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

Lighting It Right

In the ongoing quest for reducing energy costs, many operators are introducing LEDs in coolers, under canopies and even inside the store, but how do you know if an upgrade is right for your chain? By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In these tough economic times, lighting upgrades could provide a bright spot on the balance

Cigar Sales Holding Strong

Flavored products and natural leaf wrappers remain popular with consumers despite increased taxation and looming FDA intervention. By Frank Seltzer, Contributing Editor. Machine-made or mass-market cigars are by far the largest segment of the cigar universe. While premium cigars get most of the notice in magazines and blogs, the reality is that most cigar smokers

The Electronic Frontier

The popularity of e-cigarettes has risen substantially over the past couple of years, giving retailers an opportunity to make up for shrinking tobacco profits. By Frank Seltzer, Contributing Editor. Electronic cigarettes are a relatively new product, but for convenience stores they are beginning to make a big impact on sales. Electronic cigarettes were invented just

Portability Pushes Hot Food Sales

Convenience store operators that infuse their appetizer menus with “craveable” items can expect to gain additional consumer traffic. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumers are trying to cut their dining budgets, in many cases by eliminating starter items. To drive cravings and create interest in appetizers, operators must innovate with exciting dressings and dips, unusual

Breaking the Cycle of Plastic

Retailers may have different strategies when it comes to ATMs, but with interchange fees at a record high, operators should be developing programs to get cash in customers’ hands to reduce card transactions. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. ATMs are ubiquitous in convenience stores, providing cash in a bright, secure, warm and mostly private environment,

Managing Today’s Retail Workforce

While the economy may be struggling along, the third annual CSD/Humetrics HR Benchmarking Survey finds that the industry’s turnover is shrinking, hiring is increasing and investments in technology have never been higher. In order to support the convenience store industry’s forecasting and planning responsibilities for 2011, Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics have collaborated on our

Complying with Cigarette Sales Restrictions

As the noose tightens on menthol products, convenience store retailers are learning to accept the latest limitations placed on tobacco products. By: John Lofstock, Editor. Cigarettes will soon carry new warning labels as the question for retailers becomes how to market a product whose package basically urges consumers not to buy it. Federal legislation handed

The Growing Demand for Fresh Foods

In today’s health-conscious world, convenience stores are expanding their menus to include more healthy snacks and meals. By: John Lofstock, Editor. While cash-strapped consumers are cooking at home more often to help ease tight budgets, a new study by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) found that these shoppers are on the lookout for

Energy-Efficient Tips for Controlling Costs

Choosing the right equipment  and honing maintenance procedures will help to significantly reduce energy expenses. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Convenience stores looking to save money on operating costs should start examining their cooler and lighting expenses, in addition to the lighting inside the coolers—for simple ways to save big bucks. Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N

Avoiding Cold Vault Cannibalization

With new healthier beverage options becoming available retailers face the task of resetting coolers to maximize sales. By: By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Who would have thought that packaged beverages could cause so many people so much angst? Heightened environmental and health concerns and the spotlight on childhood obesity have been used to cast a

Food Fight at the Breakfast Bar

While convenience stores continue to battle QSRs for coffee sales, a new clash has ensued for the morning daypart as a whole. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Despite busier lifestyles, breakfast remains the most important meal of the day to most customers. The Food Channel’s recent breakfast survey found that 95% of respondents viewed their

Industry Steps Up to Support Japan, Charitable Causes

Convenience stores continue to play an important role in raising much-needed funds in times of trouble. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. When disaster strikes, convenience stores are often at their best stepping up to support the community. But what makes the industry so special is that it often continues to give back long after the

Pump & Pantry Poised for Growth

With an innovative store design, an updated fresh food offering and a new loyalty program in the works, the Nebraska chain is set for a strong 2011. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Pump & Pantry Convenience Stores is pushing forward with an aggressive plan to redesign its chain of 43 stores. The Grand Island, Neb.