Updated: Gulf Returning to its Retail Roots

The iconic fuel brand is expanding into new markets with a fresh image and a renewed focus on operations. By John Lofstock, Editor. There was a time several decades ago when Gulf wasn’t just a downstream oil company—it was an integrated powerhouse with operations across several continents, from upstream to downstream, and with a heavy

Valero Launches Mystery Shopper Program

Stores will be evaluated three times a year to ensure customer needs are met and employees are providing a positive retail experience. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Valero has partnered with Maritz Research to launch a new mystery shopping program, called Commitment to Excellence. As part of the new program, each of the company’s Valero,

EZ Energy Bolsters the Easy Trip Brand

Fresh after moving into its new headquarters, the Ohio chain is reimaging company-owned stores, enhancing its foodservice program and signed a deal to acquire 30 more properties this fall. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In conjunction with its fourth anniversary year, EZ Energy USA Inc. is prepped for an aggressive expansion of both its store

Frozen Beverages Appealing to Younger Consumers

New products, flavors and sweeteners have helped energize sales. ew market research from Y-Pulse LLC shows that today’s preteens and teens are interested in more sophisticated and trendy beverages, including those served up in convenience stores and even their school cafeteria. In a recent online survey, Y-Pulse asked middle and junior high school students to

Thorntons Inc. Named 2011 Convenience Store Chain of the Year

Outstanding service, a sincere dedication to its team members and an ongoing commitment to convenience retailing earn the Louisville, Ky.-based chain the industry’s oldest and most prestigious award. Continuing a tradition it began in 1990, Convenience Store Decisions is proud to announce Thorntons Inc. as its 2011 Convenience Store Chain of Year. Thorntons, which will

Securing the Convenience Store

Effective cash management solutions can be networked and integrated into existing POS systems to provide remote cash monitoring, further enabling a safer retail environment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Retail success doesn’t just mean keeping money coming in, but preventing money from going out. And while normal business expenses are inevitable, theft is not. Being

Adopting “Green” Practices

MotoMart, Sunoco and Rutter’s Farm Stores are among the top convenience store chains making energy efficiency a priority. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With operating costs rising at an alarming rate, convenience stores are getting serious about energy efficiency. From LEDs that help brighten stores and reduce maintenance costs, to energy management systems and skylights,

Improving Retail Retention

In a down economy, employees have fewer job opportunities, but retailers would be remiss to overlook company morale simply because employees have fewer options. By John Lofstock, Editor. We live in a 24/7 stressful society, filled with uncertainty in the job market, the economy, competition, etc. A large percentage of employees admit to being unhappy

Protecting Profits with Video Surveillance

Prominently placed security cameras can help deter potential thieves and identify those who do steal. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. A store cashier pockets the $20 bill that a busy commuter hands him to pay for fuel. A shopper picks up a tube of lip balm and casually drops it into her purse. A customer

Effective Visual Merchandising

By using creative store displays, retailers are making a certain connection with potential customers, one that is long lasting and makes them more apt to make a purchase. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Are you showing your wares as effectively as possible? According to the Convenience Consumer Insights (cci) Panel, the first-of-its-kind mobile research panel

Keeping Pace With Foodservice Trends

Whether it’s a branded food program or a proprietary deli offering, focusing on quality ingredients, outstanding service and consumer needs has helped boost industry sales. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and value pricing when choosing a foodservice solution and convenience stores are answering the call with innovative

All Aboard the Organic Bandwagon

Natural and locally-grown foods are among the latest foodservice trends, but can c-stores meet this growing demand without alienating its core consumer base? By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Retailers who toured the National Restaurant Show in May know natural, organic and other healthy food options took the show floor by storm. In fact, the National

Serving Today’s Students

The Rochester Institute of Technology’s Global Village has earned accolades for its new convenience store, restaurants and international flavor. By John Lofstock, Editor. Long known for its high academic standards, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can add award-winning convenience store retailer to its impressive list of accolades. After nearly three years in the planning

Preparing for the Demand Revolution

In a world of increasingly instant gratification, what customers are demanding and how they want it is beginning to alter the way companies do business. At the 2011 Sweets & Snacks Expo, Rick Kash of The Cambridge Group and author of How Companies Win, spoke on the changing landscape that operators and manufacturers must navigate

Sky’s The Limit at Quick Chek’s Balloon Festival

Record crowds expected at Health and Wellness Sunday to revel in music, food and fun. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Quick Chek Food Stores will kick off the 29th annual Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America, on July 29 at Solberg Airport

VPS Convenience Store Group Plans Aggressive Expansion

Sun Capital’s c-store division is bulking up its foodservice operations and rolling out new tobacco stores across the Southeast. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With two acquisitions under its belt already this year, VPS Convenience Store Group, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., is poised for additional growth, with its eyes focused on opportunities

Commissary Sales Gaining Momentum

While commissary products are growing in popularity at c-stores, not all retailers are at the same level. Luckily, options abound in ways to integrate commissary products for all quartiles. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Commissaries and a centralized distribution system are becoming more popular across all foodservice segments in both convenience stores and supermarkets as

Driving Snacks Sales

While private label products are improving, quality and value remain critical components for all snacking options. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “Yes, but…” That’s the all-too-common answer to the question of whether or not price promotions can drive snack sales in convenience stores. Yes, in a lousy economy people look for and respond to savings.

Energy Sales Soaring

While there may have been some concerns about the growth of shots and full-size cans, analysts report the category has never been stronger. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Brent Howard isn’t just a retailer of energy drinks and shots. He’s a user. Division manager for Sun Pacific Energy in Kennewick, Wash., Howard has seen the

Foodservice Equipment Opens Doors for C-Stores

More and more operators are embracing bakery production and merchandising challenges to create fresh-baked opportunities. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. With tobacco sales in decline and gasoline prices volatile, convenience stores are looking to other categories to draw more customers and improve profitability. Foodservice in its varied forms—from simply hot coffee and frozen beverages to

The Science of Scan Data

As retail technology evolves, convenience store operators have the tools to turn sales figures into actionable information. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Thanks to advanced technology, retailers can now collect data at the point of sale that tells them what is moving out of their stores, when it sells, who buys it and at what

Smokeless Sales Show Promise

While managing new products and planograms is vital, retailers will need to keep an eye out for federal tax increases and FDA intervention over the next 12 months. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokeless tobacco has outperformed expectations for three straight years—which, while good, leaves many in the industry fearing it’s only a matter of

Strong Demand for Cigars

Flavored and single-serve cigars represent a real opportunity for convenience stores to boost tobacco sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With flavored cigarettes no longer available in the U.S., flavored cigars are in line for sharp sales gains. But with FDA having declared last year that it’s got the cigar industry in its sights, retailers

Developing a Fuel Strategy Amid Soaring Costs

High gas prices mean more headaches for retailers. Experts weigh in on the best ways to survive the market volatility. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With gas prices skyrocketing, retailers are feeling the squeeze from every angle. But there are unique opportunities for savvy retailers to reduce fuel expenditures, which will afford them a better

Focusing on Foodservice

Burgers, brats and sausages continue to drive sales among core convenience store customers. By John Lofstock, Editor. While customers may say they want healthy and organic foods, a Technomic report found that 91% of consumers said they eat a burger at least once a month and 44% have a burger at least once a week.

css.php