never stop learning

If there is one thing I have learned to become good at inmy personal life and my career it's learning from mymistakes. In one of my recent hockey games, trailinglate in the third period 3-1, I was able to score off a faceoff—a pretty backhand shot off the crossbar—to narrow thedeficit to 3-2. A few moments later, I had a breakaway totie the game and in my split-second haste debatingwhether to go top-shelf or five-hole, the goalie poked thepuck away, thus ending our last solid scoring chance andculminating a difficult 3-2 loss.

What was so disappointing tome wasn't that we lost the game—no one, no matter how good, winsevery game. But after sharing a fewgood-natured expletives with thegoalie, I asked why he took achance coming out of the crease togo after the puck. His answer wassimple. He said, "I was watchingyou the whole game. I knew youwere going to try to go to yourbackhand."

He knew. He was watching me.

Let'sface it, I look good in a hockey girdle and shoulder pads, but it was a sobering reality to hear this guy sayhe recognized my strengths and used them to his advantage. Sometimes you have to tipyour cap in recognition of an effective strategy.

All this got me thinking about the evolution ofConvenience Store Decisions, how much we have learned fromobserving the convenience market and what it takes to succeed in this business. This month, we are taking the firstcrucial step of strengthening our presence in the marketplace with a complete overhaul of our Web site, www.cstoredecisions.com.

This site is loaded with a number of industry firsts. Forexample, CSDecisions.com features the first industry exclusive vertical search engine that aggregates news, information and research by pulling files from dozens of industry-related Web sites to offer industry content in one convenient location, CSDecisions.com. Best of all, our exclusivesearch engine filters out all the junk and offers readersonly relevant content.

CSD online will also feature a number of blogs, including a retailer report from Dan McCurdy of Town &Country food stores, our Ask the Experts panel, SupplierAdvisory Board focus group reports, daily news, industry white papers and proprietary research. All of this is to helpyou, the reader, be more informed when it comes to making key business decisions.

"This blog will serve as an information resource for allthings in the c-store communication arena—advertising,public relations, communication tips, news of new ad campaigns, commercials and horizon items," said McCurdy, asavvy industry veteran with 35 years of communicationsexperience with some of the industry's biggest chainsincluding 7-Eleven (20 years) and Town & Country Food Stores (13 years). "It will be specifically tailored to the needs and interests of the c-store community."

January also marks the continuation of CSD's ECRM alliance. Atthis month's ECRM show inArizona, CSD will join with retailersand suppliers to help facilitateECRM's productive and creativeone-on-one buying sessions.

In this month's issue of CSD, wecontinue our effort to help suppliercompanies become more visible toretailers. Our second annual Buyer'sGuide is a complete compilation ofthe suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers servicing theconvenience store and petroleum industry. The data isorganized in alphabetical order by company and by category allowing retailers to find vital supplier information inabout the time it takes to turn a page. You can view theBuyer's Guide beginning on p. 14.

In the coming days, all of this information will also beavailable online, giving retailers easy access to relevantsupplier information in an easy-to-navigate format. Visitwww.cstoredecisions.com for details.

As we begin this new journey with these innovativeproducts and partnerships, and enter a new era in tradepublishing, I encourage all of you to monitor our growthand see just how much we have learned and how far wehave come. I guarantee you'll learn something from usalong the way as well.

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