VP Racing Fuels Speeds Forward

With a branded program to differentiate small chains and its new Winner’s Circle Banner for its c-store partners, VP Racing Fuels’ aggressive growth makes it a 2015 Chain to Watch. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Three years into its branded program, VP Racing Fuels is offering smaller chains a way to compete with major regional

Thinking Through Shrink and Other Issues

With some inventiveness, c-stores can develop ways to manage their inventory. Effective inventory control doesn’t happen automatically. In fact, controlling inventory is somewhat of a misnomer that might be better termed: managing inventory—because of how difficult indeed it is to control. The landscape is littered with the remains of fired managers, dismissed district managers and

What’s For ‘Linner’?

If the combination of breakfast and lunch is called “brunch,” then shouldn’t the combination of lunch and dinner be labeled “linner?” That’s a question comedian Jerry Seinfeld once asked. Whatever c-stores call today’s increasingly common mix of meals and snacks throughout the day and evening, the trend offers expanded opportunities for foodservice sales. By Marilyn

How Non-Chocolate Candy is Wooing Customers

Whether it’s by the bite or by the bag, non-chocolate candy remains a staple of in-store sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Many convenience stores are heeding growing non-chocolate candy trends by stocking more chewy products and bite-size brand extensions. Of course, c-stores have only so much dedicated space and must be studious in order

How C-Stores Are Equipping Themselves for Success

Foodservice is becoming increasingly integral to c-stores, and key to any foodservice program is possessing and maintaining the right equipment for the job. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor In the face of traditional thin fuel margins and flagging cigarette sales, foodservice has continually grown as a way for many c-stores to maintain decent profit levels.

How Convenience Stores Are Winning With Ice Cream

Convenience stores entice customers with ice cream and other cool novelties this summer. By Michele Wojciechowski, Contributing Editor Few Things top off a scorching hot day better than ice cream. While c-stores sell the sweet treat and other frozen products all year, summertime is the top occasion to capitalize on consumers’ appetites. It’s not surprising

A Word of Advice

Life’s not all about wine, golf and good times. Good business practices and fond memories have a place as well. By Fran Duskiewicz This past June marked my 30th anniversary in the convenience industry, so it’s not surprising that many memories are tied to my tenure at Nice N Easy. Here are a few pertinent

How To Keep a Robust Grill

No matter what other foodservice products you offer, the roller grill is the first thing customers encounter. A clean, filled grill makes a clear statement about your commitment to foodservice. So does one that isn’t so well maintained. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Few retailers are ambivalent about roller grills. They either really love them

How Legislation and Taxes Are Affecting Cigars

C-store operators looking to grow their cigar business need to keep one eye on their customers and another on legislators looking to raise OTP taxes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Several states continue to consider excise taxes for cigars and other tobacco products (OTP), while others look at raising the smoking age and enacting outright

How To Crack Down on C-Store Theft

From employee training to video monitoring and community engagement, Mac’s fights crime from all angles. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Mac’s Convenience Stores Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based division of Alimentation Couche-Tard, is taking a multi-faceted approach to preventing theft. Proven tools include a growing Crime Busters Program, best practices in preventing internal shrink and graffiti

How to Pick a Loyalty Program

Whether the scope of a prospective loyalty package is small, medium or extra-large, ensure it includes everything to meet your needs. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Retail loyalty programs come in a variety of sizes, but there is only one goal: to keep customers returning to the store and buying more products. Whether you prefer

Seasonal Swings Sway Sales

Summer temps aren’t the only weather occurrences affecting car wash sales this year. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor What a difference a few thousand miles makes. While Californians face strict water restrictions, residents throughout the South and Midwest are cleaning up after record-breaking spring and summer flooding. Ironically, these divergent weather conditions are stirring

Redefining Alltown Market

You wouldn’t expect a Fortune 500 company to demonstrate the same desire for building strong retail customer relations as perhaps, a family-owned c-store chain. But with its revamped Alltown Market concept, Global Partners LP is doing just that. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When Waltham, Mass.-based Global Partners LP launched its newly redesigned Alltown Market

