The Art of Negotiation

Many convenience stores that rely on vendors to supply their retail operations know there’s some give-and-take involved when it comes to relationship building. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Part of running a profitable c-store business involves effectively negotiating supply contracts and employing solid direct store delivery (DSD) management. Both require experience, a command of a

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Filling a Gift Card Niche

Gift cards come in many varieties, providing convenience stores the flexibility to generate more sales. By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Editor Technology is increasingly impacting the way convenience stores sell gift cards. As a result, c-store retailers are changing their marketing approach to meet this merchandising metamorphosis. Specifically, the technology that’s spurring a new era within

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Probing Scan Data

Convenience stores are analyzing scan data to better determine what items to carry, how to optimize penny profit, improve promotions and target customers more effectively. By Lisa White, Contributing Editor For 17 of John Tomlinson’s 19 years as director of merchandising and purchasing for Duchess Shoppe, he relied on sales rep data to determine what

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Beefing Up Foodservice Sales

While burgers, sausages and brats have long been c-store staples, you can dress them up so they’re your next foodservice stars. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor At Rutter’s Farm Stores, purists can get their hamburgers and cheeseburgers au natural. But the York, Pa.-based c-store chain did not become a foodservice destination by playing it safe.

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Boosting Bakery’s Bottom Line

Just labeling offerings “low sodium” or “low fat” doesn’t cut it anymore as a growing number of consumers look for simple, wholesome and recognizable ingredients in bakery items. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor To gain consumers’ trust, you have to tell them what they want to know. According to the Bellevue, Wash.-based trend-tracking company the

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Kitchen Helpers

Before investing in foodservice equipment, convenience store operators must consider tangibles such as flexibility, return on investment, market demographics and menu offerings. By Howard Riell, Contributing Editor Purchasing, operating and maintaining foodservice equipment is becoming increasingly important for convenience stores, making experience, expertise and careful management essential. All of the factors that go into an

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Cigars Still Burn Brightly

Despite changes in tobacco regulations, convenience stores continue to cash in on this popular consumer product.     By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor For convenience stores, tobacco products remain the top sales driver despite significant alterations and protective measures tacked on to national, state and local regulations. While cigarettes have almost always been the target of

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Candy Innovation Goes Sour

Non-chocolate trends include gummy and sour varieties, as well as a new focus on mouthfeel and texture. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor The National Confectioners Association (NCA) found that the overall confections category grew 3.2% in 2015. Non-chocolate confection sales increased 3.7% with fruity candy, gummies, sour candies and breath fresheners leading the

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A Cool Category

With ice cream remaining a hot commodity, there is opportunity in this category for convenience stores that make the necessary space commitment. By Lisa White, Contributing Editor Ice cream is no longer a seasonal indulgence, which makes it an even more viable category for the convenience channel. A recent survey for National Ice Cream Day

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Health Bars Enjoy Boost

Clean labeling and diverse options bolster category sales, attract new customers.   By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Each day after Jen Morton’s workout, she reports back to her husband on what snacks her fellow health enthusiasts brought to the gym that day. In turn, Ryan Morton, category manager for snacks, HBA and grocery at Maverik of

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Swiss Farms Building a Healthy Future

The earlier purveyor of drive-through retail, Swiss Farms today is directing its efforts toward nutritious food offerings and modern customer service. By David Bennett, Senior Editor For a c-store that’s customers’ primary shopping experience begins and ends at the drive-through, Swiss Farms is in the process of re-branding its position within the marketplace. The retailer’s

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Video: Kum & Go Succeeds With Biodiesel

Kum & Go discusses its experience with biodiesel.

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Moving Forward

In many family convenience stores, next-generation leaders are helping forge their companies’ futures. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In the U.S., 97% of family businesses don’t survive past the third generation, according to the Family Business Institute. No doubt that among those elevated statistics are convenience store entrepreneurs who had a succession plan, but determined

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What C-Stores Can Learn From Submarines

By John Lofstock, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Decisions Famed management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker, but of the manager.” This is especially true with younger employees who often lack workforce experience. This is where great leadership can have its biggest impact. Setting expectations for your

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Containing Utility Costs

Today, there are many ways for convenience stores to reduce their utility bills. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Scott Zaremba likes to experiment with new ideas. The owner of three Zarco USA convenience stores in Lawrence, Kan., Zaremba grew in the fuel and convenience store industry and is constantly searching for ways to boost his

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ATMs Generate Returns

ATMs have always been valuable tools for c-stores, and with the possibility of rising debit card fees, that value figures to rise. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor In an economy where more and more U.S. consumers have less access to big bank accounts, ATMs are still considered a viable commodity in the convenience store channel.

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Is Cashless Now King?

More and more, U.S. consumers are adding modern payment systems to their wallet so they can have more flexibility when making transactions. By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor The continued use of cash is surprising given its inconveniences and the risk consumers face in carrying it around. Love it or hate it, cash is increasingly playing

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Deli Dishes Out Profits

Whether it’s for a made-to-order sandwich, pound of potato salad or full ready-to-eat meal, consumers are increasingly turning to delis for freshly-prepared foods. Retailers explain how they have turned their delis into destinations. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor Delis are increasingly becoming consumers’ destinations of choice for fresh, premade meals, said a new report from

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Meat Snacks Feed Demand

Meat snacks appeal to consumers for a lot of reasons, and each of them presents opportunities for c-store operators to bolster sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Most snackers prefer savory quality, robust flavors, inherent convenience, relatively low price points, health benefits and, of course, related promotions. Savvy retailers know how to take the best

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Discovering New Energy

As summer gets underway, energy drink producers, as well as convenience stores, hope consumers will embrace new energy selections. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor The Beverage Buzz Memorial Day Retailer Survey by Wells Fargo Securities reported recently that beverage sales notched upward 5.5%, which is a slight improvement over the 4.9% recorded during last

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Pouring on the Profits

Ramping up cold and frozen dispensed beverage promotions during the summer months can create a profit center for convenience stores. By Lisa White, Contributing Editor In the past, summer fountain drink wars only took place in the convenience channel. But with today’s quick-service restaurants (QSRs)trying to capture c-stores’ beverage business, this is no longer the

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Crunch Time for C-Stores

Some Americans crunch for comfort, others to satisfy cravings for something savory and salty. Retailers tell how they follow flavor, texture and “better-for-you” trends to keep customers snacking happy.      By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When you think of comfort food, you might envision mom’s meatloaf or grandma’s apple pie. But as growing numbers of today’s

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RaceTrac Hosts the 2016 YEO Roundtable

Nearly 50 next-generation executives representing 40 c-store chains traveled to Atlanta for an in-depth look at RaceTrac’s operations and to participate in ample networking opportunities. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor The National Advisory Group (NAG) kicked off its third annual Young Executives Organization (YEO) roundtable on April 27 in Atlanta. RaceTrac Petroleum, Convenience Store Decisions’

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The Pursuit of “Healthy” Prepared Foods

To succeed at better-for-you food sales, retailers should consider some requirements consumers hold true.  By Tim Powell There are few topics that garner as much attention, disagreement and misunderstanding in the c-store foodservice channel than the idea of “healthy” food. The common belief in foodservice as a whole is that consumers request one thing and

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Fueling the Marketplace

Has the branded retail business become a house of cards?   By Mark Radosevich Several major oil companies are expending exorbitant sums to shore up their market positions around the country. A Southeastern marketer told me recently that the deals being offered to brand-switch one of his 60,000 gallon/month dealer accounts was “simply unprecedented.” Some offers

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