Retail Trends for 2012

As technology continues to change the way we do business, retailers must weigh the benefits of being ahead of the curve versus the risks, and the disadvantages of falling behind. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In a scene from the futuristic movie “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise’s character walks through a shopping mall while 3-D screens

Gas Rewards Programs Drive Loyalty to Sponsoring Retailers

The Convenience Consumer Insights Panel finds that convenience store owners not engaged in a fuel program are missing significant sales opportunities. By Trish Temmerman, Management Science Associates (MSA). The pinch of the recession is forcing consumers to take a hard look at where they can tighten their belts and how they can stretch their hard-earned

Hit-n-Run Food Stores Prepares for the Future

Brenton Investment Corp. is set to build a new prototype design as it sets its sights on growth through new builds. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With 11 years under its belt and 13 successful convenience stores throughout southern Louisiana, Brenton Investment Corp. is ready to grow its fleet of Hit-n-Run Food Stores beginning with

Taking Social Media to the Next Level

C-stores are adding Facebook pages, but to profit from social media, retailers need to also engage fans with text and email marketing campaigns. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Anyone still questioning the power of social media need only look to Japan. The country, which between earthquakes, tsunamis and radiation fears has seen tourism drop, is

Preparing for Future Payment Systems

First it was PCI, now retailers have to prepare for the widespread launch of Near Field Communications, which is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the U.S. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The convenience store industry is increasingly turnings its gaze outdoors to the forecourt, not only for

Making the Most Out of Meat Snacks

Led by category captain Jack Link’s, Huck’s Food and Fuel has been experiencing double-digit growth in this core snacking segment. Meat snack manufacturers are targeting new customers with innovative flavors, new packaging and an attractive price point. Leading the charge to meet the changing needs of the consumer is Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, which markets

Do You Have the Staff You Deserve?

QC Mart comes under fire after the chain’s owner launched a contest asking employees to guess which employee would be fired next. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In October, the Iowa Des Moines Register reported on the curious plight of William Ernst, the owner of QC Mart in Bettendorf, Iowa. Faced with employees who were

Weighing a Sandwich Strategy

Whether doing it themselves or finding a national partner, convenience store operators are developing food programs with fresh ingredients and quick service. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. Convenience store strategies for sandwich programs are as customizable as the sandwiches themselves. Some opt to develop and prepare sandwich lines in their own commissaries or via made-to-order

Perfecting Pizza

A top-notch pie and artistic appeal help differentiate the offering for this important foodservice segment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Pizza, a perennial favorite of American culture, is grabbing headlines as some restaurateurs and retailers devise gourmet versions with a variety of innovative toppings and crusts. And while that’s all well and good, c-store shoppers

Durbin Hits, Fight Escalates

Retailers may have won the right to debit fee caps for now, but banks are raising fees and pointing the finger at merchants, while some lawmakers look to repeal the interchange caps. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The long awaited Durbin Amendment went into effect on Oct. 1, capping interchange fees well above the 7-12

Thorntons Earns Top Chain Honors

Kentucky operator presented the industry’s most prestigious retail award at a gala in Chicago. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Convenience Store Decisions honored Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons Inc. as its 22nd annual Convenience Store Chain of the Year at an exclusive dinner at Café Spiaggia in Chicago last month during the NACS Show. More than 200

A Remedy for Boosting Impulse Sales

Whether it’s aspirin or shaving cream, HBC is a growing category that deserves a renewed focus. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. HBC is making a comeback from coast to coast. The category—from shampoos and skin creams to cough drops and cold remedies—has always had its rightful place in a convenience store—providing a grab-and-go remedy for

Thorntons Honored as 2011 Convenience Store Chain of the Year

Outstanding service, a sincere dedication to its team members and an ongoing commitment to convenience retailing earn the Louisville, Ky. chain the industry’s oldest and most prestigious award. By John Lofstock, Editor. The late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., once said, “A lot of companies have chosen to downsize. We chose a different path.

Driving OTP Sales

While cigar sales do not approach those of cigarettes, they offer convenience stores better margins. Plus, new flavors and competitive pricing are keeping customers interested in the category. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Other tobacco products (OTP) in general and cigars in particular continue to earn more shelf space in convenience stores, and the higher

Getting Crafty in the Cold Vault

Beer sales are hot right now and driving the push are specialty brews and imports. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumer interest in more flavorful food and beverages has led, among other things, to the rise of craft beers. Retailers: Start your engines. Craft beers offer more challenging tastes, authenticity and often even a quirkiness

NACS CAFÉ is Calling

With foodservice taking on an expanded role in convenience stores, retailers can utilize NACS CAFÉ to learn about best practices, new ideas and emerging solutions. By John Lofstock, Editor. Foodservice now accounts for nearly one in every six dollars spent inside convenience stores. Getting foodservice right is no longer just a challenge, it is absolutely

Englefield Oil Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Three generations of exceptional leadership and a keen focus on employees help the family business reach this distinctive milestone. By: John Lofstock, Editor. To understand the history of the convenience store and petroleum industry is to understand the individual success stories that helped build our great nation. Each company has a unique story, but their

Boosting Fresh Food Sales

Americans are more amenable to buying meals at convenience stores, but won’t budge when it comes to quality, price or convenience factors like portability and packaging. By Howard Riell, Contributing Editor. Takeout food was invented for on-the-go consumers. But a takeout program has to do more than travel at high speeds. Today’s consumers want quality

Foodservice Trends for Hispanic Consumers

Stripes is among the growing number of convenience store chains providing an authentic Hispanic cuisine to attract this growing demographic. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Early each morning the parking lots of Stripes Convenience Stores fill up with the trucks and cars of customers wanting to purchase a hearty meal of breakfast tacos, carne guisada

Motivating Employees in a Challenging Economy

Some chains just don’t have the financial resources to give out much-deserved raises and bonuses, but there are other ways to show your staff you appreciate their hard work. By John Lofstock, Editor. To say the least, the past few years haven’t been the best for business. While we have weathered a brutal recession, it’s

Advertising, Marketing, Entertaining and Deducting

Promotional budgets are typically one of the first costs businesses look to slash when times get tough. But understanding available tax deductions can help offset advertising expenses. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor. Without effective marketing and advertising, customers may recognize the existence of your convenience store business, but they won’t know anything about it.

Don’t Settle for Employee Mediocrity

Training and preparing employees for advancement is one proven method for attracting and retaining these talented workers.  By Mel Kleiman, Contributing Editor. In the course of my more than 25 year’s of consulting and professional speaking work about how to recruit, select and retain the best frontline employees, I have identified one common case of

Developing an Effective Menu

Foodservice operators must regularly develop new products and tweak old ones to pique consumer interest and attract repeat business. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. Nice N Easy Grocery SHOPPES has long offered salads and sandwich melts. But the two menu lines didn’t reach their full potential until the convenience store chain hired three trained chefs

Coulson Oil Sets the Stage for Expansion

With a new real estate entity in place, the company is positioned to grow its chain of dealer-leased stores beyond Arkansas. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Coulson Oil Co., one of the Southwest’s largest independent distributors of motor fuels, took a big step toward continued growth in August with the formation of Coulson Real Estate

Battling City Hall

While dealing with red tape is a common occurrence when dealing with local municipalities, there are tax benefits for businessowners to make the process less costly.  By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor. Thanks to the economy and skyrocketing costs, convenience stores and other businesses are making less money and paying more in taxes while, at

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