Weighing Odds and Ends

Within the daily operation of a c-store, small things carry as much weight as the big things. By Jim Callahan April 1 marks my 50th year in the industry—at the time I never gave much thought to the April Fools’ Day legend and would have ignored it anyway. Early on, I had the great fortune

Share

Readying for Transportation Trends

Whether it’s horse-drawn wagons, gasoline-powered cars or electrical vehicles, there’s opportunity for convenience retailers to become part of the transportation movement trending at the time. By Mark Radosevich While driving through a small town near my office in Tennessee recently, I was surprised to see an Amish horse and wagon tied to a hitching post

Share

Cause for Concern Over Car Ownership?

By John Lofstock, Editor Industries everywhere are being shaken up by the rise of the “Membership Economy,” a business strategy that has organizations working to build long-term, formal relationships with their customers. To do this, some companies charge their members a subscription fee. Others simply charge on a per-usage basis. This brings us to the

Share

Three Tips to Start Offering Biodiesel

By Troy Shoen, Renewable Energy Group Inc. Have you been looking for ways to increase your fuel margins? Attract more customers? Hop on the sustainability trend? Introducing biodiesel blends to your product offering could help you do all three. And here are three tips to put you in a position to start taking advantage of

Share

Building a Strong Team Fosters Success

There are many factors in creating good managers. Trust is a key consideration. By John Matthews Retailers require good people to reach their goals and convenience stores are no exception. Surrounding yourself with talented people enables all ships to rise—the company, the employees and yourself. While developing an impressive team does not happen overnight, it’s

Share

Cooling the Middle of the Store to Heat up Sales

Open-air coolers in the middle of the store can help accommodate a growing demand for fresh. By John Wallace Situation: Shrinking revenues from the middle of the store For years, a major U.S. grocery chain had largely taken the middle of its stores for granted — and it wasn’t alone. Throughout the food retail industry,

Share

Technology’s Food Interface

As needs of the U.S. consumer change, modern tools are offering convenience retailers new solutions to craft better foodservice programs. By Erin Del Conte, Senior Editor As convenience stores continue to up their foodservice game, technology is offering ways to better meet crucial goals, from labor management to speed of service to food safety to

Share

How Nametags Can Change the Game

Nametags can take your customer service level up a notch. By Tony Huppert Today, customer service matters more than ever at convenience stores, and the simple act of ensuring all employees wear nametags can help customers feel more connected. Nametags have been a point of discussion for my wife Trudy and I for years. As

Share

Engaged Customers Are Loyal Customers

The convenience store industry continues to evolve and where it ends up as robotics and personalized delivery gain traction is anyone’s guess. But one thing for sure is that how customers feel about your brand and your services will likely determine where they make their purchases. Robbie Kellman Baxter, a business consultant focused on how

Share

Honing the Category Management Process

So many products, so little time. By John Matthews. A category manager will massage their planograms in search of the “unicorn” of displays, spending hour upon hour trying to get it just right. While the customer clearly appreciates the latest products, sometimes they just appreciate their product in stock and on the shelf. It can

Share

Renewable Fuel Trends From the 2018 National Biodiesel Conference

Automakers are looking for ways to tap into the sustainability trend. By Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group Inc. As vehicle trends go, convenience stores would do well to pay attention to the Ford F-series. It has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. since 1977 and the best-selling vehicle of any kind for 35 years,

Share

Succeeding with a Service-Driven Culture

By John Lofstock, Editor. From great corners, clean restrooms and modern facilities to fresh food and a wide selection of popular snacks, convenience stores are committed to delivering outstanding service. This commitment is evident in the industry’s growing sales numbers at a time when other retail channels are struggling to break even. This service-driven culture

Share

The Annual Expedition— A Look at NRF’s Big Show

Innovation in 2018 will be about retailer & solution provider collaboration, thinking about not only the new, but extending what’s in place today. By Ed Collupy It’s a journey that more convenience/petro retailers and service providers, large and small and from all corners of the U.S., are making each year. Off to the Big Show—the

Share

Embrace New Opportunities in the New Year

By John Lofstock, editor-in-chief There’s no doubt that 2017 will be regarded as one of the most challenging years ever for the convenience store and petroleum industry. While the economy has strengthened, the stock market rallied and unemployment fell to a 15-year low, the convenience store industry was hit hard by a host of local

Share

A Better Path to Inventorying

Gaining control over store inventory is a necessary step to boosting your bottom line. By Ed Collupy When store operators talk about inventory and cash management I always hear them talk about it in terms of accountability, control and operational improvement. How they get there, even with similar objectives, isn’t always the same. Many put

Share

2017: Observations in Review & What’s to Come

As the year ends, it’s a time for reflection and to look into the future.  By Ed Collupy It’s that time of the year when it’s always good to take time to look back, reflect, and muse – where did the time go, what did I accomplish, how have I helped others, what’s changed since

Share

Is The C-Store Channel Taking A Wrong Turn?

As c-stores chase the future, are they throwing away some of the things that make them valuable? By Bill Scott As alluded to by Mel Hayne’s contribution, “Always A Good Read”, it seems to me like the majority of the convenience store industry is moving away from its original concept and turning into an upscale

Share

Myth Buster: Biodiesel and Cold Weather

By Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group Inc. A year ago at this time, I wrote a CSD column about five common biodiesel myths. Today, I want to go deeper into one that is especially timely. It’s the myth that biodiesel doesn’t work in the cold. I still hear this from people, but it simply is

Share

Are Bad Breaks Bad Luck or Bad Choices?

By Jim Callahan Who among us has not been bitten by the failure bug? All of us, including me. The question that sometimes lurks in our minds is usually this: Was I a victim of circumstance or did I play an active role in this bad luck incident? I decided a personal theme for this

Share

Looking at 2018 and Beyond

From biometrics to augmented reality, technological opportunities are starting to move faster. By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor Technology has evolved faster in the last five years than it has in decades, bringing changes that are disrupting major industries, including the c-store industry. I recently spoke with Futurist Daniel Burrus to get his take

Share

Plunge in Gasoline Demand over Thanksgiving Sparks Selling

Fuel Marketer Intelligence: Supply Chain Dynamics to Retail Fuel Prices By Brian Milne Gasoline futures closest to physical delivery ended November at a two-week low following disappointing demand over the Thanksgiving Day holiday while a closely watched and much anticipated meeting by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 non-OPEC oil producing countries

Share

Popular Food Trends May Create Safety Challenges in 2018

Whether they’re adding smoothies, cookie dough or vegan and gluten-free options, c-stores need to make sure they’re following food safety best practices. By Gina (Nicholson) Kramer Those delicious fruit smoothies your store sells to health-conscious customers may be popular. But they may not be safe. Several modern food trends – including the smoothie craze –

Share

A Warning to Suppliers and Convenience Store Retailers

Amazon is taking note of c-store deficiencies. Can retailers and suppliers work together to overcome inventory challenges? By Bill Scott A full-line grocery supplier’s job is to deliver merchandise to a retailer that the retailer can sell and earn a profit. The advantage the supplier offers to the retailer includes credit (normally 10 days), product

Share

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

Share

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

Share