Lighting the Way to Profitability

A wide array of tobacco accessories to complement cigarettes and cigars shows customers you’re serious about tobacco and incites impulse sales. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Many retailers recognize that it’s beneficial to step out from behind the counter to teach customers about smokeless alternatives and educate them on e-cigarettes, but taking the same approach

Tobacco Forges an Electronic Transformation

E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, but for convenience stores they are beginning to make a big impact on sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While electronic cigarettes show promise as a growing tobacco subcategory, two issues are threatening its widespread growth. One is the looming threat of government regulation, which most agree is inevitable,

The Business of Branding

With companies across all retail channels vying for convenience customers, the pressure is on c-store operators to protect their market share. By Greg Ehrlich, Contributing Editor. As the convenience store industry continues to evolve, one area that is demanding greater attention is brand image. Once a concern primarily for larger chains, brand image is a

Empowering Loyalty Customers

Retailers are energizing their rewards programs and using social media to keep loyalty customers active. The modern loyalty program may be 28 years old, but in a saturated market, chains are turning up the creativity to gain customer attention by pushing game-based promotions, cause marketing, discounts on fuel and using social networking to drive interest.

Serving Today’s Smokers

Led by the Gallagher family, Smoker Friendly continues the fight to sell tobacco legally and responsibly. By John Lofstock, Editor. While the federal government seems intent on eliminating tobacco products altogether, tobacco remains a legal product in the U.S. enjoyed by legal-aged adults exercising their right to smoke, dip or chew. The right to enjoy

Fuel Rewards Luring Customers

With gas prices rising, loyalty programs are rewarding customers with steep discounts. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With fuel prices approaching record highs in May, customers were thinking carefully about where they stop for gas and are paying more attention to rewards programs that offer cents-off fuel gallons purchased. Convenience store chains are responding with

Maintaining Cigarette Sales

Despite taxation and regulation, convenience store retailers remain optimistic about this lucrative category, though a potential ban on menthol products is looming. By John Lofstock, Editor. In an era in which the sports page sounds like the business page, talk of selling cigarettes inevitably sounds like political rhetoric. When c-store operators talk cigarettes these days

Tobacco Sales Rolling Along

As consumers embrace roll your own (RYO) tobacco, retailers are seeing a boost in sales of accessories such as rolling papers, cigarette tubes and rolling machines. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokers seeking a safe harbor from cigarette tax increases have made port in the roll your own (RYO) segment. Many have been pleasantly surprised

Flourishing After the Floods

After suffering extensive water damage at its Nashville, Tenn., store, TravelCenters of America has reopened the unit with a new look and a host of modern features. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Just a year ago, the TravelCenters of America truck stop in Nashville, Tenn., fell victim to the historic flooding that ravaged Middle Tennessee

Taking Foodservice From Good To Great

With fresh food sales booming, operators are turning their attention to take-out packaging and finding that with so many options available, choosing the proper solution can be as tricky as selecting the foodservice program itself. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Convenience store foodservice programs have been big business and growing for a decade thanks to

Surging Demand for Ethnic Foods

With the growth of specialty restaurants, consumers today are exposed to new foods they may not be used to finding locally, and it’s creating a demand at convenience stores. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Ethnic offerings are driving foodservice sales at convenience stores hoping to diversify beyond basics like hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches. But

Poultry Fuels Healthy Food Sales

Whether it’s sandwiches, wraps or salads, chicken’s flexibility allows for a variety of healthy menu options. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience stores are going fresh and healthy, but not quickly enough for consumers, a new research report suggests. Convenience stores have been a growing outlet for produce, but consumers want more. More than half (52%),

Targeting Convenience Store Customers

MSA and Paradigm Sample, in partnership with Convenience Store Decisions, are gaining insights into the shopping patterns of today’s c-store customers. By Trish Temmerman, Management Science Associates (MSA). Tough economic times and stiff competition across the supply chain make it even more critical for convenience store operators to have a solid understanding of their customers,

Healthy Options for All Income Levels

As the wellness market matures, consumers across all demographics are looking to manage any number of specific health concerns. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. When Bob Sickles was growing up on his family’s New Jersey farm, he ate plenty of homegrown produce and acquired an affinity for non-processed foods. “Of course, we had Pop Tarts

Building Bottled Water Sales

The cold vault is overrun with new products and traditional favorites. Chains can’t afford to waste cooler space on brands that don’t sell. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Water continues to briskly flow into and out of convenience stores. It’s bottled, it’s branded, it’s often flavored and, increasingly, it’s infused with ingredients that are good

Cornering the Smokeless Tobacco Market

Keeping sets fresh—allocating shelf space, rotating product, keeping tabs on expiration dates and weeding out slow sellers in favor of new items—is the key to maintaining strong sales. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience store operators are enjoying the growing popularity of smokeless tobacco products, but they are also being forced to keep a wary eye

Forecasting Snack Bar Sales

The food bar category experienced double-digit sales growth in 2010, but 2011 could prove to be a challenging year. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The snack bars/granola bars category experienced sharp sales gains in 2010 as on-the-go consumers were looking for quick meal solutions that wouldn’t break the bank. Total snack bar sales jumped 11.26%

Quix Fix to Store Management

In addition to expanding its contract management business both nationally and abroad, Strasburger Enterprises is growing its Quix c-store brand with a renewed focus on foodservice. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Wherever oil companies and convenience store chains are divesting stores or taking on new assets, Strasburger Enterprises is often a lifeline on speed dial.

Gilligan Oil Pushes a Multi Brand Foodservice Strategy

Newest location features Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway in an effort to target customers throughout the day. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Gilligan Oil Co. is aggressively embarking on a new foodservice model that aims to combine its c-stores and two QSR franchise partners under one roof to better pull a variety of customers into the

Sweets & Snacks Expo Debuts New Trends

“Consumers look for value, exciting flavors and nutrition when seeking new sweets and snacks,” says NCA president. More than 2,000 new candy and snack products debuted this week at the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO, May 24-26, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. As the largest confectionery, cookie and snack trade show in the

The Power of Chocolate

Once considered a “guilty pleasure,” chocolate’s potential health benefits are attracting customers. By Howard Riell, Associated Editor. If there is one category that has historically been immune from an economic recession it is chocolate. Despite the difficult times many households have had to endure over the past two years, chocolate is one of those treats

Expanding Confectionery Sales

Functional and sugar-free gums are predicted to see strong growth through 2014, tapping into the increasing demand for health-oriented products. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Gum manufacturers are giving Americans more healthy options, additional flavors and better packaging, creating an opportunity for category managers to remerchandise the candy aisle to capitalize on this exciting product

PCI Compliance: Benefiting the Industry in Multiple Ways

Convenience store operators must stop treating the need for compliance as a nuisance. It is a complex part of the business that must be faced head on. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Just one month ago, Chase, the second-largest U.S. bank, plus a host of other well-known businesses, notified customers that their e-mail addresses had

Enhancing Prepaid Profitability

The convenience and budgeting control features that stored valued products offer holds appeal for a wide range of Americans. By Joe Bush Contributing Editor. Prepaid’s profit potential is fueled by shifts in the marketplace, wider social acceptance and the nation’s growing population of “unbanked” lower-income consumers. And while store-level merchandising and marketing need to be

Kum & Go Receives Energy Efficiency Leader Award

Five newly opened stores are expected to consume 20% less energy thanks to efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) solutions. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. Kum & Go’s commitment to environmental stewardship has earned it the “Energy Efficiency Leader Award” from Hussmann and Trane, both brands of Ingersoll Rand, for adopting sustainable energy

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