How to Make Room For Beverages

With CSDs seeking to reclaim ground in the packaged beverage category, teas, energy and craft products are eying new opportunity in the convenience channel. By D. Gail Fleenor, Contributing Editor Current lower pump prices are bringing more shoppers inside the store and the pack- aged beverage category is benefiting. However, that ice-cold beverage may be

How To Excel in the Vapor Market

From corporate acquisitions and collaborations to local and state regulatory enforcement, it’s been an eventful year for e-tobacco products. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Nearing the end of 2013, sales of e-cigarettes and vapors/tanks/mods (VTMs) were riding high for convenience stores and other tobacco retailers. As reported by Wells Fargo, unit growth of e-cigarettes for

How To Entice Sales With Meat Snacks

Craving more protein, meat snack-hungry consumers are boosting convenience store profits. By Howard Riell, Contributing Editor protein-packed snacks, and meat snack manufacturers are responding with new and varied flavors, from gourmet to bold. To maximize sales, canny retailers are using promotions, packaging, consumer demographics and merchandising to make the most of impulse opportunities. The meat

How Duchess is Growing With Foodservice

With its prototype store now open to the public, Englefield Oil’s Duchess brand is positioned to build upon its legacy as Ohio’s ever-evolving c-store chain. By David Bennett, Senior Editor As two children looked longingly at the new frozen drink dispenser, tethered balloons wafted away from the heat that escaped from the hot pizzas taken

How Family Express Became 2015 C-Store Chain of the Year

The Valparaiso, Ind. chain is a finely-tuned machine, excelling in self-distribution, foodservice, recruiting and training employees. Its commitment to excellence earns it Chain of the Year honors. By John Lofstock, Editor Innovation, outstanding operations, superior leadership and an ongoing commitment to con- venience retailing are the common characteristics of the best convenience store chains in

How to Tap Craft Beer Trends

Convenience store retailers use growler stations to appeal to craft beer enthusiasts. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Craft beer continues to grow in the convenience store industry. In fact, according to the Brewers Association, the c-store channel has seen the most craft beer growth of any channel in 2015. “Grocery represents craft’s strongest channel, and

How to Meet the Growing Demand for Freshness

As customers opt for fresher and healthier foods, c-store operators share how they’re adapting to customer preferences. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor As the fresh and healthy foods trend continues its upward climb, multiple channels, including quick-service restaurants (QSRs), drug stores and convenience stores are competing for the business of hungry customers. Walgreens has introduced

How to Boost Beverage Sales

A proven c-store leader, packaged beverages can benefit even more from cross merchandising and value-added promotions. By Traci Dawn Carneal, Contributing Editor A known profit center in the convenience world, the packaged beverage category offers even more opportunities for innovative retailers who keep up with the trends and explore unique promotion and merchandising strategies. Although

How to Sell Sweets

With the varying tastes of American consumers, convenience store retailers discuss what they’re seeing in the non-chocolate candy, gum and mint category, including demand for low-calorie, low-sugar products. By Michele Wojciechowski, Contributing Editor Candy, gum and mints are veritable staples in the convenience store, but as Bob Dylan once sang “The Times They Are A-Changin.’”

How to Ensure Your Store is Safe and Secure

Even the most modest convenience store operations today should implement security measures that will safeguard their employees, customers and property. By CSD Staff All convenience stores located in the City of Houston are required to register online with the Houston Police Department. The intention is to improve data tracking concerning crimes around convenience stores. Once

How to Drive Sales with Data

Getting info on your customers can help you target their specific needs, turning unknown shoppers into loyal, repeat visitors. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Data is everywhere. It’s in your gas pumps, your computers, your cash registers and your phones. While some information is just numbers, much of that data can be important to figuring

How to Maintain Customer Loyalty

More convenience stores are finding that building a loyal customer base has its rewards. By Traci Dawn Carneal, Contributing Editor More convenience stores are offering registered customers exclusive access to discounts, promotions and more. That’s because loyalty programs, in their many forms are effective at doing what they are supposed to do—build a base of

