New Beginnings

I’d like to begin this month by saying I hope each and every one of you had a happy and healthy holiday season.  

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for us at here at Convenience Store Decisions so I want to take a few minutes to give you all a personal update on the sale of the Convenience Store Decisions Group to Harbor Communications. The sale was completed Nov. 30 and things could not have worked out any better for the magazine. While there were some rumors floating out there, I hope you can all understand that our former corporate parent company, Penton Media, was adamant that we kept the sale of the company quiet until it was completed, so I fully apologize if that caused some confusion in the market place.

The sale of CSD will have immediate short- and long-term benefits for the group. Harbor Communications is a great publishing firm that I’m pleased to be joining. The owners include Bill Donohue, who originally launched Convenience Store Decisions in 1990 when he was president of Donohue Meehan Publishing; Dan Ramella, the former president and chief operating officer of Penton Media and a former publisher of Penton’s Restaurant Hospitality; and Tom McIntyre, the former publisher of Penton’s Food Management.

Tom was named the new group publisher of CSD and I will remain Editor-in-Chief and was named Group Editorial Director.

CSD has always, and will continue to be, committed to this industry and I think that will be even more apparent with our new publishing group. I want to thank you all for your continued support of Convenience Store Decisions. Your support is immensely important to us. Please feel to contact me is you have any questions about the deal and know that CSD plans to have a very bright 2008.

Seven Strong
We have another strong issue for you this month beginning with our cover story, “Betting on the Franchise.” 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto explains the ongoing transition at the industry’s oldest and largest convenience store chain as it moves to a strict franchisee-based model.

“We are not changing simply for the sake of changing. This is part of an evolutionary process that will allow us to grow the company to entirely new levels,” DePinto said. “Our focus will continue to be supporting our franchisee partners provide the outstanding service and products our customers have come to expect from 7-Eleven.”

Read the 7-Eleven cover story here.

This issue also addresses the need for retailers interested in offering an upscale foodservice program to begin by making a firm commitment to foodservice. Healthy grab-and-go foods are a growing and profitable segment, but, “if you’re skeptical and not committed to food, it’s very hard to succeed,” explained Scott Hartman, president and CEO of Rutter’s Farm Stores in York, Pa., whose company is famous for its wide array of foods that are fresh, healthy and quick.

When it comes to your brand and image, fresh and healthy is good positioning, especially if you can execute it with a bunch of different products. Read the story beginning on page 28.

When it comes to managing foodservice sales, building the beverage business is extremely crucial for driving incremental sales. Companies like Kwik Trip remain innovators when it comes to attracting and retaining loyal customers. For example, the chain started an email coupon program that bodes well for future beverage- and food-driven cross marketing. Kwik Trip, which initially populated its database with the names of its thousands of credit card customers, is also gathering email addresses from focus groups, explained Gary Gonczy, marketing director for the in La Crosse, Learn more about the company’s marketing efforts on page 32.

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