Hinsdale’s Friendly Faces

Whether they’re spending $2 or $250,000, customers descending on the 200 block of East Ogden Ave. in Hinsdale, Ill., are likely to require some fundamental features in the products they purchase. It doesn’t matter if it’s a turkey on rye from Hinsdale Shell Food Mart at 210 East Ogden Ave. or a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

A Call to Arms

Richard Oneslager enjoys a good joke, so he couldn’t help sharing one of his new favorites. "Did you hear the one about the retailer who sat down with Visa to discuss his interchange fees? Of course you didn’t. Visa doesn’t sit down with retailers!" Oneslager, president of Balmar Petroleum and chairman of the National Association

NACS SOI Reveals Mixed Results

Convenience store industry sales reached a new high of $577.4 billion in 2007, but profits dropped by $1.4 billion, largely because of higher credit card fees, the 2008 NACS State of the Industry report found. Overall, industry revenues climbed only 1.4%, leveling off an extraordinary decade of growth that saw industry revenue grow more than

Fresh Look for Quick Chek

Quick Chek Food Stores, the Whitehouse, N.J. chain of more than 100 stores throughout New Jersey and New York, launched a new brand positioning complete with logo, private-label product packaging and enhanced Web site. With its new logo in the shape of a bright, lime green-colored letter "Q" with tail shaped like a dark green

Couche-Tard Strikes Deal With Spirit Energy

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Convenience Store Decisions 2007 Convenience Store Chain of the Year, reached an agreement to acquire 83 stores in Missouri and central the Illinois area from Spirit Energy. Of the 83 convenience stores, 69 operate under the Convenient Food Mart banner and are all company operated. The stores would be operated by the

McLane Show Draws Record Numbers

The Temple, Texas distributor hosts the show annually to bring its retailer and supplier partners together to help educate marketers on current industry trends and make them aware of the new products they could expect to see in the coming months. This year’s show went a step further. In addition to national and regional vendors

Kum & Go Stores on the Auction Block

Kum & Go LLC, of West Des Moines, Iowa, has retained The Energy Exchange of Chicago to coordinate a sealed bid auction for 21 Kum & Go locations that don’t align with the company’s future plans, the company said. The sealed bid auction will include 12 locations in Iowa, three in South Dakota, two in

No Mystery Here: Speedway Voted Best Customer Service

It’s impossible to know if the pool of customers hired by market research firm Corporate Research International (CRI) would have pegged Speedway SuperAmerica LLC as the leader in customer service five years ago. The Enon, Ohio-based marketer wasn’t even among the handful of convenience store chains whose customer service was evaluated quarterly by the research

Saluting Supplier Partners

Retailers may be on the front lines every day, but the presence of their supplier partners is palpable. It can be seen and felt in the marketing and merchandising found at the store level and in the intricate planograms category managers use to set their stores. To get a better feel for the supplier companies

Couche-Tard Acquires Illinois Stores

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Convenience Store Decisions 2007 Convenience Store Chain of the Year, reached a deal through its Mac’s Convenience Stores subsidiary to acquire 15 units in central Illinois from Speedway SuperAmerica. The deal is expected close by the end of April. Couche-Tard, which has been rumored to be nearing a much larger deal that

CHS to Acquire Zip Trip

CHS Inc. said it reached a deal to acquire 33 Zip Trip convenience stores in the Spokane, Wash. area, owned in part by Jopo Inc. and Jo-By Enterprises LLC. Financial terms were not disclosed. All of the units will be rebranded under the Cenex retail brand this summer. The purchase will make Spokane the largest

Stepping into Spring and Springing into Summer

I recently read a great quote attributed to a one time door-to-door sales person and lately more recognizable as founder of the billion-dollar company that bears her name, Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash said, "Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as

Another Satisfied Customer

On a recent tour of convenience stores in the Northeast, I came across an outstanding Mobil store in northern Maine. What caught my attention at this particular store was the clerk who immediately greeted me and told me about the store’s foodservice special that day, a homemade Boston chowder. That I was greeted was not

Whipping Up a Retail Destination

Big box operators and supermarkets seem to dominate the Texas retail landscape. But while most of those stores focus on getting bigger, some convenience operators are finding that connecting with the consumers on a personal level is better. Consider Whip In, a dynamic marketer based in Austin, Texas. It doesn’t have the size and real

Do You Provide World-Class Service?

Today’s business environment is becoming increasingly complex and competitive due to globalization, new technology, increasing product proliferation, brand erosion, market segmentation, consumer skepticism and time poverty, rendering traditional business plans obsolete. For just about every product or service, there is an overwhelming number of choices to choose from, leaving consumers dazed and confused. So how

Customer Response Surveys Could Reap Big Benefits

As the convenience store and petroleum industry changes and evolves, retailers must continually battle blurred channels, changing technologies and decreased differentiation, one thing is constant: the experience you offer your customers can set you apart from your competition and keep your customers coming back. A great customer experience begins with knowing how your customers view

QuickTrip Garners National Honors

Paid sabbaticals for long-timers and bonuses for part-timers helped make QuikTrip Corp. one of the nation’s top employers again this year. The convenience store chain ranked 28th in its sixth straight appearance on Fortune magazine’s "100 Best Companies To Work for" list. "We are honored to receive this award," said Chet Cadieux, president and CEO

Building a Solid Foundation

The most extraordinary structure is only as strong as it’s weakest link. The same principle applies in business. The higher up the leadership chain that weakness exists the more likely the organization is to crumble. That’s why the companies that are succeeding in the market these days are controlled by innovators that aren’t afraid to

Overcoming Adversity

I’m not much a movie buff, but to prepare for the Super Bowl I set aside a couple of hours to enjoy a big screen classic: Rudy. I’m sure you all know the story of Rudy Ruettiger whose persistence and hard work elevated him to legendary status at Notre Dame. It’s the perfect sports movie

Reducing Operating Costs

Many believe better lighting can improve retail sales. But as one business owner found out, automated lighting can not only increase profits, it can also help make running the business more convenient. Terry Beachler, owner and president of Beachler’s Servicenter & Car Wash in Peoria, Ill., discovered the validity of this concept when he investigated

Couche-Tard Realigns Retail Operations

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Convenience Store Decisions 2007 Chain of the Year, announced a dramatic realignment of it retail business that creates two new business units in the U.S. These units will be identified as the Southwest Division to be based in Dallas and will be comprised of the states of Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and New

The Simple Secrets of Getting Ahead in the C-Store Business

First, it is an established fact that getting ahead in the convenience store industry is much, much easier than in most any other industry. While we absolutely believe in the value of a good education–indeed many company’s help fund continuing education for their employees–our industry does not require a college degree. Many managers and general

“K” Marks the Spot

THE CONVENIENCE STORE INDUSTRY makes for a very competitive climate. With the vast number of convenience chains in business-not to mention the impinging presence of hypermarts- making a store’s presence known in a busy market can be very diffi cult. Ed Marszal and Liz Pritchard, co-owners of California Retail Management (CRM), discovered this when they

Identifying More Effective Profit-Building Strategies

“In a business like cigars, where unit volume is growing 10% plus year-over-year, emerging strategic thinking in convenience retail suggests that retailers can grow even faster by employing a “price-for-volume” strategy for key products.” David Bishop, partner, Willard Bishop This summer, we examined how convenience retailers could manage the cigar category differently to realize above-market

Managing Real Estate Operations

The foundations for other industries lay in the product. The film industry pumps out movies. Pharmaceuticals companies manufacture drugs. Publishers print magazines. For convenience stores the world over, the foundation is literally the foundation.   “It comes down to location, location, location, just like in real estate,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of communications for

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