Turkey Hill Supports its Hometown Heroes

While the recession rages on at home and many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, far too many people have forgotten the work our brave men and women are doing overseas. So, Turkey Hill rallied its own troops to send them a message: You are not forgotten. Last month, the Pennsylvania-based operator of Turkey

Summer Fuel Outlook

By Brian L. Milne, Refined Fuels Editor, Telvent DTN Understanding the market movements for energy commodities in 2009 has become complicated. The old way of looking at the market through the lens of supply and demand seems to hold less relevance. Now, broad-based economic indicators are overruling an inventory buildup or a slump in demand.

Changing its Stripes

Susser Holdings Corp. at a glance A dynamic marketer Based in Corpus Christi, Texas, Susser Holdings is the largest non-refiner, convenience store operator in Texas, with additional stores in Oklahoma and New Mexico. It operates 516 convenience stores through its Stripes LLC division and is the 19th largest c-store chain in the U.S. Convenience Store

Acquisitions Fuel EZ Energy’s Growth

EZ Energy USA At a Glance Headquarters: Mansfield, Ohio Stores: 92 (68 company-operated and 24 dealer-operated sites) Total Estimated Sales: $480 million Markets of Operation: northeast and central Ohio, Pittsburgh Retail Brands: ampm, Easy Trip Fuel Brands: BP, Marathon Fuel Volume: 160 million gallons annually While many marketers are struggling to ride out this economic

Pizza Popularity Drives Food Sales

Some version of pizza has been around ever since a working man in Ancient Greece discovered that a flat round bread (plankuntos) embellished with assorted toppings made a hearty, thrifty and convenient dining experience. Little did that anonymous cook suspect that his humble meal would one day launch a major industry. According to Blumenfeld and

Frozen Sales Heating Up

Since its invention about half a century ago, the frozen dispensed beverage has become a convenience store tradition, with three out of every four U.S. convenience outlets housing a frozen beverage bar. While frozen dispensed beverages are not a huge portion of the typical store’s overall sales, the product is profitable, thanks to a gross

Data Security Standards: Are You Prepared?

PCI compliance deadlines continue to barrel toward the convenience store industry, yet many operators are still not up to speed on precisely what they need to do, or how to do it. The Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), developed by the PCI Security Standards Council and endorsed by American Express, Discover Financial Services,

Safe at the Store

The times necessitate that store systems do more–and few store systems are more crucial to a retailer’s success than cash handling and security. While retail technology has focused on point-of-sale (POS) systems that integrate everything from transaction accounting to inventory management, one of the most recent areas of opportunity involves the integration of cash handling

Enhancing Store Security

Construction Investments Slowing

It’s costing more than ever to build new convenience stores, according to the NACS’ 2009 State of the Industry report. This news comes at a time when the economy is dragging down sales and profits. As a result, operators face a crucial challenge as they try to grow business organically: build or renovate? The answer

Design of the Times

Savvy c-store operators know that everything in a store should be contributing to sales, including displays and fixtures. More retailers are coming to realize that display and fixture design can, if done right, provide the flexibility needed to highlight food offerings as well as dry goods products and keep the sales space fresh, interesting and

A Bear of a Store

With its farmer’s market and original grilled peanut butter menu, Scotty’s Convenience Store and Grill, at the University of California Riverside (UCR) has won the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) “Best in the Business” award for excellence in marketing and merchandising. Scotty’s was one of 38 entries in the competition, which

Demand Grows for Juices and Teas

Tea Truths The U.S. is the birthplace of iced tea. More than 80% of tea consumed here is still sold as an iced drink. Tea sales in the U.S. are expected to exceed a phenomenal $10 billion in 2010 for both beverage and non-beverage categories, according to Worldteaexpo.com In the U.S., 37% of consumers prefer

Nice N Easy Named CSD’s 2009 Chain of the Year

Nice guys do finish first. Nice N Grocery Shoppes Inc., the Canastota, N.Y. operator of 82 convenience stores, was named Convenience Store Decisions’ 2009 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. Nice N Easy will be honored at an invitation-only gala at the Wynn Las Vegas during the NACS Show on Oct. 21.  “The last line

The Rise of the Aztec Empire

San Diego State University At a Glance San Diego State University (SDSU), founded in 1897, is the fifth-largest university in California with a student body of approximately 38,000 full- and part-time students. Its retail arm, Aztec Shops Ltd., was founded in 1932 as a not-for-profit corporation that functions primarily as an auxiliary of the university.

Roll-Your-Own Climbs Amid Tax Hit

Mounting cigarette costs are driving smokers to test cost-effective tobacco alternatives, such as roll your own (RYO). The 2009 NACS State of the Industry report, which polled 156 retail firms with 20,553 stores as of December 2008, found that pipe and cigarette tobacco sales had the strongest growth of all tobacco products and were up

Gum Sales Grow

The retail sector is still struggling overall, but as some segments continue to sink, others rise. American consumers are still buying billions of dollars of candy each year, and this isn’t changing as they resist making major purchases. Even during a recession, American consumers still have a sweet tooth, which explains why gum and candy

Developing a Late Night Menu

C-store operators burning the midnight oil thinking of ways to increase their business may have inadvertently stumbled upon their answer. While late night has grown into an identifiable daypart on its own, too many retailers either haven’t yet recognized it as such or simply don’t have the traffic to warrant promoting it. But for those

Cultivating Loyal Customers

Savvy c-store operators are using customer loyalty/scan-data-analysis programs to improve merchandise planning, forecasting and point-of-sale (POS) data management, and to provide a technology platform for long-term growth. When done well, the inevitable result is to empower store personnel to react quickly, make more informed decisions and improve cost effectiveness, so they can simplify customers’ lives.

Wild Ride Continues for Cigarettes

Once again, cigarettes dominated in-store sales, accounting for nearly one in every three dollars spent in stores, but cigarette gross margins continued to plummet, falling to 15.3%. These low cigarette margins dropped the category to third in terms of gross margin contribution (16%) behind foodservice (23.9%) and packaged beverages (16.6%) Margins promise to continue falling

High Margins Propel General Merchandise

The general merchandise/novelty category provides retailers with a unique opportunity to capture customers’ personal interests in a high-margin item. Novelty has evolved into a core category because retailers can anticipate 30-60% margins on novelty products. With such strong profit potential, chains in major markets can earn about $35,000 a year per store from the novelty

New Flavors, Demand Drives OTP

Despite the SCHIP bill and mounting state taxes, smokeless tobacco products have experienced a strong year packed with innovation, new flavors and increased consumer demand. According to the NACS 2009 State of the Industry report, smokeless tobacco sales surged 6.1% to $2.96 billion last year. The average c-store totaled $1,703 per month in smokeless sales

Prepaid Sales Surging

Whether it’s phone cards, credit cards or prepaid gaming cards being promoted by 7-Eleven, prepaid sales are hot, and retailers would be wise to get in on the action. For example, c-store operators with a high number of ethnic customers could capitalize on the growing reloadable cell phone card market. The top destinations for overseas

New Products, Fuel Dispensed Beverages

The cold frozen dispensed category is undergoing some major changes these days, with many c-stores adding milkshakes and even energy slushees to their offerings. The additions continue to make the cold and frozen dispensed category one of the hottest in the convenience store industry. “We’ve had great success with using energy drinks like Monster, Rock

Role of Technology Expanding

Whether it’s PCI compliance, overcoming high credit card fees or getting more out of a current point-of-sale (POS) system, investing in technology has never been more important for c-stores. With PCI compliance deadlines looming, many operators are still not up to speed on what they need to do, or how to do it. The Payment

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