NAG Awards Five Student Scholarships

Selected students receive $1,000 each toward their college education. By CSD Staff The National Advisory Group (NAG) has announced the five winners of the 2015 John MacDougall/NAG Memorial Scholarship. The winners are Emily Harris, Louisville, Ky., Thorntons; Ashley Hernandez, Key West, Fla., Dion Quik Marts; Rachel Hudson, Amarillo, Texas, Toot N’ Totum; Maxwell Klyczek, Hollywood,

High Protein, High Profit

Can meat snacks continue to serve up healthy sales for c-stores? By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor “High in protein.” “Natural ingredients.” “Low sugar.” Analysts insist these are some of the top buzz descriptors that today’s consumers look for when contemplating snacking options. Even popular workout programs like P90X push high-protein meal plans and trending

Are Energy Drinks Still Delivering Oomph?

Demand for energy drinks continues to push sales upward, making the category a star performer. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Energy drink sales are up, even as larger, more established, mass-market categories like carbonated soft drinks and fruit beverages have dipped. For convenience store operators, the message couldn’t be clearer. “Energy drinks experienced solid volume

How To Entice Customers With Frozen Drinks

Bundling and smart marketing help keep frozen dispensed beverage sales hot as summer arrives.  By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Sales of frozen dispensed beverages in convenience stores show no sign of slowing down, with flavor extensions and in-store marketing resonating with consumers of all ages. “The frozen dispensed category at convenience stores continues to soar

What’s in a Brand?

Convenience retailers come and go; that’s the reality of the business. However, some brands seem destined to endure. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Arguably, it’s taken the convenience store industry two decades to catch up to the illustrious White Hen Pantry chain that sprang from Chicagoland. At its peak, White Hen was comprised of 300

Judging the New and Unique

 Drawing Duchess Shoppe customers in Ohio, CSD recently rolled out a products competition that evaluated the latest in snacks, sweets and drink offerings. By David Bennett, Senior Editor hielded from the mid-Ohio sun by a spacious tent erected in the parking lot, the curious and the eager, the young and the old weighed what goodies

How to Win With Fresh Food

Convenience stores continue to meet consumers’ growing penchant for healthy food options. By Michele Wojciechowski, Contributing Editor If you think many convenience stores are offering more fresh and healthy food choices for consumers, you’re right. It’s possible to provide these kinds of food options while still appealing to customers who may not be quite as

Competitive Data Analysis

The key to better business is in the numbers. How do yours stack up? By Traci Dawn Carneal, Contributing Editor Anymore, data analysis in the convenience store industry is as accepted as loss prevention tools and loyalty programs. Like other operational strategies, it’s how a c-store uses such technology that often forecasts how much benefit

ATMs: Dollars and Sense

Even as payment technologies advance, ATMs are here to stay and are expected to evolve even more in terms of customer services. To cash in, convenience retailers must decide which management model works best for them. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor As credit card companies seek stronger security by adding chips to cards, and companies

Soup Up Your Sales

As a snack, appetizer, side or main meal, soup sells steadily throughout the day and—surprisingly enough—in the morning. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It may not be as enticing as a piled-high sandwich or as full of pizzazz as a generously topped pizza but, in its own quiet way, soup is a fresh foodservice workhorse.

Deli Can Equal Destination

Whether grab-and-go, made-to-order or both, deli had better translate to delicious to persuade consumers to make your c-store a foodservice destination. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Consumers might not expect to find a “gourmet” deli inside a convenience store, but that’s just what they get at Bolla Market locations around New York City and Long

Salty Snacks Still Tops

Even as better-for-you products gain popularity, chips and salty snacks remain top-sellers. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Between media reports and industry data, it’s clear that today’s consumers want better-for-you (BFY) choices when it comes to snacking. More and more, Americans are looking to replace sugar and fat with protein and all-natural ingredients. On

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