The Expanding Back Office

Cloud and mobile are among the technologies pushing the envelope of internal store systems. By Ed Collupy Recent store visits have often allowed me to spend time in the ‘back office’ and have reaffirmed for me that retail store managers have a lot going on. There are people interactions, printed and posted operational & marketing

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Controlling Your Stores

Many store tasks can produce big headaches if they all come at once. By Jim Callahan. Many years ago when I was still fairly new to the industry, I was tasked with dragging five utterly sorry convenience stores into compliance and profitability. I say with a wee touch of embarrassment that nothing in my career

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Creating the Frictionless Journey Your Customers Want and Demand

Create a powerful customer experience solution where the customer can easily identify and manage their relationship with your brand. By Ed Collupy These were insights & remarks I prepared for a session on Customer Engagement that I cohosted with Matt Miller from NCR in the International Hub at the 2017 NACS Show. I want to

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Service Culture for a New Generation

One of the few respites I enjoy is sleeping on the plane. I’m fortunate to travel the country viewing c-stores and speaking at events, but where some people can get work done on a plane, I’ve come to find an adult beverage and a power nap are much better uses of my time. So when

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U.S. Gasoline Prices Moving Higher in November

Fuel Marketer Intelligence: Supply Chain Dynamics to Retail Fuel Prices By Brian Milne As we head toward the holiday season, gasoline prices in the U.S. are doing something they typically don’t do this time of year—advance. Several factors are driving the atypical price increase in early November that, as they say in trading lingo, has

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Conducting a Foodservice Focus Group

Gaining knowledge of what distinguishes your foodservice program requires due diligence and asking some questions. By John Matthews Convenience store operators continue to plunge into foodservice with the hopes of stemming the tide of lower margins with high-margin foodservice offerings. While the degrees of foodservice can vary greatly from chain to chain, the approach to

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Case Study: Retailer Benefits From Renewable Fuel

By Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group Inc. So what’s it like for a retailer to sell biodiesel blends at the pump? I can talk about the benefits, but I’d rather you hear from one of your peers in the industry. Kevin Cassidy is vice president at Sapp Bros., Inc., which has travel center and fuel

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Perfectly Poised to Pounce

Poor customer service can strike down even the biggest and brightest commercial retailer. By Jim Callahan Recently, I arrived at my bank on a Saturday morning as they opened the doors—and I hoped—the vault. Little did I know it would be another day of big business in Corporate America, in the greater Atlanta area where

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What is The Typical Profit Split Between Inside Sales and Gas?

By Bill Scott Today, someone asked me, “what is the typical profit split at a gas station between inside sales and gas” on Quora. Here is my response: I thought I had answered this question yesterday, but I will answer it again in a different way. My data shows that in the United States, currently

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Operationalizing Your 2018 Business Plan

“The Nice Thing About Not Planning Is That Failure Comes As A Complete Surprise Rather Than Being Preceded By A Period Of Worry And Depression.”  — Anonymous Operationalizing your 2018 business planning is a step-by-step process of action, reaction and counteraction for visualizing the execution of your business plan in relation to your competition. Business

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NAG Wraps Up in Nashville

Nearly 11 months of planning culminated last month with the successful completion of another National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference in Nashville, which yielded record attendance and an outstanding lineup of educational sessions. NAG is a special group in the competitive convenience store industry focused on small, mid-sized and family-owned chains, and the unique challenges facing

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Why Networking Matters for Young Professionals

As the convenience store and petroleum industry continues to evolve, training the leaders of tomorrow is more important than ever. That’s the driving force behind the National Advisory Group’s (NAG) Young Executives Organization (YEO). This growing group of emerging industry leaders is keenly focused on education and networking with other next-generation executives who are facing

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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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Learning to Cope With Stress

How do we learn to deal with pressure on the job? It’s not easy, but developing certain tools can help. By Jim Callahan Really, when you get right down to it, stress is like any obstacle you either must master, learn to control or at the very least, come to terms with. Whether it’s learning

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Amazon and Whole Foods Unite

By Ed Collupy On Aug. 28, Amazon became the new owner of Whole Foods Market, and as quickly as the deal closed (just over two months), they’ve announced several initiatives that they began to execute immediately. Just after the June announcement, I reflected in a blog here about how I thought the physical and digital

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Why Networking Matters for Young Professionals

As the convenience store and petroleum industry continues to evolve, training the leaders of tomorrow is more important than ever. That’s the driving force behind the National Advisory Group’s (NAG) Young Executives Organization (YEO). This growing group of emerging industry leaders is keenly focused on education and networking with other next-generation executives who are facing

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Delivery Crunch Time

As more channels move into delivery, c-stores need to get in the game or get left behind. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor Sandwiched in between Gen X and Millennials, I’m what Dan Woodman, associate professor of Sociology at the University of Melbourne, has coined an ‘Xennial’—those born between 1977 and 1983, and the

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Do You Know These People?

By Bill Scott Are you ready to solve a mystery? Come on now! You might get something out of it; but at the least, you’ll have some fun. This is a puzzle to actually make you question whether or not you really know what’s going on in your business, OR, are you just falling for

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Establishing Supplier Guidelines

When it comes to supply contracts, retailers should always keep an eye out for their best interests. By Steve Sandman The last time I bought a house it was pretty clear that the world we live is entangled in contracts, agreements, understandings and any other sort of written document that either we or the other

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Fortify Your Company Foundation

Compensation, good hiring and leadership are important parts to building a solid retention program. By Linda McKenna Convenience store industry has always been a burning issue, but more so in the last few years. There are endless ideas to improve retention from welcome letters to bonuses. Many retailers have implemented different strategies yet still suffer

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Manage Your Inventory

By Bill Scott All of the things I’ve talked about so far are important. But none of them matter—unless you can get control of your inventory. I will never be able to understand why any sane individual would invest $250,000 to $1 million in a convenience store that returns only 2% profit. Maybe I’m just

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Gaining Operational Efficiency from BMS Insight

Enable intelligent apps with effective use of data. By Ron Chapek  As convenience stores continue to evolve to adapt to changing customer demands and infrastructure and facility requirements, operators are under increasing pressure to gain operational efficiencies. Of growing importance in this effort are the intelligent applications that allow operators to effectively use the data

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How Biodiesel Can Improve Your Bottom Line

By Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group Inc. Why is interest in biodiesel growing among convenience store operators? In past blog posts for CSD, I’ve touched on some of the reasons, including its performance benefits, its lower emissions and the increasing number of diesel-powered vehicles. But let’s be honest. If biodiesel didn’t make economic sense, c-store

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Celebrating Summer – Student Internships

It’s almost back to school time for many young people including students who had an internship experience this summer. Recently I’ve seen several posts on LinkedIn reveling the work interns did for the companies they’ve brought eyes & hands and more importantly minds & hearts to. For me, an internship is a two-way given and

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Sheetz Earns 2017 Chain of the Year Honors

With an unsurpassed commitment to foodservice and technology, a world-class distribution model and a total commitment to its vast employee base, Sheetz Inc. embodies the very best the convenience store industry has to offer. Over the past year, the 550-store chain was recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For,

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