Driving Cooler Sales

The economy, the environment and the weather. All three are impacting the sale of bottled water this year. From 1997 until 2007, consumers were thirsty for bottles of clear, refreshing water. Between 2003 and 2008, bottled water sales grew 59% to $5.1 billion, making it one of the fastest-growing drinks on the market. Consumers believed

Creating Supply Chain Efficiencies

Getting products to stores more efficiently is now a major focus for all major retailers and distributors. Better distribution means lower costs and higher margins—both items high on c-store owners’ agendas these days—when customers are clutching their wallets more tightly than they have in years. “There are two ways to make money: increase prices or

Fabulous Freddy’s Fuels with Flair

Fabulous Freddy’s is wooing new customers with old tricks. Resurrecting the customer service of decades past, the seven-store chain headquartered in Las Vegas, offers its patrons full-service treatment at the pump, at self-service prices. “Our company’s mission statement is to provide fabulous service to everyone, and one of the ways we do that is to

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

Marketing the Menu

The bar has been raised on sandwiches—indeed, on all freshly made to-go dishes—as consumers’ expectations continue to rise and new competitors from outside the c-store universe appear on the horizon. Convenience stores are finding themselves more and more in conflict with players from the fast-food and grocery stores seeking the same “fare” share. With that

Cigars Enhance Flavor Profile

The SCHIP tobacco tax rates that hit on April 1 are costing cigar smokers more, but sales continue to persevere. As of April, the federal taxes on large cigars rose from 20.719% of the wholesale price with a tax cap of 4.875 cents per cigar to 52.75% of the wholesale price with a tax cap

Getting More From Your POS

New electronic point-of-sale (POS) solutions are rolling out constantly, pushing retailers to make wise decisions based on their needs. Moreover, with PCI compliance nearing, finding the right solution can be more difficult. POS system owners typically use only a small fraction of the system’s capabilities, noted IBM global products executive Ralph Jacobson. “We did a

Managing Today’s Retail Workforce

Because major shifts in the economy have created unparalleled effects on the labor market, Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics Inc. collaborated on our first ever human resources study in order to help convenience store owners understand the actions those in our industry are taking–or planning to take–in the coming months. An in-depth survey asked more

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

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.

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