A Fond Farewell

After more than 30 years in the convenience-store industry and a couple of more years writing about c-stores, a new opportunity awaits. By Fran Duskiewicz When I was deep in the middle of everything that was going on in the industry, I had little patience for those who I believed were coasting on past experiences

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When Counting the Human Cost

In the middle of June, I traveled to central New York. I hadn’t been back since I relocated to Naples, Fla. more than a year ago. There were a number of reasons for the visit, most of them prosaic, but what was very much center of mind for me was checking on the feelings of

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Too Many Chiefs

When upgrading foodservice, creating a budgeting and bonus program that encourages and rewards cooperation is a must. By Fran Duskiewicz Many companies who attempt to incorporate an upgraded foodservice operation into existing store operations often overlook the complexities and possible counterproductive managerial head-butting that can occur. Rearranging the store level organizational chart so that current

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Knowing How to Apply Training Triage

Some individuals entering the convenience industry lack certain educational skills.  As a result, worker training must be shaped to address such deficiencies. By Fran Duskiewicz There’s a real, practical reason I was hired by John MacDougall, founder of Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, which launched my long career with the company: I was an English

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Managing Grab and Go

Making food that is not to order and that becomes a retail item without a guaranteed sale is a foreign concept to many foodservice professionals. By Fran Duskiewicz Here’s a scenario that happens often. Your favorite source of grab-and-go food—whether it’s a supermarket or a convenience store with dedicated foodservice—continually seems to be out of

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A Strong Tradition of Keeping SCORE

If you don’t already know, there’s a unique nonprofit group that specializes in helping businesses be more successful. By Fran Duskiewicz One of the more attractive aspects of our industry is the very real commitment to community involvement as continually shown by its companies, both large and small, and its various trade organizations and trade

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Making Sense of Company Culture

Embracing a positive company environment requires real resolve. By Fran Duskiewicz In crafting this column, I made a list of the things I thought might be interesting and relevant to readers, based on their knowledge of my background within Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes and my various industry involvements. I’ve made my way through the

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Small Town Heroes

There’s something about places where our roots remain. The same can be said about the convenience store industry. By Fran Duskiewicz Many years ago, when I was a young English teacher sitting in the teachers’ lounge, expounding upon why central New York was such a great place to live, the school’s guidance counselor chastised me

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Reviewing Regulation Irregularities

Nobody said that operating a c-store is easy, but knowing the ground rules helps. By Fran Duskiewicz If you sit around and chat with a group of convenience store executives, sooner or later, the discussion will turn to horror stories of dealing with local, state and federal inspectors and the inconsistent nature in which they

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Will Fewer Employees Become the Norm?

In the pursuit of efficiency, c-store operations are changing. But, is it for the better? By Fran Duskiewicz Near where I live, the Target and Walmart stores have installed self-checkout sections with scale scanners, payment systems and bagging units available 24 hours a day.  They’re always busy and customers seem comfortable with the process, handling

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Industry Advocacy Needed

Committee work and share groups allow c-store stakeholders to impart ideas and information for the betterment of everyone. By Fran Duskiewicz I worked for Nice N Easy for 30 years. For 20 of those years, it seemed as though I spent as much time on activities and projects outside of our company on things that

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Patience is a Virtue, But Also Hard Work

Lately, CST Brands has been under scrutiny for making some bold acquisitions that will take time to generate an optimal return on investment. By Fran Duskiewicz CST Brands Inc. has been in the news quite a bit these past few months, facing challenges from a couple of activist shareholder groups that have taken issue with

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Labor and the C-Store Abstract

Hourly wages are a growing part of doing business in the convenience store industry. By Fran Duskiewicz In the 30 years that I worked for Nice N Easy, I never had a true job description—many job titles, but no job description. I asked once if I should have one and was told, “your job description

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Manager Profiling Made Easy

It takes experience to identify certain managerial styles, and a strong will to overcome them. By Fran Duskiewicz One mistake newly promoted supervisors often make is believing that they can change managers who might have some issues in management style. Sometimes, with added responsibility and power, they approach dealing with these issues in a rather

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How Pride Can Undo the Best and Brightest

Just when a company thinks it’s on top, that’s when it should take inventory of the basics. By Fran Duskiewicz Peter Tamburro, with whom I worked at Nice N Easy for almost 20 years, and I still get together now and then at Nice N Easy’s former executive meeting lounge, Graziano’s, in Canastota, N.Y. We

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Baby Boomers Not the Lost Generation Yet

Though more c-stores strive to attract a younger customer base, older patrons are just as valuable. By Fran Duskiewicz Often we read in the trade journals about what the convenience industry should do to attract and keep the latest generation of customers. I’ve been around long enough to remember seminars about Gen X, Gen Y, Echoes,

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How To Prevent Foodservice Operation From Becoming a Gateway to Employee Theft?

Foodservice items must be managed diligently to ward off shrink. By Fran Duskiewicz The column I wrote a couple months back, about how inept foodservice accounting practices and the lack of industry foodservice metrics and standards could result in untold shrink figures, resulted in the most comments and questions I’ve received. The advent of complete

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How to Maximize Mandatory Store Service Time

Everyone from the top to the bottom should understand what a good store manager does to keep the operation humming. By Fran Duskiewicz For the first 10 years or so that I worked for Nice N Easy, I spent most of my time on the road with store managers—training, opening stores, creating programs, whatever it

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How to Maintain Accurate Inventory Numbers

Controlling inventory can be simpler. By Fran Duskiewicz About 10 years ago when I was at Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, we stopped our foodservice managers from doing weekly food counts. We had decided it was an unproductive waste of time that was yielding faulty data, thereby hindering our efforts to improve performance in an

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How True Believers Are Keeping the Flame Alive

In a positive corporate culture, you need different leaders and “True Believers.” By Fran Duskiewicz I suppose the reason that I have been mulling over what makes for a great corporate culture is that I will be moderating a panel on that topic at the National Advisors Group (NAG) Conference in Santa Fe, N.M. in

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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

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The C-Store Game

A little friendly competition can do wonders to motivate employees. By Fran Duskiewicz Competitiveness is a human trait that can be viewed as simultaneously admirable and/or obnoxious. However, it is always a motivational force, whether handled well or poorly. I’ve always been a competitive ‘son-u-va-gun.’ My poor mom would play games with me when I

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Deciding to Sell

There’s a lot involved when a private company merges with a large competitor, including the emotional residue. By Fran Duskiewicz Every day, the trade journals’ e-news announce more privately-owned, mid-sized convenience store chains being purchased by one of the large, growth-oriented industry giants. Always, the acquirers are the news. Take for instance the recent announcement

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Working in This Aspirational Career

Sometimes the industry in which you work is more than just a job. One of the most common questions I’ve asked people within our industry is how they got to where they are. I ask that because most of us just sort of wandered in, either because of family, or because we needed a job

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A Letter From Home

Making a life change isn’t always easy, but sometimes it’s necessary. Through 30 years, I had become quite used to seeing Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes mentioned in trade journals’ headlines and stories—always in a positive way, usually focused on some innovation or one of the many awards and honors won by Nice N Easy’s

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