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

OTP Makes Strong Push for More Shelf Space

With flavored cigarettes no longer available in the U.S., flavored cigars are in line for sharp sales gains. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. There is no secret that cigars, specifically little cigars and flavored little cigars, have grabbed the interest of smokers who can no longer buy flavored cigarettes because of federal regulations. But there

Beefing Up Snack Sales

The prevalence of meat snacks has grown a great deal in recent years as the market has expanded with innovative flavors and new varieties. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The meat snacks category, which many Americans consider all but synonymous with convenience stores, continues to build sales as well as prestige. New and exotic flavors

Integrating POS Solutions

Speed of service is crucial, but with all the services that convenience stores offer today communication between machines is key. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Greater speed of service and reduced operational costs can both be achieved through new integrated point-of-sale (POS) solutions. Case in point: Kocolene Marketing LLC in Seymour, Ind., which is making

Revitalized Roller Grill Sales

Hot dogs and tornados continue to provide chains with inexpensive, labor-friendly meal solutions that allow store operators to expand their fresh food offering. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. One of the most maligned pieces of equipment in all of foodservice—the roller grill—remains the backbone of many convenience store foodservice programs, offering an inexpensive, labor-friendly way

Choosing the Perfect Pizza Program

Whether going with a branded option or developing a proprietary menu, pizza appeals to a wide variety of pallets.     By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Everybody loves pizza, but which pizza? And what will it take to get it to your customers? These are the kinds of questions convenience store operators need to ask themselves

Weigel’s Marks A Milestone with Aggressive Expansion Plans

As it celebrates its 80th anniversary, the Knoxville, Tenn., chain is opening new stores, embracing an expanded foodservice program and investing in cutting-edge technology. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. With lofty expansion plans ahead, a focus on foodservice and a strong push to capture the elusive female demographic, Weigel’s Inc. is poised to make a

Customers Take Coffee Personally

Convenience stores are expanding their brew programs and condiment offerings, allowing guests to customize each cup. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. Jerry Weiner watched in awe as a customer crafted coffee to her specification at a Rutter’s Farm Store. She combined three coffee varieties in her cup and added at least five different creamer flavors

Managing the Distribution Network

There are endless perks and possibilities for convenience store chains of all sizes that embrace self delivery. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In the highly competitive convenience store industry, retailers must constantly search out new ways to control expenses, boost profits and improve margins. For chains of a certain size, self-distribution has the potential to

Packing a Foodservice Solution

Whether prepared fresh on site or delivered daily from a third-party commissary,sandwiches provide convenience stores the flexibility to promote a diverse menu. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Russell’s Convenience Stores got lucky in the mid-1990s when an upstart bakery approached the chain about selling its sandwiches at the chain’s company-owned locations. Russell’s, based in Denver,

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