How E-Cigs Are Spurring A Growing Market

While stakeholders await finalization of possible regulatory policies, convenience stores tap into e-tobacco’s vast potential. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor If one were to describe the current state of the e-tobacco industry, “mixed results” might be the most accurate description. On one hand, year-to-year pricing for the past 12 consecutive periods is down, according


How Good Supply Can Lead to More Cigar Sales

C-stores are learning that good supply and staying attentive to customer purchasing patterns are driving cigar sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Cigar sales are trending upward and c-stores are responding in kind by adding SKUs, honing assortments, maintaining prices, offering fresher product in resealable packs and stocking a popular, ever-expanding variety of flavors. IRI’s

How C-stores Can Capitalize on The Vaping Trend

In the fast-growing vaping marketplace, c-stores are discovering where they fit. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor It doesn’t seem that long ago that vaporizers comprised a little-known product category for convenience stores. Really, this segment of the non-combustible electronic nicotine devices (ENDs) industry was just revving up. Today, vapors/tanks/mods (VTMs) have locked onto the

How To Profit With A Pizza Program

While quick-service restaurants have been struggling with flat or slumping pizza sales over the past few years, convenience stores have been experiencing double-digit growth in the segment. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Based on a premise that more options would lead to more sales, Pizza Hut has amped up its menu to give consumers twice

How To Make Sure Your Chicken Offering Rules the Roost

Chicken is the No. 1 protein on restaurant and other foodservice menus. It’s economical and can be prepared in so many different ways, making it a customer favorite. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor According to the United States Department of Agriculture, per capita consumption of chicken is projected to be 89.6 pounds this year, up

How to Make Unique Roller Grill Offerings Sizzle

In a growing number of c-stores, roller grills have come a long way from being an entry-level hot dog tool. Now they serve as a provider of a wide variety of innovative meals and snack foods. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Not so long ago, most roller grills were like drinking from an iffy water

How To Unlock EMV Rules

Convenience retailers are working ahead of EMV deadline to meet compliance standards. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor A monumental change to the retailing industry will occur in October when merchants who are not EMV compliant will become responsible for any fraudulent purchases made with non-EMV credit or debit cards at their outlets. It’s a change

Retailers Reveal Plenti

New consumer loyalty program might be a jewel of a platform for convenience stores. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor U.S. shoppers are fond of rewards and have approximately 3.3 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs, according to the 2015 Colloquy Loyalty Census. Research indicates that nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans would prefer a rewards program

Reaping Tax Savings

A little known tax deduction, Section 199 could save some convenience stores money—if they know what to look for. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor Can a convenience store convince the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that they are “manufacturers” or engaged in “qualified production activities?” Given our complex and often confusing tax rules, it may

Optimal Inventory Options

Without the right strategies and tools in place, tracking such line items as fuel pricing and in-store inventory can be a tricky—and costly—proposition. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor With stores located in highly competitive marketplaces, Kyle Lawrence, president of Kimball, Mich.-based By-Lo Oil Co., found himself constantly adjusting fuel pricing for the company’s Speedy Q

A C-Store for All Seasons

With the means to stand out, Seasons Corner Market is separating itself from its New England competitors. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In one way, convenience stores are like suspects in a police lineup. Usually, it’s distinguishing features that make them the most noticeable. Whether it’s following the hottest foodservice trends, regaling patrons with a

Pump It Up

Smart forecourt technology comes in various shapes and solutions and often fits any operation, depending on the retailer’s needs. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Despite traditionally thin margins, fuel sales still remain the center of gravity for most convenience stores. That conception was on full display during the last few months as declining fuel prices

Earning Energy Efficiency

From LED lighting upgrades to energy control systems, implementing more energy-friendly strategies can add to a c-store’s bottom line. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Changing the light bulbs doesn’t have to occur only when one burns out. Rather, by becoming more energy efficient, stores can bring energy costs down while improving the customer experience at

Cashing in With Digital

Digital gift cards provide an opportunity for convenience stores to improve customer service, appeal to a younger demographic and add to in-store sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor With more emphasis on speed and convenience, customers increasingly enjoy being able to pay on the go, with a swipe of their phones. According to a report

Combating Onsite Crime

Technology and training are helping make stores less vulnerable to lawbreakers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Because of the nature of how convenience retailers must conduct business, stores are prime targets for theft. However, with effective employee training combined with better technologies on the market, such as smart safes and advanced video systems, retailers are

Accessorizing Tobacco Sales

With tobacco sales picking up, customers are also relying on c-stores for tobacco accessories. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor At an average price of less $2 per unit, tobacco accessories, such as lighters, rolling papers, cigar cutters and pipe accessories, may seem like a low-demand category for convenience stores. However, according to Information Resources

Salty Snacks Stimulate

Salty snacks are getting suggestive, with sweet and spicy variations abounding. With the Sweets & Snacks Expo scheduled this month in Chicago, the category is generating as much interest as it ever has. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Seeds are taking over the snack aisles at some convenience stores across the country. Cubby’s Convenience Stores,

Breath of Fresh Air

Gum and mints continue to battle for c-store share, but innovation promises to keep variety on the shelves. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor After months of postponements since Hershey first announced it was developing a new mint, the candymaker recently released Ice Breakers Cool Blast Chews—priced at approximately $2 for a 0.8-ounce slide pack

Consumers Sweet On Chocolate

Despite last year’s price increases, Americans are still treating themselves to the little luxury that is chocolate. Retailers report how they control this ever-growing category and keep their focus on consumers’ sweet spot. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It’s hard to think of anything that 85% of Americans would agree on. One consensus, however, is

Delivering Freshness

Flavorful and healthy are what American consumers are craving, and expect to get it whether it’s made-to-order or grab-and-go. Some retailers explain how they use fresh and—increasingly—ethnic products to satisfy customers’ expectations. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In a recent survey by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), almost two in three Americans (64%)

Building a Robust Sandwich Program

When it comes to foodservice, some retailers have found that well-equipped suppliers can give their sandwich offerings a lift. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Running a successful oil and gas retail business for nearly a century is a world away from operating convenience stores with foodservice operations. Just ask Bailey Lyden, vice president of retail

Holt Oil Looking Ahead

A family-grown business for three generations, Holt Oil Co. is casting a wider net in North Carolina’s coastal region. By David Bennett, Senior Editor At times, businesses are so focused on future growth they forget their ties to the community. Fayetteville, N.C.-based Holt Oil Co. doesn’t forget either community or family. In positioning the company

Counting Down to EMV Liability

In a few months, retailers not prepared to accept EMV credit and debit cards could find themselves liable for purchases made with counterfeit cards. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor As the second quarter of 2015 begins, retailers have approximately 100 business days to prepare for the EMV fraud liability deadline of Oct. 1. Those merchants

Smokeless Growth Continues

Customer loyalty and smart retailing are helping the category prosper. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Despite the 2015 federal budget proposal calling for tax increases on other tobacco products, which could negatively impact the category, c-stores report continued growth in the smokeless tobacco category known for brand loyalty. According to the Chicago-based market research firm

The E-volution of Vapor

As e-cigarettes continue to generate headlines, c-stores are addressing a maturing product category. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor In 2006, retailers were unsure as to how American consumers would react to a non-combustible smoking product. Would it catch on or taper off as an unsuccessful experiment? Nearly a decade later, the category has more