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The Hub Breaks Ground

New chain aims to be the premier c-store destination in the open expanse of North Dakota. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor It is unprecedented that Convenience Store Decisions would select a Chain to Watch that hasn’t finished constructing its first location, but The Hub Convenience Stores, which is set to open its first travel center

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Rattlers Poised For Growth

The Texas chain is upping its game online while perfecting its own grab-and-go concept. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor With 11 locations in Texas, Rattlers Convenience Stores, is set to renovate one of its earliest stores located near its company headquarters in Navasota, Texas, doubling the location’s size. It’s just one sign the growing chain

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Zarco Debuts Innovative Pump Service

Zarco USA gains sales from fuel customers with touchscreen ordering that allows patrons to order their favorite foods while filing up their tanks. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Scott Zaremba, president of Lawrence, Kan.-based Zarco USA this past May rolled out touchscreen ordering at the pump at one of his nine convenience stores, with plans

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Distribution Models That Deliver

A self-distribution model can cut out the middle man and help your chain save on costs, but is a big capital investment. Partnering with a good distribution provider can be the right course of action, but only if the arrangement brings value to your operation. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Candy, tobacco, drinks, food and

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Deriving Loyalty From Data

Scanned data is putting basket-level insights in the hands of decision makers who can turn this information into strategies that drive profitability. By David Bennett, Senior Editor A customer’s continuing business is no longer guaranteed. Because of that fact, convenience stores strategize more and more on the need to understand their customers better, and to

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Managing Loss Prevention

Shrink comes in all shapes and sizes, but knowing how to identify and remedy these occurrences can enable c-stores to turn losses into gains. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When a convenience store is humming along efficiently, the signs are unmistakable: The coffee is fresh and flowing. People are enjoying prompt foodservice offerings. Motorists are

The multi contact grill recently introduced by Hatco comes with interchangeable plates, including grooved plates to cook
panini and flat plates for cooking a variety of other foods.

Finding the Right Foodservice Gear Helps

Choosing the best equipment can be the difference between a robust foodservice program and a bland one. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor A piece of equipment doesn’t have to be brand new to be considered the most valuable player in a foodservice operation. Take the Lincoln impinger ovens that Fremont, Ohio-based FriendShip Food Stores has

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Cigars Face Uncertain Future

The c-store industry continues to monitor the FDA’s deeming rules regarding cigars and what it means going forward. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor The federal government’s recent decisions concerning tobacco products, specifically cigars, underscore the need for vigilance and involvement on the part of convenience store operators, not just to maintain category sales, but to

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Bolstering Bakery

C-store customers are seeking fresh baked treats for breakfast and snacking occasions. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Savvy retailers are diving into bakery programs to entice morning customers who want sweet treats with their morning coffee, as well as afternoon snackers seeking fresh and indulgent goodies. As both the breakfast daypart and snacking occasions grow

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Meat Snacks Move Ahead

Just as consumers continue to crave meat snacks, savvy convenience store operators are taking full advantage with smart sets, effective merchandising and promotional opportunities. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Twenty-Five years ago, meat snack choices seldom strayed beyond traditional beef jerky. Today, however, spicy and exotic varieties have enlivened the category, even as functional and

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Courting Candy Customers

The sweet news is that sour sells in the non-chocolate confections category. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Overall sales growth for non-chocolate confections topped $10 billion last year, a 3.6% increase over the year before, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA). Sales per capita grew from the year prior by 1.9% to $32.44 per

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Kentucky Town Fuels Debate

In an effort to balance fuel prices for local motorists, officials in the city of Somerset, Ky. have gone into the gas business despite complaints from area retailers. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Consumers frequently voice their displeasure over high gasoline costs but often find themselves over a barrel because they don’t have the means

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Trust and a Stronger Bottom Line

C-store retailers can use these pillars of trust to foster loyal teams and organizations.  By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Whether you want more productive employees or better customer loyalty, cultivating trust is the greatest social currency in which to invest. David Horsager, speaker, business strategist, and author of the national bestseller “The Trust Edge: How

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Enhancing Social Media Skills

When customers give feedback, it’s a chance for your brand to craft your brand image and gain customers through your response. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Social media wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen in 1990, but today it has become a vital tool in reaching customers and communicating promotions as well as

Hackers behind TARGET data breach are looking for crackers to decrypt Credit card PINs

Don’t be a Target for Hackers

Following a breach at Target and a host of other incidents, retailers are seeking security solutions despite being PCI compliant. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor The business world was stunned —and consumers outraged—when retail giant Target, with almost 2,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, admitted to a major security breach in late 2013. According

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Lower Cost Lighting

When considering an operational upgrade, cost of ownership is a key factor. Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Efficiency upgrades to lighting, heating and air or other operating systems can lower expenditures for convenience stores in the long run. However, operators should consider more than just start-up costs when choosing which enhancements make the most business sense.

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Energy Drinks All The Buzz

Once a fringe player, the energy drink segment today is a billion-dollar business and according to analysts, there’s still room for growth. By David Bennett, Senior Editor As consumer tastes have shifted, carbonated soft drinks (CSD) top perch within the pantheon of packaged beverages has eroded considerably over the last few years. During that period,

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Dispensed Beverage Evolution

The last 25 years have seen dispensed beverages grow in importance in the convenience store industry. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Dispensed beverages—both cold and frozen—have come a long way since 1990, today constituting one of the primary draws to the c-store and representing a veritable goldmine of profitability. The last two and a half

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Designing a Foodservice Plan

Both proprietary and established-brand foodservice have advantages and challenges. Retailers tell Convenience Store Decisions which they chose and why. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor PS Food Marts had its own proprietary deli program about 20 years ago. They had a great concept and products, but marketing an unknown brand was tough, said Ed Heath, vice

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Winning with a Quality Deli

Giving customers more than they expect is key in building foodservice sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Folks in New York don’t take their deli lightly. So when Harry Singh, president and CEO of Bolla Oil Corp., decided to pilot a “gourmet” deli program in one of his company’s Brooklyn Bolla Market convenience stores in

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Shaping the Future of ATMs

As new technology emerges, retailers are boosting profits in the changing era of financial services. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience stores that offer financial services are perhaps responding to societal changes. But as monetary tools become more modern—especially in the case of ATMs—operators will have to game plan even more to provide customers the

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Convenience Stores and the Last 25 Years

On our silver anniversary, CSD examines the issues, innovations and leaders that have helped shape the convenience store industry. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor. The notion that convenience stores have come a long way since 1990 is an understatement. Twenty-five years ago, the upscale, large format c-stores offering fresh prepared foods and grab-and-go lunches weren’t

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Loyalty is a Retail Game-Changer for Oil Companies

Marketers like Phillips 66 are driving repeat business and cultivating loyal customers through participation in the KickBack Rewards program. By John Lofstock, Editor Difficult economic times are forcing customers to take a hard look at where they can tighten their belts and how they can stretch their hard-earned dollars. To meet their expectations, retailers are

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C-Stores Change with the Times

Whether it’s technology, the workforce, or the weather, the industry has always adapted and moved on. By David Bennett, Senior Editor There are few Years more turbulent in the history of the convenience store industry than 1990. Just prior, the total number of c-stores had peaked at 83,000 in the late 1980s. The market was

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Brewing a Coffee Strategy Pays Dividends

A well-run program can help customers start the day with a smile and bring them back again and again. It can also anchor a breakfast program, serve as a profit center and prove a key point of differentiation—assuming it is done right. Doing it right means starting with top-quality products, having all the condiments and

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