Maximizing Candy and Gum Sales

What’s Coming? Thinking about a planogram refresh in candy? The National Confectioners Association (NCA) in Washington, D.C. advised that the category is taking a turn toward the upscale. “There is a big gourmet boom. I think we’re also going to have a ‘chocolate-covered’ category made up of things you don’t normally see covered in chocolate,

Finding Profits with Tobacco Accessories

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates, scheduled to go into effect on June 22, prohibit retailers from selling cigarettes and smokeless products in self-service displays except in age-restricted stores that ban customers younger than 18 years of age. While retailers in some states, such as New York and Idaho, have already had to comply with

Getting Back to Beer Basics

Beer continues to be an essential category for convenience stores and one that requires more than the usual amount of observation, knowledge, planning, execution and overall savvy. According to The Nielsen Co.:• Nearly 787 million cases of beer were sold in the c-store channel during 52-weeks ending March 6, 2010; down 1.5% from 799 million

PCI Compliance Requires a Full-Time Focus

The 12 Standards of PCI SSC Build and Maintain a Secure Network 1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect data. 2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters. Protect Cardholder Data 3. Protect stored cardholder data. 4. Encrypt transmissions of cardholder data and sensitive information across open public

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Cornering the Nontraditional Market

Behind the Brand: Key Decision Makers • Daniel McCabe, President: McCabe has served as the president and a director of McColla Enterprises since 1987. McCabe is an attorney licensed to practice law in New York and in North Carolina, and maintains a business law practice in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He also acts as the chief legal

Recycling Program Breeds Customer Loyalty

While stopping for gas one day, two waste management interns working for the city of Lexington, Ky., pondered how much garbage could be recycled from cars if locations, such as gas stations, made it more convenient to recycle. The interns, Elizabeth Rebmann and Natalie Cooke, pitched their idea for such a recycling program to Bruce

Breakfast Battle Brewing

Bundling with Bakery Rick Lawlor, vice president of retail sales and marketing for Hess Corp., said his company began growing breakfast sales when it added an old favorite for customers who want a sweet with their coffee: doughnuts. “There are a number of ways we’ve been growing our breakfast business, the most significant being our

Would You Like Wi-Fi With That?

Wi-Fi is a trendy offering customers are clamoring for, and it’s starting to appear at more c-store locations, including BP, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes and Rutter’s Farm Stores, especially as chains expand their foodservice programs and look for new ways to pull foot traffic into the store. Coffee shops, such as Starbucks have long

Embracing Automated Cash Control

More convenience store operators are phasing out their drop safes and replacing them with sophisticated cash management systems that perform a variety of functions more easily and quickly than ever before. One of those is the linking of computer networks for easier access to information throughout the organization. In doing so, cash shrinkage due to

An Appetizing Offering

Keeping the Customers Satisfied John Foley, an independent culinary consultant, said c-stores are a perfect fit for appetizers because of their portability and lower cost. He offered retailers five tips for increasing appetizer, soup and salad sales. 1) Develop a series of appetizers that are not on your regular menu and rotate them as specials

Tools of the Trade

Busy consumers continue watching their wallets, but one thing hasn’t changed. They want great tasting meals and snacks—and they want them fast. In spite of today’s economic angst, opportunities abound for providing time-crunched consumers with foods on the run. According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 69% of adults surveyed said purchasing

Marketing the Beverage Bar

While frozen dispensed beverages are not a huge portion of the typical store’s overall sales, the product is proving to be quite profitable, thanks to a gross margin north of 50%. Although the slush-style drink was a c-store original, other retailers recognized its potential, and today, frozen beverages with a variety of names and logos

A Taxing Time for Tobacco

Last year was truly a difficult time for tobacco. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) increased tobacco taxes from a “modest” 158% increase on cigarettes up to a hideous 2,000 plus percentage increase on roll your own tobacco and small cigars. (RYO went from $1.10 per pound to $24.68 and small cigars went from

Sweetening Candy Sales

 Americans’ love affair with chocolate will never end. That said, sales of non-chocolate candy and gum are rising steadily, fueled by the economy and the search for innovative, flavorful new products. “Yes, people are right in calling this a strong category,” said Bill Singer, a principal in Singer’s Chevron Inc. in Walla Walla, Wash. “When

Boosting Bakery Sales

With sales of packaged bakery snacks down, the allure of fresh- or par-baked items can generate revenue in the coming year if c-store operators handle things correctly. Jim Schutz, vice president of people assets for Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin, said his chain has two different bakery offerings, muffins and doughnuts, which are supplied

Using ATMs to Drive Profits

For many years ATMs were nothing more than large boxes hiding in the corner of convenience stores across the country. Over the years, though, that strategy has evolved as in-store real estate became more valuable and marketers looked for every edge to attract new customers. As such, retailers these days are faced with three distinct

The Sky’s the Limit

Making your mark in the convenience store industry requires hard work, dedication, great people and outstanding service. Throw in three generations of family-owned leadership and a firm commitment to quality and value, and you’ll understand why High’s of Baltimore Inc. is among one of the most revered operators in its markets. “Our brand has been

The Shack Pushes the Bounds of Convenience

As all convenience store chains look for innovative ways to drive sales as tobacco and gas margins decline, they might take note from an unlikely teacher—a small town store in Grandy, Minn., whose unique offerings are going to new lengths to meet consumer demands. Though only 1,100 square feet, “The Shack on 65” packs the

Social Networking Takes Retail by Storm

Speedy Personalized DealsChristianna Frizzell, customer relationship manager for Speedway SuperAmerica, said the best online responses will come from email blasts and text message campaigns if you know your demographic and keep contact timely and relevant. It can also be helpful to look at how customers are contacting you. For example, are they emailing or calling

Securing the Store

C-store operators are increasingly turning to advanced electronics to help stem the time of theft both internally and externally, including “smart” surveillance cameras and Internet-based security systems that can prompt and warn cashiers and track and record every store transaction. Stuart Levine, CEO of The Zellman Group in Port Washington, N.Y., a nationwide retail and

Efficient Exit Strategies Sweeten Candy Profits

Developing an effective exit strategy for candy and reviewing product performance regularly can boost profits in the candy segment. “On a basic level you want to discontinue the slow moving items that rank in the bottom of the category to bring in something new that is going to contribute sales and margins to the category,”

Capitalizing on Coffee

Opportunity for Growth 54% of the overall adult population drank coffee beverages daily in 2009. Coffee preparation at home is up five percentage points, with 83% of past-day coffee drinkers reporting that they made coffee at home the day before. 80% of coffee drinkers are doing nothing different despite the economic downturn. 17% are visiting

Cigarettes Still King

State Tax Grab During 2009, cigarette tax increases were defeated in 19 states and passed into law in 12 states. States where cigarette tax increases were not enacted include: STATE Failed TAX Increase in 2009 Alabama 32.5 cents per pack Connecticut 50 cents per pack Georgia $1 per pack Kansas 95 cents per pack over

Competitive Pricing Key to Water Sales

Operators hoping to do well with bottled and flavored waters in 2010 need to understand what both water and bottles mean to today’s consumers. Following a decade of steady growth, bottled water sales in c-stores declined last year as consumer spending lagged due to higher fuel prices and the economic recession. But many retailers and

Lighting the Way

Making money in tobacco accessories—lighters, cigar cutters, humidors, pipes, rolling machines, rolling papers and even hookahs—during the months ahead may not be easy, but it can be done. Three ways to do it: offer novel items, stay on the cutting edge of trends and let customers roll their own. The payoff in 2010 could be

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