Marketing the Forecourt

When it comes to convenience stores, every square inch of selling space is precious real estate. And when the inside of a store is fully merchandised, the only place left to go is the forecourt area. Some convenience store retailers have always made good use of the forecourt area—whether or not it featured fuel pumps—to

Divine Disruption

Here’s an entirely plausible scenario: At around 8 a.m. on a weekday, customers are lined six deep in front of the only open register at your suburban convenience store. The line has screeched to a halt because a deliveryman running late has flanked the clerk at the register and asked her to sign off on

How Foodservice Impacts Profits

Dennis Peters has no complaints about the proprietary fresh chicken program at two of his 24 Friendship Foods stores in Ohio. It’s popular, it’s profitable and it’s been a proven concept for the past 12 years. Well, maybe there’s one complaint. It’s a little too fresh. Not “peck-you-on-the-hand-when-you-grab-it” fresh, but certainly fresh enough to see

Meeting the Growing Foodservice Demand

This is what happens: Dad breaks to one side of the store to choose a sandwich from the Hot Spot, which he complements with a cup of hot coffee and a bag of chips.   Mom heads for the cappuccino dispenser, then works her way to a fresh salad kept cool in a temperature-controlled center-island

Energizing Beverage Sales

Energy Drinks are still growing in double-digit figures, but some retailers feel a little edgy these days because the category isn’t growing at the same exponential rate it has during the past few years. “Don’t get me wrong, energy is a very big category that puts a lot of money into the bottom line,” said

Three-Mile Marketing

As John Matthews sees it, a store languishing in mediocrity is a store that has become wallpaper in the halls of retail.   “Generally, when starting a business, it’s easy to get people excited when its new and fresh,” said Matthews, founder of Chicago-based retail marketing firm Gray Cat Enterprises. “After a few years, though,

Preparing for Drastic Tobacco Regulations

Not surprisingly, convenience store industry operators identified the future of tobacco as one of their top five concerns heading into 2010. And with good reason. Operators have entered a period of unprecedented challenges when it comes to selling cigarettes, which means they must find new and innovative ways to market and merchandise this essential product

A Legend Among Us

Growing up during the Great Depression, Bob Seng learned to appreciate hard work, dedication and the value of an honest day’s work. It was those principles that guided him during his nearly 20-year career at Shell Oil, which began 60 years ago in 1949. For Seng, now a spry 85 years young, the experience at

Concerns Abound Over Food Costs

In today’s struggling economy, more than half (58%) of U.S. consumers are “very concerned” about rising food prices, The Nielsen Co. found in a new survey on consumer purchasing trends. As consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers employ options to manage abnormally high cost increases due to raw material and other expenditures, consumers voiced

Simon Says: Refine Your Retail

Don Glenn and Jake Leatherman had just wrapped up three store visits to Atlas Oil customers in southern Michigan when their conversation turned from coffee to a slightly more slippery substance: petroleum. “Four dollars,” said Glenn, director of retail sales at Taylor, Mich.-based fuel distributor Atlas. “That’s where everybody’s world changed.” Leatherman, Atlas’ senior retail

BP Flies High on Atlas Oil’s Flagpoles

A visit to BP’s ampm stores a few years ago convinced Simon that BP’s established ampm brand—and its decision to divest itself of stores in the Midwest—was an opportunity for Atlas to acquire stores for its own dealers, as well as operate more stores on its own. In December 2007, Atlas forged an alliance with

Convenience Stores Hurt by Tobacco Taxed Ad Sales

Cigarettes continue to be the top in-store category based on sales dollars. On a monthly basis, the industry per store average over the past year was $39,127. However, its gross profit contribution slipped to 3.2% to $6,152 falling behind package beverages ($6,526), according to the National Association of Convenience Stores State of the Industry report.

