What’s Your 10-Year Retail Strategy?

By John Lofstock, Editor-in-Chief The world is evolving at a faster rate today than ever before. More data has been collected in the past five years than since the beginning of time. This includes data on your customers and their ever-changing needs. As the world changes, convenience stores will need to adapt. So what will the

The Modern Forecourt

More convenience retailers are investing in new forecourt amenities that are bigger, brighter and potentially more profitable. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor The convenience store forecourt has traditionally been an area with a limited number of fuel pumps and parking spaces, and perhaps a few retail items such as fireplace logs or bagged ice for

Can Gum Sales Stick?

Flavors might be capturing consumer attention, but retailers find tried-and-true mint products are driving interest in the gum and mints category. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor After several years of declining sales, gum saw renewed consumer interest and an uptick in sales in 2015. But analysts continue to predict that gum could face a rough

Weighing the Cost of Foodservice

Retailers can’t dip a toe into foodservice and expect to turn a profit. Often they need marketing, outstanding food offerings and a sense of economics to make a positive splash. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor It takes more than some new equipment, a menu and even the most eye-catching in-store signage to turn a fledgling

Sandwiches Go Bold

Sriracha. Aioli. Pico de gallo. Seasonings, sauces and spreads that many consumers couldn’t pronounce very long ago are now giving traditional condiments a run for their money. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor In the not-so-distant past, consumers had to go to ethnic restaurants to get the bold and authentic flavors they craved. Now all they

Chocolate Enjoys King-Size Sales

From large format sizes to resealable packaging and informative labels, chocolate trends are evolving. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Health and wellness may be top of mind for most customers today, but that hasn’t slowed chocolate sales, which were up 5.6% in 2015 in the convenience and multi-outlet channel, compared to the previous year. In

Sweet Snacks Pack Variety

While indulgent sweets are still preferred by many U.S convenience customers, more consumers are spending their snacking dollars on healthier options. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience store operators continue to walk a tightrope, balancing consumers’ love of sweet snacks with their intent to eat healthier. Still, America’s sweet tooth isn’t going away any time

Salting Away Sales

Americans’ continuing hunger for salty snacks is keeping convenience stores at the forefront of a booming industry. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Americans’ love of salty snacks continues unabated as snacking occasions increase, shelf sets include more variety, spicier flavors gain wider acceptance and niche marketing grows in importance. The snacking trend continues to gain

Exploring Today’s Workforce

The Eighth Annual CSD/Humetrics Human Resources Benchmarking Survey identifies the key employee issues affecting convenience store retailers and what chains can do to overcome them. By Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics and John Lofstock, Editor Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics have again collaborated on our eighth annual Human Resources Benchmarking Survey. The results reported here are

Heroes Aren’t Who They Used to Be

The faces of acclaimed Americans have been replaced by some who aren’t so recognizable, but are heroic nevertheless. By Jim Callahan I saw the recent presidential debates and I’m left very troubled, with an emptiness and fear for our country. I watch as Republicans and Democrats hurl insults, spout half-truths, and make outlandish accusations and

CST Brands Under Scrutiny

Kim Lubel, president and CEO of CST Brands recently outlined the long-term benefits of some high-profile company moves, including the acquisition of Flash Foods. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In business circles, the term “inside baseball” connotes something highly detailed—usually operational. It can be as detailed as the diameter of customized bolts included within a

Everything Is A-OK at OnCue

While some c-stores might celebrate their 50th anniversary with a party and cake, OnCue Express is celebrating its Golden Jubilee with eight new stores in the pipeline and a growing reputation as one of Oklahoma’s premiere convenience retailers. By David Bennett, Senior In the last decade, Stillwater, Okla.-based OnCue Marketing LLC has taken incremental steps

Suppliers Part of Winning Team

When developing a successful supply and distribution arrangement, finding the right vendors is part of the process. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Rutter’s Farm Stores, a 62-store chain based in York, Pa., is currently rebidding the company’s foodservice contract despite the fact that management is completely satisfied with the supplier it uses now. The regular

ACA Reporting Requirements

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in effect, most convenience stores are ready to follow suit. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor After years of political posturing, court battles and postponements, the Shared Responsibility Employer Mandate aspect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now in full effect. For individuals,

Labor and the C-Store Abstract

Hourly wages are a growing part of doing business in the convenience store industry. By Fran Duskiewicz In the 30 years that I worked for Nice N Easy, I never had a true job description—many job titles, but no job description. I asked once if I should have one and was told, “your job description

C-Stores Do Lunch … and Dinner

Breakfast may be the star of c-store foodservice programs, but food forward retailers are stepping up to the plate to vie for lunch and dinner sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor As supermarkets and convenience stores have been “raising the bar on their foodservice offerings,” an increasing number of consumers are choosing these outlets for their

Remembering QT’s Chester Cadieux

In 1958, the co-founder of QuikTrip set out to exercise his entrepreneurial spirit. A half-century later, he had helped convert the convenience store industry from a gas station culture to a trusted retail enterprise. By David Bennett, Senior Editor An entrepreneur who over his career gained much success putting forth a business ideology that focused

Condon Invested in Family Express’ Future

From programmatic hiring to competitive training processes, Kris Condon is helping shape the convenience store chain’s flourishing workforce. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Frontline employees are the backbone of any c-store chain, which makes crafting a strategy for successful hiring, training, conveying of company culture and retaining quality talent crucial for any convenience store chain.

Defying Expectations

In a year in which consumers generated strong other-than-tobacco numbers, smokeless tobacco outperformed industry forecasts in 2015. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor While the number of U.S. smokers still lags that of years past and legislators continue to debate  how to legislate the vapor and e-cigarette markets, other tobacco products (OTPs) such as chewing

Paying Heed to Food Safety

With the increased emphasis on quality foodservice, maintaining in-store equipment is necessary for keeping a clean image. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor In the wake of the publicized instances of food-borne illnesses such as the Norovirus outbreak at Chipotle, more convenience stores are protecting their operations against similar operational risks. Many c-store operators are looking

Security: An End-to-End Job

From cash management to surveillance to data security, protecting c-stores from all areas of theft is a nonstop commitment. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Do you know how secure your convenience stores are? Surveillance cameras and secure cash storage keep stores physically safe, but to be fully secure, retailers also need to think about point-of-sale

The Pressures Facing Family Businesses

By John Lofstock, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Decisions According to the Small Business Administration, family businesses comprise 90% of all business enterprises in North America, and 62% of the U.S. employment. Yet, only a third of these businesses make it to the second generation, 12% to the third generation, and only 3% are a fourth-generation entity.

How to Heat Up Frozen Beverage Sales

Frozen dispensed beverages are more than a cup of flavored ice. Slushes can make c-stores a hot destination for customer traffic, pushing up margin and incremental sales. By D. Gail Fleenor, Contributing Editor Convenience store operators are adding to their frozen beverage offerings in anticipation of summer 2016 and beyond. Unit sales of slushes have

How to Conduct Business Planning Through Co-Branding

Starting a proprietary program can be complicated and expensive. A more cost-effective way to enter the foodservice arena is to partner with an established brand. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Adding a foodservice concept may be a proven way to bolster a c-store’s bottom line, but only if it’s the right program operated the right

Implementing Ricker’s Employee-Centric Philosophy

With more than 18 years as Ricker’s director of human resources, Karen Mitchener spearheads training, employee recognition and retention. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Ricker’s philosophy is if it takes care of its employees, they will take care of its customers. Karen Mitchener, director of human resources for Anderson, Ind.-based Ricker’s, has played a central

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