Big Apple Plants the Seeds for New Growth

After rebranding a number of its locations under the CITGO brand, Big Apple Food Stores looks to expand its retail portfolio in 2012. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor C.N. Brown’s Big Apple Food Stores has had a busy 12 months. The 82-store chain with locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, completed an aggressive push

NACS CAFÉ Helps Identify Foodservice Solutions

Certified foodservice managers have shown that they are competent and disciplined, and they tend to display outstanding human resources management skills. By Dr. Nancy Caldarola, Education Director, NACS CAFÉ Foodservice has taken a prominent place in convenience stores. This segment has grown from a humble cup of coffee to a wide array of fresh sandwiches,

The 2012 Convenience Retail Outlook

Economic uncertainty is causing retailers to be cautious as they plan for the upcoming year, but investments in technology, social media and foodservice appear to be expanding. By David Bishop, Contributing Editor.  The outlook for 2012 depends largely on the focus of the question. What is clear based on the CSD/Balvor 2012 Convenience Retail Outlook

Will EMV be DOA?

Visa is encouraging retailers to move toward the EMV technology seen in Europe, but some argue by the time it’s implemented in the U.S., the technology will be outdated. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Visa this fall announced plans to speed up the migration to contact chip and contactless EMV chip credit card technology in

Robinson Takes the Helm at NACS

Incoming chairman promotes advocacy as he prepares to battle swipe fees, fuel standards and tobacco regulations in the year ahead. By John Lofstock, Editor. Renowned author and business strategist Tom Peter once said, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” When it comes to the challenges facing the convenience store and petroleum industry over

The Impact of Alternative Fuels

The political momentum to bring renewable energy products to the pumps is strong and growing. But with all the added costs to rebuild the nation’s petroleum infrastructure, is it worth it? By John Lofstock, Editor. Preparing for the future is a complex issue retailers should always be pondering. But in the fuel business this question

Maintaining Compliance with Fuel Tank Standards

Out of sight, out of mind could land convenience store and gas station owners in serious trouble if they neglect their underground storage tanks (USTs) any longer. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With fines for leaks on the rise, regulations for tank compliance data retention getting longer and reporting frequencies increasing, the time has come

Building New Tobacco Sales

Retailers and government officials butt heads over handmade cigarettes. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Celeste Lucas likes to smoke, but she doesn’t like paying $5 a pack for cigarettes, so she took matters into her own hands and purchased a roll-your-own cigarette machine. Using loose tobacco and paper tubes, she can now create an entire

Driving Foodservice Profitability

Taking steps to promote innovative products and value pricing can elevate the whole roller grill experience. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. When consumers think of convenience store food, roller grill hot dogs are top of mind. Roller grills have developed a mixed reputation over the years, but they remain a staple of c-store foodservice programs

Boosting Energy Sales

Although some c-store operators admit to being worried about regulators turning their focus toward energy products, many believe the category has at least another year of strong growth ahead. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Sales of energy shots are soaring despite the lingering recession. New products, flavors and marketing messages are making it one of

Delivering a Winning Pizza Program

In an effort to grow its foodservice business, Casey’s is expanding its menu to include pizza delivery. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Casey’s General Stores has sold pizza for more than a quarter century making it one of the earliest convenience store chains to do so. Now, in an effort to expand its customer base,

Salinsky Honored by SIGMA

Massachusetts retailer is the 19th operator in 53 years to receive the association’s Distinguished Marketer Award. By John Lofstock, Editor. Few people have seen the convenience store and petroleum industry evolve as has Richard Salinsky, president of Best Petroleum in Lynn, Mass. With more than 50 years of experience and dedication to the industry, Salinsky

Clark Brands Grows West

Marketer is expanding its footprint beyond legacy states as it signs on independent operators. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Clark Brands LLC is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy in 2012, expanding from the Dakotas to Texas, from New Mexico to Michigan and all points in between, as more fuel marketers elect to join the Clark

Sustaining Security

Now that retailers have reached PCI DSS 2.0 compliance, it’s important to continue monitoring people, processes and technology to protect against breaches.  By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor If your chain is among those who diligently worked to achieve PCI DSS 2.0 compliance by the Jan. 1, 2012 deadline, you probably think your stores are safe from

Screen In the Best, Screen Out the Rest

Just as you should consistently ask applicants questions that get you all the information needed, so should you question yourself every time you consider hiring a new employee. By Mel Kleiman, Contributing Editor. One of the fastest growing classes of lawsuits today are employment law filings. In addition to discrimination and wage/hour actions, we’re seeing

The Impact of Restrooms on Food Sales

Poor safety and sanitation practices will turn customers away. Going above and beyond what’s required is the key to a healthy program. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The numbers tell an interesting story: according to a recent research study by Cintas Corp., fully 95% of people avoid patronizing a business in which they have had

Baked to Perfection

As c-stores enhance their coffee and foodservice programs, operators look to fresh bakery to complete the package. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. Convenience stores are investing heavily in store remodels and an experienced staff to create a bigger, better fresh foods program for customers. Too often they fall short in the bakery category, but a

Strategic Positive Employee Relations

Proposed changes by the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board could drastically change how employers interact with their workforce. By Jeffrey Usher, Contributing Editor. In recent months, the words “unions” and “collective bargaining” have been spoken in the media, at social gatherings and in business meetings more than they have been in

Keeping the Menu Fresh

Foodservice customers are becoming value-conscious, a reflection of current economic conditions. Consumers are now expecting better value in terms of price, service, consistency and food quality. By John Lofstock, Editor. Bringing consumers into convenience stores to buy food requires a great offering at a good price. But with all the competition for share of stomach,

Smokeless Sales Show No Signs of Dipping

Enhancing variety will continue to be a key for this high growth category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Sales of smokeless tobacco products keep increasing and convenience store operators are enjoying the ride. But keeping that graph line headed north means keeping a wary eye on proposed federal regulations, keeping sets fresh, properly allocating shelf

Building the Business with a Quality Team

Cindy Fitzgibbons, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Stop’nGo of Medina Inc. A relative newcomer to convenience store industry, but no stranger to the world of operations management, Cindy Fitzgibbons has climbed the ranks since joining Stop’nGo of Medina Inc. in 2010. In her current position as general manager and chief operating officer at Stop’nGo

Train to Retain

To get and keep “A” players, retailers must become an employer of choice. This doesn’t always mean paying more money, but it does mean understanding that the way employees treat customers reflects the way their employers treat them. By Mel Kleiman, Contributing Editor. Do you ever wonder why no one ever trains us for life’s

Building Profits and Relationships

The 2011 NAG Conference in Savannah, Ga. offered timely retail solutions and outstanding networking opportunities. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Retailers and suppliers joined together at the Westin Hotel and Resort in Savannah, Ga. for four days of strategic educational sessions and networking as part of the 2011 National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference. This year’s

Shell Bolsters Loyalty

The Fuel Rewards Network, an extension of its Grocer Rewards program, is enhancing the brand proposition for Shell marketers and wholesalers. By John Lofstock, Editor. The competition for customers has never been so furious. Consumers have more and more choices every day, and the right customer loyalty program has the power to make or break