigarettes

Declining sales, consolidation and consumer alternatives pose challenges for retailers who rely on cigarette sales to maintain margins. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Cigarettes Are still a vital c-store category despite recent declining sales. Restrictive regulations and new competition in the form of both dollar stores and alternative products like e-cigarettes and vapor tanks are

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Packaging Precision

When mulling food packaging options, label appeal and on-the-go performance are important considerations. By David Bennett, Senior Editor At a time when consumers increasingly perceive private label, food retail brands as competitive with big-name brands in terms of cost and quality, innovative packaging solutions can add value to a convenience store’s take out food program.

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Hola to Ethnic Breakfasts

Handheld, ethnic breakfast offerings, such as tacos, tortillas, empanadas and kolaches, are hot stuff everywhere from quick-service restaurants to convenience stores around the country. Retailers explain how they are spicing up their breakfast sales with these ethnic edibles. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Mexican in the morning is now mainstream, said Aaron Noveshen, founder and

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Menu Makeover

New flavors and small portion snacks can add excitement to an otherwise traditional foodservice menu. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience store retailers pursuing proprietary foodservice have the challenge of keeping menus exciting and innovative, while still offering tried-and-true favorites that keep regulars coming back for more. Snacks and appetizers are one menu section where

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Tea for Two…and More

The demand for tea grows as more consumers seek out healthy beverages. C-store chains like QuikTrip are responding by offering up to 10 flavors of fresh-brewed teas. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Texas technology professional Sheryl Thompson spent about a decade drinking four 12-ounce cans of brand-name soda every day. When Thompson wanted to lose

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Top Shelf Retailing

Shelf tags are becoming an increasingly important component of reducing out-of-stocks and providing a better customer service experience. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Before heading to his neighborhood gym, Terrance Stewart of Fort Worth, Texas, stopped at a local convenience store to pick up an energy drink. He selected his favorite from the cooler and

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Making Prepaid Pay

Marketing, merchandising and knowing customers’ needs are keys to expanding prepaid profitability. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Research indicates that the amount of money spent at retail on prepaid services continues to grow in the U.S. But that may not necessarily mean the category will pay off handsomely for every c-store operator. The total dollars loaded

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Is Loyalty Right For Me?

Experts debate the challenges and benefits of integrating mobile payment and loyalty at convenience stores. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Mobile payment is fast becoming a reality. More c-stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are introducing payment and/or loyalty apps, and the recent announcement of Apple Pay is being heralded as a game changer in the mobile

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Make Sure You’re Secure

With credit card data hackers becoming increasingly innovative and sophisticated in their methods, it’s more important than ever for retailers to comply with current security standards set by the PCI Security Standards Council. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Target, Supervalu, UPS, PF Chang’s and, most recently, Home Depot and even Dairy Queen—American retailers are being victimized

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Phillips 66 Continues to Drive Retail Innovation

The Houston-based energy company is piloting several test programs and rolling out new images to help its branded marketers boost sales and attract new business. By John Lofstock, Editor Phillips 66, which supplies more than 7,100 outlets under the Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco brands, continues to innovate. Through a strategic program called Experience 66,

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Retailers Meet Goal in Preventing Tobacco Sales to Minors

NATO Executive Director Thomas Briant discusses the policies that have been successful in curbing cigarette sales to minors. By John Lofstock, Editor A new report just released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates retailers continue to meet federal mandates banning tobacco sales to youths under the age of 18. Tom

John Lofstock editor-in-chief of editorial operations and executive director of NAG leads the operation boot camp session.

NAG Conference Delivers New Ideas in San Antonio

C-store leaders gather at the annual meeting of the National Advisory Group to share ideas and network with fellow colleagues. By Erin Rigik and David Bennett, Senior Editors The 2014 National Advisory Group (NAG) welcomed retailers to the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Sept. 7-10 to discuss hot-button topics and exchange industry insights. Also featured

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Living the American Dream

Nachhattar Chandi began his c-store career as a cashier. Today he owns and operates 17 convenience stores and counting. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Nachhattar Chandi’s entrepreneurial journey from his start in a small village in India to a U.S. c-store cashier, to a successful c-store franchisee and owner of Chandi Group USA is a

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A Forward Look at Convenience Retailing

As Convenience Store Decisions celebrates its 25th anniversary, retail experts weigh in on what consumers and c-store operators can expect over the next 25 years. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Steve Jobs once cautioned. “You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the

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MLPs: Sign of the Times

More convenience store chains like CST Brands are banking on master limited partnerships to improve their position in a widely-fragmented industry. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Acquisitions have always played a strategic role in the convenience store industry. Take for example CST Brands Inc., which last month entered into an agreement to acquire the convenience

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Leveraging QSRs in C-Stores

Foodservice veteran Dick Meyer shares lessons learned over more than two decades. By Dick Meyer, President, Meyer & Associates In 1993, I was blessed to begin my new consulting firm when the co-founder of Subway, Fred DeLuca, asked me to help them develop win/win development strategies with operators of c-store chains. Fred’s initial charter to

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Profiting With Poultry

C-store operators who put out a good quality chicken product might see their foodservice business fly higher. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor At the Arthur, Ill. location of Jack Flash Convenience Stores, chicken accounts for about 60% of foodservice sales, said John Herrmann, district supervisor for the 11-unit, Effingham, Ill.-based chain. The store also offers

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Fresh is Best

By emphasizing quality, variety and convenience, retailers have the opportunity to convince consumers to purchase more sandwiches rather than making them at home. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When the quick-service provider Pret A Manger first introduced prepackaged sandwiches in its stores 10 years ago, the first thing the company had to do was communicate

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