Couche-Tard Pushes U.S. Expansion

When Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. was presented with CSD’s Chain of the Year honors in 2007, the company’s smart, strong growth was cited as the foundation for the honor. A little more than two years later and not much has changed. The company is still regarded as one of the savviest marketers in two countries, and

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Innovation a Hallmark at Sheetz

In 1952, Bob Sheetz purchased an Altoona, Pa., dairy store, one of five retail operations owned by his father. His second store opened its doors in 1963 and the third opened five years later. By 1969, Bob’s brother Steve was serving as general manager, and the pair decided to open one store each year through

Dual Branding Strategy Drives Chevron

It’s been a challenging couple of years for convenience store operators, marked by wild fuel price fluctuations and exorbitant credit card fees. Despite the adversity, Chevron stood apart as one of the premier industry leaders. By advancing its Image Refresh program at ExtraMile convenience stores, growing the Texaco brand and introducing a no-fee credit card

MAPCO’s New Direction

Great stores, outstanding service and a commitment to its people helped MAPCO Express garner Chain of the Year honors in 1996. The company has changed quite a bit since then, but the focus on convenience store operations remains stronger than ever. MAPCO Express, as it exists today, was formed with Delek US Holdings’ acquisition of

FDA Looks at Future of Tobacco Products

Confusion Reigns Supreme C-store operators aren’t the only ones left scratching their heads by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) first foray into tobacco regulation.During the FDA’s teleconference, Catherine Lorraine, a lawyer for the administration, said, “I just want to draw your attention to the portion of the definition of a cigarette, which specifically refers

Growth, Innovation Propel Kum & Go

It’s been an eventful five decades for Kum & Go, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Entrepreneurs W.A. Krause and T.S. Gentle founded Kum & Go in 1959 under the original name of the Hampton Oil Co., which later changed to Krause Gentle Corp. In the 1970s, the co-founders wanted a name that would

Turning a Foodservice Profit

C-store operators looking to grow their foodservice programs just may be overlooking, or at least underestimating, one of the best tools at their disposal: the humble roller grill. As in-store menus have expanded to include fresh foods and entrees, the time-honored roller grill has quietly continued to please customers and bolster bottom lines thanks to

Riding the Hess Express

The first Hess gas station was opened in 1960, and the first Hess Express opened in 1997 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hess Express was named Chain of the Year nine years ago amidst its aggressive southern retail expansion. “When we were recognized with the Chain of the Year award in 2000, we had about 900

Managing the Crowded Cold Vault

When it comes to packaged beverages, what gets put on the shelves may not be what customers are looking for and, in this economy, that’s a situation retailers must avoid. Making wise, informed buying decisions is the crucial difference between boosting cooler sales and blowing a lot of hot air. From colas to energy drinks,

Three Decades of Wisdom and Experience

Chief Financial Officer, Certified Oil I joined Certified Oil in 1975. As a CPA, my background was in auditing and taxation. Being in the gasoline business with Certified over the past 34 years has made me use every bit of knowledge and experience I acquired just to keep up with the fast pace and complexity

Meeting the Demand for Fresh Foods

Americans are more amenable to buying meals at convenience stores, but won’t budge when it comes to quality, price or convenience factors like portability and packaging. That means there’s the potential for some real money in home meal replacement (HMR), but it has to be done well, and in just the right locations. Then there’s

New Forecourt Moves

Though gas prices have dropped significantly from a year ago, forecourt-driven sales are still a challenge for many convenience stores because people aren’t buying gas as freely as they did several years ago. The reason? Our troubled economy makes it tough for many to afford the long car trips. Fewer trips mean fewer opportunities to

Targeting New Customers

Gaining market share has never been more important than it is today, when a tough economy is forcing customers to hang on to their money longer. This means that c-store retailers seeking new customers need to become aware of what specific groups need in order to improve their marketing strategies. One such group is the

Smokeless Sales Stay Strong

Sorting through all of the dynamics at work in the smokeless tobacco category is proving a complex calculation for convenience store operators and consumers alike. For example: retail prices rose with the April 1 passage of an increase to the Federal Excise Tobacco (FET) tax to fund an expansion of SCHIP, the State Children’s Health

How to Achieve and Maintain ADA Compliance

Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect in 1992, it has dramatically improved the lives of disabled individuals by working to make all public places in the U.S. both accessible and hospitable to those with disabilities. But even though the ADA has greatly helped in achieving a better quality of life

Are Your Underground Storage Tanks Safe?

Convenience store operators who don’t know state regulations concerning underground storage tanks (USTs) from a hole in the ground had better learn more about what’s in those holes and what the government is both offering and expecting from them. Federal mandates requiring a significant increase in biofuels production, for example, have spurred an increase in

Cultivating Customers Through Loyalty

Customer Commitment The biggest hurdle some retailers face when implementing a loyalty program is getting customers to notice the many benefits. When Mid-State Petroleum launched its loyalty offering last November company Vice President Tony Perez launched a promotion to give away $10,000 in rewards at each of his locations. New customers received a $5 reward

Legislative Wrap Up for 2009

With the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, this year has seen major federal tax and regulatory legislation signed into law that will dramatically impact the tobacco industry. On April 1, the largest tax increase on a single product in the history of the U.S. became law with the federal cigarette

Vendors Help Prepaid Prosper

Prepaid services are revolutionizing the way customers do business today. From unbanked customers to students and others looking to reduce their outstanding debt, prepaid debit cards and bill pay services offer customers a payment solution without the drawback of monthly interest charges. Retailers agree that choosing a vendor that will work with your chain to

A Certified Success

View From the Top: Certified Oil’s Leadership Team If experience is an accurate indicator of a company’s success, Certified Oil has a bright future. Three members of the company’s senior leadership team have been with the company for more than 30 years, and several others have major oil, grocery and management consulting backgrounds. The leadership

7-Eleven Goes Viral Targeting Younger Consumers

The latest 30-day promotion from 7-Eleven features a Battle of the Bands online music contest geared toward music lovers and younger consumers, complete with live concerts around the U.S., and new guitar-shaped Slurpee and Big Gulp cups. The contest marks the first time Slurpee has sponsored a grassroots music competition with music-enthusiasts from across the

Make Coffee More Profitable

Tips for Preparing the Perfect Cup • Always use fresh, filtered water. • Always use fresh, whole bean coffee. Coffee is perishable: use within two weeks of roast date. • Store coffee beans in an air-tight container away from heat, light and moisture. No freezer or refrigerator. • Grind just before brewing—a timer will help

Customers Indulging in Chocolate

The Benefits of Chocolate Once considered a “guilty pleasure,” researchers now say that chocolate offers health benefits—when consumed in moderation and provided the chocolate is the right kind. International experiments show that dark chocolate has an impressive array of activities, according to the Harvard Health Newsletter. It’s an antioxidant that may improve cholesterol scores and

MAPCO Express Rolls On

While many chains are still feeling the crunch from the current economic recession, others are seeing opportunity. Count MAPCO Express among the companies waiting to pounce. MAPCO Express, a subsidiary of Delek US Holdings, has a long history in convenience retailing. It continues rolling out an upscale convenience store concept, branded MAPCO Mart, and is

Chicken’s Popularity Continues to Grow

Chicken’s economical price and inherent flexibility gives convenience store retailers a myriad of opportunities for growing their foodservice business without sacrificing quality and value. However, deciding whether your stores’ best interests are better served by a branded or proprietary chicken program requires an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks each model offers, said consultant John

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