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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 –

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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

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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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