Profile of a Coffee Machine

Boyd Coffee Co. introduces a revolutionary brewing machine called The Coffee Profiler. As evidence of the ground-breaking nature of this piece of equipment, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) automatically grants Golden Cup Award certification—the coffee industry’s standard for recognizing excellence in properly brewed coffee—to any purveyor that has The Coffee Profiler. The Coffee

Alaskan Energy Crisis Solved

Faced with almost six weeks of daylight when the summer solstice hit their town on June 20, residents in Barrow, Alaska, were finally provided an answer to their age-old question: How do you make it through a 1,992-hour day? In honor of the summer solstice, the makers of Jolt Energy drink airlifted 370 cases of

Shell Games

Maybe there’s still a bit of debate on the medical merits of catharsis, but Bobak Bakhtiari could be the man to put the issue to rest. "Does it further ignite aggression?" asked Bakhtiari, a former counselor at a California psychiatric facility who now runs Tanforan Shell, his family’s convenience store and carwash in San Bruno,

A Tobacco-Free County: Could it Ever Happen?

I remember it clearly. It was an overcast day in June 2002 in Lancaster County, Pa., when I attended a meeting that has always left me with a lasting impression. As the tobacco buyer for a major oil company, I quietly sat (not something I’m known for) and I listened to the discussion that one

Get Ready for Gen Y

The international marketing firm Youngster recently reported that for the first time in history, the market group known as Generation Y, those ages 10 to 25, is evenly divided across each of its five age-based subgroups. A short 10 years ago when Generation Y first burst on to the scene, the vast majority of Gen

Creating Loyalty Among Thrifty Customers

Retailers throughout the country are aware that with the current economic downturn, customers are often trying to find the most cost-effective deals. But industry leaders are relying on innovative solutions aimed at getting their customers decent deals while creating brand loyalty. Fuel retailer loyalty programs work similar to loyalty programs in other industries, according to

Analyzing Scan Data

Market basket analysis and its offshoot, affinity marketing, continue to follow the usual c-store industry adoption pattern: cautious expansion, mostly among the bigger chains. But the potential payoffs could be enormous. That said, like most new technologies market basket requires commitment at the top, beginning with more expensive software matched with an appropriate point-of-sale (POS)

Get Them Where They Shop

Your store is a great place to advertise. The customer is already there and receptive to making a purchase. You have the ability to control the environment and the number and types of messages you communicate. And today you can choose from more media formats than ever before—everything from simple signage to video and digital

The Lean Scene

Some are kind of freaked out, and some kind of like the idea. The hardscrabble soda-and-cigarettes crowd, they’re still on the lower hump of the learning curve. "They’re kind of like, ‘Hey dude, where’s my Doritos and cigarettes,’" said Alvaro Garza, co-owner of The Green Spot Market and Fuels on the outskirts of Dallas. But

Consumers Rush for Energy

John Scully got started on Red Bull before Red Bull got started on him. Now 41 and working as a mortgage broker in Cleveland, Scully remembers that first sip, taken in a bar in Thailand where he’d backpacked when he was a 20-something college graduate long on adventure and short on money. "You sort of

Packaged Beverage Sales Heating Up

New products and flavors, including some with healthier ingredients, are helping soft drinks and teas experience a healthy resurgence in already jammed cold vaults nationwide, even as traditional carbonated soft drinks continue to decline. For operators, keeping tabs on trends and adjusting sets to match ever-changing dynamics remains a full-time job. According to the National

Prepaid Reaping Financial Rewards

While gift card malls have been getting a lot of attention, prepaid debit, credit, gift and especially gas cards offered by Visa, MasterCard and American Express are quietly booming in popularity. Prepaid’s profit potential is fueled by shifts in the marketplace, wider social acceptance and the nation’s growing population of "unbanked" lower-income consumers. And while

Reshaping the Convenience Landscape

For some marketers and distributors, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s decision to get out of direct-store operations could present the chance of a lifetime; an opportunity to acquire the rights to stores for an entire market, maybe more. For others, the announcement caused immediate fear and panic concerning the long-term viability of their operations and, in some

The Jackpot in Goldsby

Try as they might, the triumvirate at Nine West Marketplace in Goldsby, Okla., just couldn’t get the beer drinkers in their small Oklahoma town to help themselves to the brews in the beer cave. "We tried everything under the sun to get them to go in there," said Carri Moore-Colwell, one of three owners at

Shoppernomics 2.0: The Not-So-Perfect Storm

There’s a host of ingredients contaminating the retail environment these days, with shoppers dogged by rising costs in energy, food and basic necessities. As a result, shopping habits are being radically reshaped in this new and uncertain environment, said Thom Blischok, president of consulting and innovation at Information Resources Inc. (IRI). "We are living in

Zarco 66 Expanding Alternative Fuels

Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels last month celebrated the official grand opening of its first sustainable and alternative fuel site in Lawrence, Kan. The Zarco location not only dispenses ethanol and biodiesel produced within a 75-mile radius of the facility, it also represents an innovative vision for sustainable construction and energy consumption. Dubbed the "Green

Atlas Oil to Acquire 23 BP Sites in Indiana

Atlas Oil Co., of Taylor, Mich., has reached an agreement with BP Products North America to acquire and supply 23 BP branded stores in northwest Indiana. The sale, which is scheduled to close in the fall, includes a number of retail locations owned by BP, several dealer-supplied sites and an agreement for Atlas to operate

By the Numbers

» 3 Years Pennsylvania resident Kathy Wallick gets free fuel as part of Rutter’s Farm Stores’ gas giveaway. She is the first of four grand prize winners in the c-store chain’s promotion, which runs through Aug. 24. » 10 Optimum number of seconds for a pumptop TV advertisement to foster greater consumer recall of advertising

Private-Label Energy Boosts Profits

A little more than a year after teaming with Boo Koo Holdings Inc. to launch GazZu Energy, a proprietary 16-ounce energy drink, the Circle K brand is taking the next logical step and extending the private-label energy lineup to include 2-ounce shots. Dubbed GazZu Shooters, the shots are more than lightening in a bottle for

NACS: Visa’s Move to Reduce Debit Holds a “Smokescreen”

With retailers and consumers struggling from the card companies’ policy of placing excessive holds on credit- and debit-card transactions at the fuel pumps, Visa announced a plan to reduce hold times to just a couple of hours. Right now, issuing banks impose a hold on funds in their customers’ bank accounts for an amount exceeding

C-Stores 101

There’s a profitable parable tucked somewhere inside the hodge-podge of mix-and-match cereal containers laid out on a table in the University of Rhode Island’s Corner Store. Something deeply religious, or at least something that screams "diversity" and "open-mindedness." For every Tony the Tiger, there’s a Lucky Charms leprechaun. For every Cookie Crisp, there’s a Cinnamon

The Wild Ride Continues

As if industry operators didn’t have enough to worry about, ExxonMobil dealers were greeted with the news that the Irving, Texas oil giant decided to exit direct-store operations by divesting 825 company-owned and -operated stations as well as 1,400 stations leased to dealers. This decision thrust those dealers into an anxious state of limbo, an

Cooking up Surefire Profits

As rising food and gas prices and killer credit card interchange fees are making for one hellacious economic hurricane, a c-store’s foodservice program could prove to be the fallout shelter. That was the consensus from c-store retailers and researchers participating in the first installment of CSD’s Foodservice Webcast Series, sponsored by Sam’s Club, on June

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