Lessons in Retail Leadership

Despite fast-changing customer expectations, shortened product and retail life cycles and rapid technological advancements, many retailers have not taken advantage of opportunities to innovate. By applying new perspectives to established ways of doing business, convenience store retailers can strengthen their competitive and financial positions, improve the customer experience and create a new life cycle of

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Finding Your Way with Foodservice

Growing up in New YORK CITY few things were as natural to me as eating out. Even now with three children, a minimum of two meals a day are eaten outside the house seven days a week. The kitchen table is more of a convenient place to store things, like takeout menus and the kids’

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Are Customers Always Right?

As anyone even remotely associated with the service industry will tell you the customer is king. But a new book is challenging that theory and takes a critical look at the true value of disgruntled customers. For example, in a retail setting, the squeaky wheel almost always winds up getting the grease. Customers tend to

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Honoring the Thorntons Culture

Pride, tradition, exceptional service, an outstanding culture and dedicated employees. These are just some of the unique qualities found in the industry’s top convenience store chains. For the past 22 years, Convenience Store Decisions has had the honor of recognizing this excellence in retailing and this year we are proud to honor Thorntons Inc. as

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Tracking the Trends in Convenience Retailing

Despite the global recession, convenience stores have thrived thanks to their ability to provide fast service, quality products and great value in strategic locations. As service and location remain the industry’s primary competitive advantage over supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, many of whom are moving into the fuel and fresh food business, convenience stores

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Is Big Oil Losing its Drawing Power?

For many, many years the power of the Big Oil brands was indisputable. They owned the refineries, the stations and the credit card networks to boot. While my father was an Exxon dealer and jobber for more than 30 years I distinctly remember seeing Shell and Texaco credit cards lying around the house. In those

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Saluting the Thorntons Team

By John Lofstock, Editor. August is typically one of my favorite issues of the year because it gives us here at Convenience Store Decisions an opportunity to give something back to the industry for its tremendous support throughout the year. In August we announce our annual Convenience Store Chain of the Year, and this year

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward

There was a time in the convenience store industry when being a great marketer was enough to have a successful business. Unfortunately, being a successful convenience store retailer these days means that not only do you have to outperform your competition, but you must also satisfy federal regulators. The convenience store industry is used to

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Applauding Industry Leaders

By: John Lofstock, Editor. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Those words are about as chilling to convenience store retailers as Navy SEAL Team 6 is to terrorists. But this is the new reality for all marketers of tobacco. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants convenience store retailers to think otherwise.

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How Involved Are You?

By: John Lofstock, Editor. After a years-long struggle to get some much-needed relief from the high interchange fees that are eroding the industry’s profitability, convenience store operators are in danger of seeing the victory slip between their hands. The Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Consumer Financial Protection Act, which is set to be finalized April

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Emphasizing Category Management

 By: John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience Store Decisions‘ annual Category Management Outlook issue is routinely one of my favorite issues of the year because it gives the CSD staff an opportunity not only to analyze the industry’s performance over the past 12 months, but to forecast the sales trends retailers can expect to see over the

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Rutter’s Rises as Chain of the Year

Outstanding leadership, great stores and unsurpassed customer service are the hallmarks of the convenience store industry’s exceptional chains. Following these guiding principles, Convenience Store Decisions is proud to announce Rutter’s Farm Stores as the 2010 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. Rutter’s, which supplants Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes as Chain of the Year, is

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Building Relationships at the National Advisory Group

Throughout my 15 years of covering the convenience store industry, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, develop lifelong friendships and watch in awe as otherwise ordinary people learned to work together to produce extraordinary results. Throughout that time I’ve also seen countless people come and go. For some, the industry was a

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Honoring Our Past

This month begins a very special year for Convenience Store Decisions. Throughout 2009 we are committed to recognizing the leaders and innovators that have shaped the convenience store and petroleum industry and helped create this multi-billion-dollar retail sector. Legends in Retailing will focus on the challenges operators faced in the early days of the industry,

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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

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Growing the Business Together

On November 29th of this year, one of the most exciting moments of my publishing career occurred when we, Harbor Communications, closed on the purchase of Convenience Store Decisions from Penton Media. It was quick, exhilarating, and I am thrilled to now be the owner of such a groundbreaking, long-running publication serving this vital market.

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Final Thoughts

“HOW FAR YOU GO in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” That quote from American educator and researcher George Washington Carver has always had special meaning

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