energy

Energizing Product Sales

An increasingly competitive market for “energy-boosting” products continues to propel energy shot sales. As such, overall growth of energy drinks and shots has been influenced positively by new product launches and expanded retail distribution. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience stores are increasingly becoming known as the place to purchase energy shots. The industry now accounts

tobacco

OTP Sales Remain Strong

Smokeless tobacco products have become increasingly important to the U.S. tobacco industry, which is seeking to push more of these products as Americans smoke fewer cigarettes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With traditional cigarettes under fire on several fronts, convenience store retailers rightly view smokeless tobacco as an important part of the future of their

beef-jerky

Enhancing Meat Snack Sales

As customers continue to crave variety and new taste profiles, meat snacks manufacturers are staying on their toes, and providing c-stores with a range of new options to keep shoppers coming back for more. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. When Americans want to snack, nothing holds them back. Time constraints paired with consumer demand for

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Courting Coffee Customers

Updated equipment, a sizeable counter area and multiple brew flavors can help position your chain as a coffee destination. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The competition for coffee customers continues to brew among the various channels, with convenience stores feeling increased pressure from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and numerous QSRs—even Walgreens’ new superstore prototype in Chicago

grabNgo

Winning the Fresh Foodservice Battle

Busy Americans are increasingly going the grab-and-go route for lunch and dinner solutions. But even the most time-starved consumers have definite standards about what foods they will choose. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Grab and go is a close to $13 million category, with everyone from quick-service restaurants to pharmacies competing for share of stomach

Flash Foods Embraces Mobile Payments

The Georgia convenience store chain is implementing the latest technology trends to enhance the customer experience across its entire 172-store chain. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Flash Foods is embracing new technology to benefit customers and corporate initiatives alike. At the end of October, the Waycross, Ga.-based c-store chain, with 172 locations in Georgia and

Steve Loehr

Preparing for Industry Challenges

Steve Loehr, vice president of operations support for Kwik Trip and the current NACS vice chairman and treasurer, shares his insights on the issues affecting convenience retailers. By John Lofstock, Editor. The convenience store industry continues to evolve, becoming a bigger part of the American consumers’ daily lives. In 2012, the industry achieved record sales

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Managing Your Workforce

Labor scheduling can be a complex, time-consuming and tedious task, but if it’s not done right it can be costly, in terms of wasted money and lost customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Managing labor hours is just one of a handful challenges human resources managers face every day and St. Joe Petroleum is no

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Maverik Celebrated as CSD’s 2013 Chain of the Year

The Utah marketer honored for its unique adventure culture, an ongoing commitment to employees and its service-first mantra for delivering a memorable shopping experience.By John Lofstock, Editor. There are many common characteristics that comprise Convenience Store Decisions’ Chain of the Year winners. They are retail leaders, innovative marketers, committed to employees and completely driven by

wifi

Keeping Your Customers Connected with WiFi

With the proliferation of Smartphones, iPads and laptops, now more than ever your “always on” customers expect wireless Internet access where they go.By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In 1993 when Brett Stewart was speaking to top technology gurus at a conference in San Francisco, he predicted that the world would eventually enjoy the benefits of

BollaCoffee

Bolla Conquers the Big Apple

In a market that has traditionally been difficult for c-stores, Bolla Oil is thriving with an upscale new store design, a strong foodservice program and an impressive real estate portfolio. By John Lofstock, Editor. Surviving in New York’s cutthroat retail environment is difficult. But for Harry Singh (pictured above), failing to succeed was never an

prepaid

Boosting Revenues with Prepaid Cards

The total dollars loaded into the prepaid category will climb to $672 billion over the next three years, according to Mercator Advisory Group, with convenience stores in particular the fastest growing segment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The open-loop prepaid card market has been growing, driven by the cash-access and government categories. But as with

bev

Navigating a Crowded Cold Vault

Energy drinks are boosting packaged beverage sales, while healthier drink options continue to show promise. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Packaged beverages are a key driver for convenience stores and an area where they excel in relation to other channels. In fact, according to NACS State of the Industry (SOI) data, packaged beverages almost caught

cigars

Building Your Cigar Business

Despite a demand from adult consumers, retailers are continually forced to defend their right to sell flavored cigars responsibly. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Lawmakers in Washington, DC, and in all 50 states are eyeing cigars and, to a lesser degree, electronic cigars, not only as potential sources of additional revenue but, in many cases,

