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Martin Eagle Aims to Contain Rising Operating Costs

Using a new monitoring system, the Texas chain is saving time, energy and reducing the spoilage costs that can arise from damaged cold vault compressors. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. Martin Eagle Oil Co. knows first hand the financial and general frustrations convenience store operators can feel after losing a freezer full of products due

Tom Rayburn  (center), Joel Workinger (left), and Todd Rutter.

Rutter’s Honored with Army Reserve Employer Support Award

Flexible scheduling for military personnel helps the chain’s employees serve their country and their customers. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Rutter’s Farm Stores’ Joel Workinger, a dairy transportation supervisor, and Todd Rutter, president of Rutter’s Dairy, were recognized last month with the Army Reserve Employer Support Award. Tom Rayburn, a delivery driver for Rutter’s Dairy

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Elevating Your Foodservice Strategy

Emerging competition from nontraditional operators like food trucks means c-stores must raise their game when it comes to the all-important food category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Foodservice continues to serve as a key point of differentiation for convenience stores. Keeping the menu fresh requires innovation as well as a keen eye for new products

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Developing a Healthier Foodservice Menu

Organic, sustainable and locally-grown foods are all trends hitting the country, but are convenience store customers ready for these items? By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Numerous “healthy” foodservice trends are sweeping cities across the U.S., from sustainable to local to organic to all-natural, and of course fresh, but is the time right for convenience stores

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What Your Cigar Customers Want

Whether it’s flavored products or low-cost brands, OTP customers remain among the most loyal in the store. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. How much is too much is a fundamental question in retailing, and all the more so when it comes to cigars. With so many new products, flavors and line extensions to choose from,

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Strong Market for Candy and Confections

The numbers for gum might be somewhat glum but, overall, the more than $1.8 billion non-chocolate confections category is growing. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Danna Huskey, category manager for Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart Stores uses words and phrases, such as “rocking,” “shockingly great” and even “holy cow!” to describe recent sales of non-chocolate confections.

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Defining Social Media Success

More and more convenience store chains are adopting interactive promotions to attract friends and fans and establish a longer-term relationship. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Today’s customers are more connected into the digital world than ever and to communicate with them effectively, convenience store operators must have a visible presence on social media sites. Savvy

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Warning: Encroachers Encroaching

The competitive landscape is changing again as drug stores, such as Walgreens and Duane Reade, and even furniture stores are beginning to feature foodservice, and dollar stores are selling snacks, cigarettes and beer. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. It seems that everybody wants to be a convenience store these days. Walgreens has 10 and growing

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Del Monte Fresh ‘Find Your Inner Chef’ Contest

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Finding Your Foodservice Niche

From proprietary programs and co-branded QSRs to no-fee, turnkey foodservice solutions, c-stores have a wide variety of program options right at their fingertips. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Having been part of his family’s restaurant for 20 years, David Deddens knows what it takes to build a foodservice brand. That’s one of the reasons the

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Sandwich Programs on a Roll

Last year, the sandwich category was worth $27.7 billion, up 6.3% from 2011, according to Technomic. Retailers are optimistic that 2013 will be even stronger. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. With their in-store kitchens already producing made-from-scratch pizza and cake doughnuts, it was a natural progression for Casey’s General Store locations to expand into made-to-order

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Carpenter Leads a Busy NACS Agenda

Chairman Dave Carpenter promotes advocacy as the industry continues to battle swipe fees, fuel standards and increased competition in the year ahead.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 of $700.3 billion, according to the

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Seven Tricks to Buying Fuel Cheaper

Knowledge, persistence and hard work can yield an impressive cost-savings on your diesel and gasoline buying practices.By Betsi Bixby, Meridian Associates Inc. Two marketers were at a meeting. The speaker was talking about negotiating better fuel prices. One older marketer, head of a company in business for more that 60 years, commented that the speaker

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Energy Products Stimulating Store Sales

Though they come in small bottles, liquid energy shots continue to deliver a big sales punch on convenience store counters. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Despite widely publicized health concerns about some of the ingredients in energy drinks, Bob Falkenberg founder of Alpharetta, Ga.-based BeveragePulse.com research firm, said he expects sales to continue to increase

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Meat Snacks Get Creative

From extra spicy to turkey or bacon based, today’s meat snacks are offering the variety customers crave. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. 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

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Strong Growth for Frozen Dispensed Beverages

Consumer demand is surging as operators continue appealing to new audiences with new flavors and product innovations. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Everyone agrees that frozen beverage sales are strong and the outlook for the category remains extremely positive for the next few years. For 2012, the NACS State of the Industry report found that

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The Force is Strong with QuikTrip

New Market Force study anoints QT the top rated c-store chain for cleanliness, friendliness and food quality. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. QuikTrip, with 662 stores in 11 states, was voted the most popular convenience store chain, according to a new study by Market Force Information, beating out 7,600 study participants. Convenience store chains Wawa,

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Embracing Energy Efficient Solutions

Whether it’s installing LED lighting or partnering with a local utility, retailers have a wide assortment of new opportunities to maximize efficiencies for less. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.Adding energy efficient features to convenience stores has numerous benefits from power bill and maintenance savings to the ability to market to today’s more eco-conscious consumer. If

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A Renewed Interest in Salty Snacks

Emphasizing snacks throughout the day as a meal replacement or an afternoon treat is driving sales across all age groups. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The past year was a strong one for nuts, seeds, crackers, pretzels, popcorn and trail mixes, according to convenience store sales data from SymphonyIRI. The largest of these subcategories, nuts,

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A Retail Oasis

Zarco 66 takes its convenience stores to the next level with technological advancements and a topnotch foodservice program.  By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels doesn’t consider itself just a typical convenience store chain. In today’s hypercompetitive retail environment, it has to be much more.“We’re not in the c-store business anymore, we’re

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Who’s Minding the E-Cigarette Industry?

By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor and John Lofstock, Editor. Should electronic tobacco devices be regulated as tobacco products or are they something completely different? Four new trade associations with varying opinions and agendas guide this booming category. With 3.5 million e-cigarette users and an estimated $1 billion in smoke-free alternative sales, this up-and-coming industry continues

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E-Cigarettes Come of Age

With Big Tobacco now in the game, electronic tobacco products are poised to take an enormous leap forward. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While some view electronic cigarettes as a threat to the cigarette industry, others see them as a lifeboat of sorts, providing smokers who don’t want to or can’t smoke cigarettes anymore—for a

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Cigarettes Still King

While electronic tobacco products and OTP have experienced sales gains, cigarette sales in convenience stores still accounted for more than $54.3 billion in 2012. By John Lofstock, Editor. Cigarettes have long been a staple at convenience stores, accounting for billions in pack and carton sales and boosting the profits from the average smoker’s market basket.

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Succeeding With Cigars

Taxation and legislation could present a rocky road for cigar manufacturers. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Thanks to new flavors and price promotions, cigar sales at convenience stores remain as strong as ever. The cigar category at U.S. convenience stores totaled $2.38 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 21, 2013, up 3.73%, according to

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Accessorizing the Tobacco Section

From lighters to e-cigarette cases, smoking accessories can increase the market basket and drive impulse sales. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. A robust and rotating assortment of tobacco accessories can help solidify your convenience store as a destination for tobacco products, as well as increase interest in the category and grow basket size. While most

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