How Stinker Stores is Refreshing for the Future

With a new store design and a myriad of new company initiatives, everything is coming up roses for Stinker Stores. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The interactive LED display boards now being erected outside select Stinker Stores locations provide customers the latest in-store promotions, cool graphics and crisp digital messaging all at the flip of

Kwik Trip Leads By Example

Kwik Trip’s Steve Loehr has embraced the ideals of health and freshness, helping usher in a new era for the c-store industry. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor In the 25 years since Steve Loehr joined Kwik Trip Inc., the La Crosse, Wis.-based convenience retailer has experienced extraordinary growth, reaching numerous corporate milestones. Today, Loehr,

How to Appeal to Snackers

From candy and chips to popcorn and jerky, U.S. snacking isn’t defined by one consumer trend. Still, convenience stores are positioned to capture the bulk of them. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor There are few things closer to Americans’ hearts than snacking—in all its textures and flavors. So, it’s not surprising that the snack category

How to Add Space for E-Cigarettes

After years of stellar growth, the vapor products category responds to changing marketplace dynamics. With one eye on the market, convenience retailers constantly weigh how much shelf space to allot e-cigarettes. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor When industry analysts announce in July that a product category is on track for a growth rate of

How to Increase Cigarette Sales

Cigarettes remain a staple of c-store business despite the constant scrutiny the category attracts. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Despite increasing regulations and an incremental erosion of its once wide consumer base, cigarettes in the past year have shown a remarkable ability for bouncing back. Cigarette sales at convenience stores for the 52 weeks ending

How to Bake Up New Sales

As customers demand fresh and healthy fare, c-store operators share how they’re adapting to customer preferences. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor More convenience store operators are making bakery a priority, either through in-store programs or partnering with national brands and local bakeries that convert their locations into destination stops. “We have recently added a site

How to Compete in the Health and Beauty Categories

Health and beauty aids can rouse additional in-store sales with the right presentation. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Though retail channels continue to blur, one category where convenience stores still trail their mass, drug and dollar store counterparts is health and beauty aids (HBA). One advantage that does work in c-stores’ favor is, of course,

How to Choose Quality Vendors

When reviewing vendors to meet your retail needs, it’s not always about saving a buck, but ensuring quality service. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Every few years, convenience retailers often find themselves sitting at the negotiating table, talking with grocery wholesalers or direct store delivery (DSD) vendors in an effort to work out an acceptable

How to Entice with Ethnic Food

Savvy c-store retailers are tempting the palates of today’s consumers and growing profits with bold and spicy ethnic food options. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When you promote yourself as “Adventure’s First Stop,” you had better be able to back that up with some spicy experiences. That’s what Maverik Convenience Stores does with its proprietary

How to Go Green and Save

Increasing the eco-friendliness of your car wash can help reduce costs while boosting customer traffic. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Enacting environmentally-friendly policies can be good business. From recycling to energy efficiency, there are many options for convenience stores to reduce costs while aiding the environment. But there is one often overlooked area that can

Recognizing NAG Leadership

Toot’n Totum’s David Johnson receives the National Advisory Group’s inaugural Lifetime Award for Convenience Retailing. By John Lofstock, Editor The National Advisory Group (NAG), a convenience store trade association focused on small, mid-sized and family-owned businesses, has a long history dedicated to helping convenience store owners improve their businesses through education and networking. Through the

How 7-Eleven is Taking Convenience to the Next Level

Forget the drive-through, 7-Eleven customers can now get merchandise delivered to their doorstep. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience store behemoth 7-Eleven recently announced a strategic initiative to make its c-store offerings even more convenient to customers. In July, 7-Eleven announced it had partnered with technology and logistics company Postmates to offer on-demand delivery in

How to Ensure Successful Cash Management

More convenience stores are combining proven practices with the latest technology to keep a handle on their money. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Back in the 1970s, armed robbery was rampant in convenience stores. 7-Eleven Inc., one of the first retailers to stay open 24 hours per day, hired consultants to investigate ways to thwart