Foodservice Versatility

Chicken continues to pace the hot prepared food category thanks to its ability to attract a diverse audience. Perhaps because it’s viewed as a healthy alternative to red meats, chicken—as flexible as it is flavorful—also remains a favorite choice for salads, sandwiches, soups and entrees, which is why more c-store operators are making it the

The Industry’s Power 25 (part 5)

Tom LongPresident and Chief Commercial OfficerMillerCoors Since becoming president and chief commercial officer of Miller Brewing Co. in 2006, Tom Long has guided his company through several successful changes, including the joint venture agreement that created MillerCoors last July. Long also made the crucial decision to locate the newly merged company in downtown Chicago instead

Three-Mile Marketing

As John Matthews sees it, a store languishing in mediocrity is a store that has become wallpaper in the halls of retail.   "Generally, when starting a business, it’s easy to get people excited when its new and fresh," said Matthews, founder of Chicago-based retail marketing firm Gray Cat Enterprises. "After a few years, though,

Grocery Aisles Growing Sales

According to Nielsen’s Gas Monitor Report, when gas prices rose, consumers reacted by limiting the amount of fuel they bought during each visit to the pump. But this trend encouraged more trips to the fuel island. Additionally, higher fuel prices encouraged consumers to shop more at c-stores rather than travel to additional destinations. The economy

Store Brands Bring Big Bucks

Looking for ways to boost your grocery sales? Sales figures show that in today’s scary economy, shoppers are pinching pennies wherever they can—and one way that’s becoming increasingly popular is buying generic or so-called "house" brands. Gone are the days when generic brands looked, well, generic. Today’s generic brands are more attractively packaged, and the

The Industry’s Power 25

"AN OUTSTANDING LEADER," "INNOVATIVE," AND "A TRUE VISIONARY." Such high praise could only describe the outstanding leaders guiding the convenience store and petroleum industry during a period of economic turmoil. Convenience Store Decisions is proud to recognize these titans of industry in the second annual Power 25 issue. These influential business leaders were selected for

The Industry’s Power 25 (part 2)

Robert Myers President and CEOCasey’s General Stores Inc. About 40 years and 1,470 stores later, Casey’s General Stores still prefers those small Midwestern towns. If not for the small-town charm they offer, then at least for the collective $4.8 billion they generated this past year to make Casey’s a leader in the world of convenience.

The Industry’s Power 25 (part 3)

Donald ZietlowPresident and CEOKwik Trip Inc. Kwik Trip CEO Donald Zietlow and his team at the La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. have built a well-oiled network of facilities and operations that support more than 380 Kwik Trip and Kwik Star stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The Kwik Trip brand started in a small

The Industry’s Power 25 (part 4)

J. Michael Walsh President and CEO Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. It would be tough to overstate how important the company J. Michael Walsh leads is to the c-store industry. As one of the largest broad-line, full-service distributors of packaged consumer products to the convenience retail industry in North America, Core-Mark provides distribution and logistics services

Progress in Processing

Convenience store operators’ turbulent relationship with the credit card industry is set to enter a new phase in 2009 as a pair of legislative initiatives—one for consumers, the other a point of serious contention for retailers—come front and center. From both angles, facing off with credit card companies over the huge profits they’ve been reaping

Small Booths, Big Ideas

Sure, there were mammoth setups at the NACS show at McCormick Place in Chicago last month.  Some, like the energy drink makers whose legions of gorgeous gals were sporting free samples, boasted booths worthy of their own postal code. Likewise with the Dresser Wayne and Gilbarco Veeder-Root displays, whose setups offered a cornucopia of innovative

Chevron Honored as 2008 Chain of the Year

It’s been a challenging year for convenience store operators, marked by wild fuel price fluctuations and exorbitant credit card fees. Despite the adversity, Chevron stood apart as one of the premier industry leaders. By advancing its Image Refresh program, growing the Texaco brand and introducing a no-fee credit card for its branded marketers, it was

Ruler Cooler

Sarah Jackson and David Oberman may not realize it, but as a pair they embody a curious trend in the c-store industry’s packaged beverage category these days. “I used to drink energy drinks every day,” said Oberman, 20, standing outside a TravelCenters of America on Interstate 90 at the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. “I was an energy

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