Keeping USTs and Fuel Dispensers Safe

“Those operators who are only now waking up to the need to tend to UST-related matters need not despair. I recently put together an update for a client I have on all 50 states, and everything I remember reading said that no one’s been cast out, shut down or told they can’t operate because they

Shopping for POS Solutions

Convenience to customers today means one-stop shopping, short lines at the counter and the ability to get in and out of a store fast. New integrated point-of-sale (POS) solutions are speeding up service and offering customers the convenience they demand thanks to faster processing times. What’s more, they’re saving operators money, labor and time. Finding

Processing PCI Confusion

Many retailers are breathing a sigh of relief in regard to PCI, after this summer’s deadline for software compliance was relaxed after a request by the major oil companies, giving scrambling retailers a little more time to comply. But retailers be warned: chains that face a breach could still get hit with huge fines. “Some

Dealing with Adversity

BP’s Gulf of Mexico response has included more than $4 billion spent to date, including more than 153,650 payments totaling $395 million (as of presstime) in claims to Gulf residents and businesses affected by the oil spill. Other payments included: • $20 billion claims escrow fund • $100 million unemployed rig workers’ fund • $500

Superior Surveillance Helps Bolster the Bottom Line

In today’s difficult economy, most convenience store owners are turning their focus to profit driving initiatives to give business a boost. When dollars are tight, allotting extra funds to upgrade security equipment might seem a lower priority or even a frivolous expense, but experts note investing in security and surveillance measures can be a retailer’s

Rebuilding the BP Brand

With the Gulf Oil spill behind it, a new CEO at the helm and the clean up effort underway, BP now must turn its attention to making good on its recovery promises and helping BP branded stations win back customers who may not quickly forget the devastation in the Gulf. Since the spill began, and

Cutting Down on Cooler Costs

Energy reduction remains an ongoing quest for convenience store operators as they look for ways to cut costs in an effort to improve their bottom lines. Building stores to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and seeking LEED certification is something more chains are pursuing, including Kum & Go, Kwik Trip and Quick

Shell Leaps into Loyalty

At a Glance: Shell’s Fuel Rewards Program   In an effort to bring value to its fuel customers and branded marketers, Shell Oil Products U.S., in July, launched its Grocery Rewards program with several of the nation’s largest supermarket brands in markets across the country. Customers earn one fuel point for every dollar spent at

Meeting the Demand for Fresh Foods

Donna Sitka knows her way around convenience store foodservice. She is the foodservice manager for the 13 Tiger Tote Food Stores that have foodservice. Until recently that foodservice consisted of a successful fried chicken operation branded Mama’s Kitchen Fried Chicken and a failed Mexican food venture. The Gonzales, Texas chain of 23 stores, operated by

Sweetening Cigar Sales

Small filtered cigarellos represent a real albeit temporary opportunity for convenience stores to rack up sales, so get going before the window of opportunity slams shut. These diminutive cigars have gained strong appeal among smokers laboring to afford cigarettes in the wake of multiple tobacco tax hikes. The price differential between filtered cigars and cigarettes

Coffee’s Popularity Surges

You wouldn’t think something as simple as coffee could prove to be so complex a phenomenon—or one so indispensable to Americans. Turns out America can see its reflection in a cup of coffee—its economic worries, its desires for variety and small-scale luxury, and even its hopes for a brighter future. All of that swirls together

Maintaining Strong Energy Sales

It had to happen sometime. Energy drinks, arguably the most popular convenience store product in the early-to-middle years of the decade, have begun to slow their sharp rise. Call it a correction, perhaps. A report released last month on the category by research firm Mintel showed that while growth in the category from 2005-2010 was

Delivering the Goods

Winning Over CPG Customers   According to a new study commissioned by MEI Computer Technology Group Inc., there is an increased emphasis on improving trade promotion effectiveness, as consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers look to bolster the value and return on their trade spend, and capture wallet share from consumers.   Despite the current climate,

