Fighting Credit Card Costs

Is there relief ahead for exorbitant credit card fees? The answer is yes. But first, there’s a fight to be fought. According to NACS in Alexandria, Va., credit card payments have grown from 21% of transactions in 1995 to 49% today, with the trend expected to grow to more than 50% by next year. The

Investing in a Foodservice Future

At first look, boosting business with breakfast sales may seem like a strange idea in these tough economic times as today’s high unemployment means fewer workers stopping for breakfast en route to work. The fact that teenagers and men between the ages of 18-35, who are some of the c-store industry’s most frequent visitors, have

Controlling Operating Costs

From escalating utility costs and credit card fees to labor and looming PCI deadlines, retailers have their hands full with a host of issues that are impacting their businesses. No issue is as complex and timely as PCI compliance. The stakes in the PCI game are high and, as 2010 approaches, c-store operators need to

Serving the Unbanked

As the economy worsened, the number of adult Americans without bank accounts grew exponentially—and the use of prepaid cash cards climbed to new heights as well. Directo, a company that tracks pay cards to unbanked workers, reported that the recession has sent the number of unbanked Americans soaring to about 50 million, well up from

New Products Keep Food Sales Fresh

Sophisticated customers are demanding foodservice programs that keep the menu fresh by rotating options and adding new products and flavors. Dan Rotherham, director of operations at Feather Petroleum Inc., which operates 18 Stop ‘n Save c-stores in Colorado, has seen firsthand how adding new products and streamlining store menus has helped business. “We strive to

The Power to Turn a Life Around

While this troubled economy lingers, there might never be a better time than right now to increase your efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of your employees. As I reflected on gracious words attributed to a motivational speaker, the late professor Leo Buscaglia, I was both struck by his gentle touch, and

Employees Fuel QuikTrip’s Success

QuikTrip Corp.,  the Oklahoma-based convenience retailer, opened for business in 1958 with a single store and second-hand furnishings. Today, the chain is made up of 532 convenience stores across nine states, all of them open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The privately-held, family-owned business has approximately 10,000 employees, who reportedly enjoy their

Catering to the Community

It was 1968 when Don Lamberti purchased a Boone, Iowa service station and converted it into a convenience store, launching what would eventually grow into the thriving chain known as Casey’s General Stores. By the end of its first decade, Casey’s had more than 100 locations, plus its own warehouse. To meet its growing business

MAPCO’s New Direction

Great stores, outstanding service and a commitment to its people helped MAPCO Express garner Chain of the Year honors in 1996. The company has changed quite a bit since then, but the focus on convenience store operations remains stronger than ever. MAPCO Express, as it exists today, was formed with Delek US Holdings’ acquisition of

Growth, Innovation Propel Kum & Go

It’s been an eventful five decades for Kum & Go, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Entrepreneurs W.A. Krause and T.S. Gentle founded Kum & Go in 1959 under the original name of the Hampton Oil Co., which later changed to Krause Gentle Corp. In the 1970s, the co-founders wanted a name that would

Employee-Owned and Profiting

Huck’s Mission Be the preferred convenience store that is a primary destination for: • Total Customer Focus • Happy, Friendly Owners • Always Fresh, Quality Food and Drinks • No Worries, Quality Fuels at Competitive Prices • Karing for Kids • Squeaky Clean Restrooms In 1960, two friends, Bob Martin and Frank Bayley, formed a

7-Eleven Continues Reinventing Convenience

7-Eleven Inc., the world’s largest operator, franchisor and licensor of convenience stores, was named Chain of the Year in 2005. The stores got their iconic name in the 1940s because they were open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., which was considered extended hours in those days. By the ‘60s, lifestyles were changing, and consumers

Valero Rises to the Top

At a Glance: Valero Energy Corp. Valero operates 16 refineries and seven ethanol plants stretching from California to Canada to the Caribbean. The San Antonio-based operator generated more than $119 billion in revenues in 2008 with total assets of $34.3 billion. Other company highlights include: •Number of Employees: Approximately 22,000 •Refining Throughput Capacity: 3.1 million

Couche-Tard Pushes U.S. Expansion

When Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. was presented with CSD’s Chain of the Year honors in 2007, the company’s smart, strong growth was cited as the foundation for the honor. A little more than two years later and not much has changed. The company is still regarded as one of the savviest marketers in two countries, and

Dual Branding Strategy Drives Chevron

It’s been a challenging couple of years for convenience store operators, marked by wild fuel price fluctuations and exorbitant credit card fees. Despite the adversity, Chevron stood apart as one of the premier industry leaders. By advancing its Image Refresh program at ExtraMile convenience stores, growing the Texaco brand and introducing a no-fee credit card

FDA Looks at Future of Tobacco Products

Confusion Reigns Supreme C-store operators aren’t the only ones left scratching their heads by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) first foray into tobacco regulation.During the FDA’s teleconference, Catherine Lorraine, a lawyer for the administration, said, “I just want to draw your attention to the portion of the definition of a cigarette, which specifically refers

Nice & Envied

Mission accomplished. When John MacDougall challenged his team at Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes to come up with a company mission statement, he left pretty simple instructions. “Keep it short, keep it focused and let’s be true to ourselves,” he said. The result was a concise proclamation of the chain’s commitment to the customers it

Managing the Crowded Cold Vault

When it comes to packaged beverages, what gets put on the shelves may not be what customers are looking for and, in this economy, that’s a situation retailers must avoid. Making wise, informed buying decisions is the crucial difference between boosting cooler sales and blowing a lot of hot air. From colas to energy drinks,

Convenience Industry Takes Center Stage

Tips, thoughts and reminders to enhance your NACS Show experience. Move over Ringling Brothers because the NACS Show is indeed “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Beyond the night life, parties, shows and the glitter of the Las Vegas lights lies, by far, the best and most comprehensive trade show and conference in the industry for

FDA Clarifies Tobacco Ban

Flavored products including cigarettes, RYO and loose tobaccos and rolling papers are no longer legal in U.S. stores; administration said it would look at “little cigars” and similar products on a “case-by-case basis.” The smoking lamp on the majority of flavored tobacco products sold in convenience stores has been extinguished, but the ruling has ignited

Meeting the Demand for Fresh Foods

Americans are more amenable to buying meals at convenience stores, but won’t budge when it comes to quality, price or convenience factors like portability and packaging. That means there’s the potential for some real money in home meal replacement (HMR), but it has to be done well, and in just the right locations. Then there’s

What’s in Store in the Humidor

As if the turbulent economy, rising state taxes and local anti-smoking regulations hadn’t rendered the retail cigar landscape dangerous enough, enter the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which wants to significantly reshape that landscape, but so far hasn’t told anyone—most notably the retailers that will be selling the products—how. Some background: The law granting

How to Achieve and Maintain ADA Compliance

Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect in 1992, it has dramatically improved the lives of disabled individuals by working to make all public places in the U.S. both accessible and hospitable to those with disabilities. But even though the ADA has greatly helped in achieving a better quality of life

Are Your Underground Storage Tanks Safe?

Convenience store operators who don’t know state regulations concerning underground storage tanks (USTs) from a hole in the ground had better learn more about what’s in those holes and what the government is both offering and expecting from them. Federal mandates requiring a significant increase in biofuels production, for example, have spurred an increase in

Cultivating Customers Through Loyalty

Customer Commitment The biggest hurdle some retailers face when implementing a loyalty program is getting customers to notice the many benefits. When Mid-State Petroleum launched its loyalty offering last November company Vice President Tony Perez launched a promotion to give away $10,000 in rewards at each of his locations. New customers received a $5 reward

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