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Take Restrooms from Good to Great

Convenience store operators pushing a foodservice program must be committed to store cleanliness and sanitation. By John Lofstock, Editor. A new national survey revealed that 63% of Americans have had a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities. That’s bad news for operators looking to grow foodservice sales.

growler

Tapping into Craft Beer

With customer demand growing for upscale brews, a growler program is one way to expand your craft beer segment. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. As the craft beer trend grows, convenience stores are capitalizing on consumer demand for emerging local and seasonal brews by growing their craft beer sections and, in some cases, adding a

breakfast sandwiches

Speeding Through the Breakfast Zone

Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and value pricing when it comes to a breakfast program. How competitive is your morning offering? By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Everyone knows that breakfast is important. Over the years, research has shown that adults who eat breakfast are generally healthier, weigh less and have a reduced

rollergrill

Diversifying the Foodservice Offering

Taking steps to promote innovative products and value pricing can elevate the whole roller grill experience to drive new sales.  By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience store operators looking to spice up their roller grill offerings have more tools at their disposal than ever before, including the weather, as autumn spurs consumers to seek hot,

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Baron-Huot Oil Calls it Quits on Retail

Illinois chain exits the c-store business after a rich 102-year history in retail with the sale of its 10 stores to Alimentation Couche-Tard. It will focus on its wholesale business. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. What started in 1911 with Elzie Huot selling kerosene from a horse and buggy and grew to a fourth-generation, 10-store

An Electronic Cigarette Is An Anti Smoking Health Device

Smokeless Tobacco Earning Extra Display Space

While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention, moist smokeless sales are chugging along with brisk sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience stores have a significant opportunity to target consumers in overlapping tobacco segments, such as converting cigarette smokers over to moist snuff or cigars. Experts expect this group to increase moist smokeless

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Driving Confectionery Sales With Seasonal Treats

Bite-sized products and king-sized bars are boosting ticket averages, while an influx of seasonal items offers convenience stores new profit potential. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.While single-serve chocolate and other candy remains solid at convenience stores, the industry is missing a big opportunity to capitalize on holiday and seasonal sales.The industry has long ceded this

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Promoting Responsible Tobacco Retailing

The We Card program begins its 18th year with a new program to educate retailers on e-cigarette restrictions. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The We Card program is now celebrating its 18th year of providing training and educational materials to retailers on state and federal tobacco restrictions. The ubiquitous program is widely recognized by its

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Dissecting the Initial Stages of the M&A Process

A checklist of tips and steps to ensure success for convenience store and petroleum marketers of all sizes. By Mark Radosevich. Sane business people from outside our industry would surely find the daily challenges of petroleum marketers unimaginable, bordering on total lunacy. Layered on top of generally low and inconsistent fuel margins are a litany

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Foodservice Best and Worst Practices

Discipline and accountability are key factors in executing your brand’s message. Have an action plan developed and stay focused on your end result. By Betsi Bixby. The most profitable retail chains we did market business valuations for this year all had one thing in common: great foodservice results. The least profitable chains (and units) either

lucien canton

Four Ways to Counter the Costs of Disaster

Why do so many businesses fail after disaster? The answer often lies in a failure to understand the true costs of the disaster. By Lucien Canton. Disasters are complex and there are many levels of concern that could affect a business. The most obvious is the physical damage produced by a storm or earthquake. One

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