Today’s Top Snack Trends

The Food Channel has released its top 10 snack trends, one of its regular trend reports prepared in conjunction with CultureWaves, Mintel International and the International Food Futurists. “These trends are meant to inspire your back-to-school snacking,” said Kay Logsdon, editor-in-chief of The Food Channel. “But they also show how people are eating today, with

Rutter’s Farm Stores Named CSD’s Chain of the Year

Exceptional leadership, great stores and unsurpassed customer service are the hallmarks of the convenience store industry’s extraordinary chains. Following these guiding principles, Convenience Store Decisions is proud to announce Rutter’s Farm Stores as the 2010 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. At a time when many industry marketers are struggling with exorbitant credit card fees

Rutter’s Rises as Chain of the Year

Outstanding leadership, great stores and unsurpassed customer service are the hallmarks of the convenience store industry’s exceptional chains. Following these guiding principles, Convenience Store Decisions is proud to announce Rutter’s Farm Stores as the 2010 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. Rutter’s, which supplants Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes as Chain of the Year, is

Strengthening Safe Security

Cash control practices are an essential part of any c-store operation—from having a cash management system in place to training employees in proper security protocol in everyday cash handling and in the event of a robbery. But more often than not, it’s in-house theft that c-stores need to be most vigilant about. “If you have

Fresh from the Farm

Focus on the Franchise   Minimum Franchise Requirements: Net Worth: $750, 000; Liquid assets: $250, 000 Targeted growth areas: Swiss Farms is looking for single and multi-unit franchisees in the following counties: Northern Delaware: New Castle County; Eastern Pennsylvania: Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia County; New York: Nassau and Suffolk County; New Jersey: Camden,

Express Convenience Centers Comes of Age

At A Glance: Express Convenience Centers   Stores: 19 in the Fox Cities region of Wisconsin. Fuel: 17 proprietary-branded Excelerator stati ons and two BP stations. Leadership Team: • John Schmidt, President and CEO, U.S. Venture • Paul Sippl, Director of Branded Fuel Supply, U.S. Venture • Jim Anholzer, General Manager, Express Convenience Centers •

Planning Your Packaging Needs

With foodservice sales booming and more retailers making the leap to fresh foods, operators are turning their attention to take-out packaging and finding that, with all the options and considerations, choosing the proper packaging can be as tricky as selecting the foodservice program itself. “There are so many things to think about when you’re looking

Sweet Success

There’s little doubt that bakeries are big. Bakeries, pastry shops and bagel sellers are growing at a rate of 5%, according to When launching a bakery program, convenience store retailers are urged to start with an in-depth market study that profiles the target customer base, current sales in the market area for the product

Maintaining Strong Smokeless Sales

The slew of new regulations governing the sale of tobacco products has convenience store operators scratching their heads and wondering where the next assault will come from and what to do about it. For example:• The federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act) went into effect on June 29, 2010. Its goal is to

Placement Strategy Helps Prepaid Prosper

As the U.S. economic recession continues, it’s no secret that customers are altering their shopping habits to save a few dollars wherever they can. The silver lining for convenience store retailers could be the resulting affinity credit-crunched customers have developed for the prepaid segment. In a credit weary and increasingly online world, prepaid is helping

The Keys to Cleanliness

How can you get your employees to excel at a part of the job they probably can’t stand—cleaning the store in general and the restrooms in particular? “It’s a good question, and a never-ending pursuit,” said Tony Bartys, vice president of retail operations and marketing for Valero Energy Corp. in San Antonio. “It’s a challenge,

Mini Wine Flavor Cigarillos

Swisher International Inc. has combined one of its newest and most popular flavors with the convenient shape of mini cigarillos to make the new Swisher Sweets Mini Wine Cigarillos. These new, smaller cigars offer the quick smoke many customers prefer, and come individually wrapped with the company’s unique special sealed-fresh wrapper to ensure fresh, flavorful