Sweetening Candy Sales

Avoiding common pitfalls and developing a merchandising plan can boost convenience store confectionery sales. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. Keeping shelves full of customers’ favorite candy, gum and mint brands may seem like an obvious practice for convenience store category mangers. However, controlling out-of-stocks continues to be the top challenge for c-stores managing the candy

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dairy

To drive profits in this core category, c-stores need to create a destination that showcases value, freshness and quality. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Dairy offerings have been dwindling at convenience stores in recent years as operators make space in the coolers for popular items like energy drinks and other healthful beverages. But when stores

Cultivating Loyal C-Store Customers

An effective rewards program can drive new business and increase the average ticket ring with existing customers. By Howard Riell, Contributing Editor. There was a time when loyalty programs were tools used by large chains to reward customers for their daily business. But the times have changed. Convenience store operators of all sizes are now

Love’s Presents Scholarships to Employees

Five employees and seven dependents get some relief on college tuition costs. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores’ Learning With Love’s Scholarship Fund, now in its third year, has awarded $40,000 in scholarships to a number of Love’s employees and their dependents to assist with college costs for the 2011-2012

Stacking the Cards In Your Favor

General purpose prepaid debit cards are rapidly gaining favor with consumers as an alternative to closed-loop gift cards. By John Lofstock, Editor. Sales of open-loop prepaid cards, issued by banks and credit card companies and able to be used at multiple establishments, are only going to go up as more consumers come to appreciate their

Putting the Community to Work

With 20% of its staff now made up of challenged and disabled individuals, VERC Enterprises has earned a reputation as a top employer. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. VERC Enterprises, an independent convenience store, gasoline station and car wash operator in eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire, has reached a new milestone by including challenged/disabled individuals

The Business of Growing

Overcoming the top nine challenges for effectively growing your retail business requires true leadership and patience. By John Lofstock, Editor. The hardest step entrepreneurs take is getting their startup off the ground once and for all. The second hardest step is growing it into the best business it can be. What today’s entrepreneurs and aspiring

Seizing Control of Smokeless Sales

Convenience store retailers are still concerned over the FDA’s involvement in smokeless tobacco, but many expressed optimism that the category can continue to thrive. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While taxes and regulations haven’t impacted sales of smokeless tobacco products as much as some had predicted, it remains up to retailers to continue aggressively marketing

High’s Debuts Proprietary Fuel Brand

Maryland chain also unveils a prototype convenience store brand as it prepares for the future with a focus on energy efficiency, foodservice and market expansion. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor High’s of Baltimore is taking its convenience store and gas station business to the next level rolling out a new proprietary fuel brand—called High’s BTG—along

Gaining Insights into Convenience Store Customers

MSA and Paradigm Sample, in partnership with Convenience Store Decisions, delve into c-store shoppers’ attitudes about buying seasonal and holiday candy. By Trish Temmerman, Contributing Editor. With Halloween and Christmas just around the corner, we are approaching that time of year when some of the most widely recognized seasonal confectionery items are purchased and consumed:

Will Tesco Turn it Around?

Fresh & Easy is rolling out a new Express store format, but can the company come out on top after nearly four years of heavy losses? By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market grocery chain debuted with a bang in 2007, rolling out 20 stores in rapid succession in California, Nevada

Updating the State of the Industry

NACS Chairman Jeff Miller discusses card fees, fuel and the future of convenience stores. By John Lofstock, Editor. Jeff Miller, president of Miller Oil Co. in Virginia, wears many hats. He is an oilman, an industry advocate and a leader.   For the past year, he has also been the chairman of NACS, which could

Building Better Beer Sales

While many trends impact the beer category, the one that will most directly influence how marketers do business is the continued demand for more choices by the consumer.  By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. It’s been two years since Walgreens jumped back into the beer and wine business, and at least three convenience store operators in

Giving Back to the Community

The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees boosts charitable funding. By John Lofstock, Editor. As part of its ongoing commitment to charitable causes, the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) helped raise nearly $750,000 this year for two of its charitable partners, Hire Heroes USA and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Hire

Exercise Caution on Fuel Tanks

With retailers still unsure of what the future holds for fuels in the U.S., investing in new USTs is a risky proposition. By John Lofstock, Editor. It’s been nearly four years since then-President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act into law, requiring at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be

Negotiating for the Best Cost of Goods

Convenience store owners need to work more closely with suppliers and wholesalers to get better supply contracts and offer consumers more competitive prices. Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Convenience store owners need to work more closely with suppliers and wholesalers to get better supply contracts and offer consumers more competitive prices. A plaque in Ray Johnson’s

Effectively Managing the Fuel Market

As gasoline prices trend upward, retailers are struggling to stay competitive on price while protecting their margin. By John Lofstock, Editor. The cost of fuel has been roaring up and down like a rollercoaster, and so has the risk to retailers when purchasing fuel in large quantities. Fortunes can be made by accurately predicting which

Meeting the Demand for Fresh Foods

When adding foodservice, retailers have many different options—each with distinct advantages. Deciding which one works best for your chain is half the battle. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. All convenience store operators should be looking at adding a foodservice solution to some degree, whether it’s simply a fresh-brewed coffee program and a roller grill or

Developing a Menu for All Customers

The flexibility of chicken as a menu item allows convenience store operators to develop profitable branded and proprietary programs without sacrificing quality or value.    By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Whether it’s sandwiches, tenders, wings, fried, breaded or sliced, customers have affordable options which can offer them a new experience during each trip to the

Clean Restrooms Offer Distinct Competitive Advantages

As convenience store operators vie for foodservice customers, they need to ensure they are conveying a safe, sanitary image throughout the store. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. When David Miller, president of Chandler Oil Chevron, remodeled his 3,000–square-foot convenience store in Chandler, Ariz. last year, he had design team C7 Works give extra attention to

Tax Savings After the Deadline

With operating costs soaring in a sluggish economy, convenience store owners have a variety of tax benefits available to them from the IRS.  By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor. Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service advised taxpayers to cool their heels and wait until mid- to late-February 2011 before filing their returns to allow

Preparing for PCI D-Day

As the deadline for PCI DSS 2.0 compliance approaches, chains should make sure they understand the changes— and triple check that they meet the requirements. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. On Jan. 1, 2012 all convenience store retailers must comply with PCI DSS 2.0 standards. While some chains have been ready for more than a

Instant Rewards for Fuel Customers

With gas prices again on the rise, consumers are pumped about loyalty programs that offer discounts on gasoline. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Today’s competitive retailing environment makes it tough to attract and keep customers, so convenience stores are turning to loyalty programs that allow the faithful to earn points as they shop and redeem

Capitalizing on Coffee Trends

Hot beverages anchor the industry’s foodservice offering, but the category is also a top in-store destination and among the most profitable.   By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Numbers don’t lie–and when it comes to consumers and coffee, they show a category poised for even greater growth in the months ahead.Coffee consumption among consumers aged 18-29

Marketing in a Digital Age

Rising Star: Megan Sutfin Social Media Administrator, Sac N Pac Stores. Smart convenience store chains recognize that social networking is a crucial tool in keeping the lines of communication open with customers and growing loyalty for years to come. A social media team can help your chain control brand image, calm any negative conversations that

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