Alon Refinery Fire Under Investigation

Alon USA Energy Inc. said today that all but one of the four workers injured in Monday’s explosion were released from the hospital yesterday. The one remaining employee is being treated for burns and he is believed to be in stable condition. The cause of the explosion, which occurred in the area around the propylene

Road Ranger Files Claims Against CITGO

Road Ranger, the Rockford, Ill.-based operator of approximately 75 convenience stores and travel centers in five Midwestern states, filed claims against Venezuelan-owned CITGO Petroleum Corp. for breach of contract and violations of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act caused by CITGO’s unnecessary failure to supply gasoline to Road Ranger gas stations, for damaging the CITGO brand

Smoker Friendly Tabs Collett

Smoker Friendly International has named Darren Collett, owner of Collett Enterprises and a Smoker Friendly Authorized Dealer (SFAD) with 17 stores in Southern Indiana, its Director of Brand Growth. Collett’s responsibilities will include working industry trade shows, selling the SFAD program to retailers and distributors, to continue the Smoker Friendly brand expansion in retail store

Explosion at Alon Refinery Injures Four

Four workers have been hurt in today’s oil refinery explosion in Big Spring–as the blaze continues to burn. Officials said they are unsure on caused the explosion at the West Texas unit operated by Dallas-based Alon USA. Authorities said one company worker suffered burns and has been transported to a hospital. His condition wasn’t immediately

Conflict Brewing Between Dunkin’ Donuts and Franchise Owners

An overwhelming majority of Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners in New England and New York oppose new partnerships between Dunkin’ Brands, Sara Lee Foods, Procter & Gamble and Hess convenience stores. The majority also believes these actions will ultimately devalue the iconic coffee brand. A spokesman for Dunkin’ Donuts disagreed saying the chain did extensive due

Anheuser-Busch Aids Southern Tornado Victims

The Anheuser-Busch Foundation is donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross to aid relief efforts for victims of last week’s Southern tornadoes. The devastating line of thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the midsection of the United States last week, leaving a widespread path of destruction in its wake. The storms killed at least 55 people,

Customer Response Surveys Could Reap Big Benefits

As the industry changes and evolves and you must continually battle blurred channels, changing technologies and decreased differentiation, one thing is constant: the experience you offer your customers can set you apart from your competition and keep your customers coming back. Great customer experience begins with knowing how your customers view your stores, your product

7-Eleven Debated in Waco

Alon USA, one of the largest 7-Eleven licensees in the U.S., has hit a snag in its bid to rebrand the Skinny’s stores it acquired last year. Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based 7-Eleven, told the Waco (Texas) Tribune Herald it is not inclined to support expansion into the Waco market. It would prefer to

Dunkin’ Donuts Rolls Out New Oven-Toasted Menu

Dunkin’ Donuts is stepping up its pressure on convenience and fast food retail, by launching its new, all-day Oven-Toasted menu. The new platform marks the most significant change to Dunkin’ Donuts product lineup since the company launched espresso-based beverages in 2003. The menu items are now available in 3,500 shops throughout the country, including participating

Wesco Selects KSS Fuels Pricing Suite

Wesco, a self-distributed operator of more than 50 convenience stores in Michigan, has selected the KSS suite of fuels pricing products, incorporating PriceNet, PriceNet Mobile, and KSS Visualizer, for a company-wide implementation. Wesco chose the KSS product suite to improve the process through which it gathers, validates and presents market-level information to the pricing team.

Hoover to Head Sheetz HR

Phil Freeman, vice president of human resources for Sheetz Inc., said he is stepping down after 19 years of service and will be replaced by the chain’s current manager of internal communications, Stephanie Hoover. Freeman began his career with Sheetz in 1988 as corporate controller in the finance department. He served in that role until

Kellogg Debuts New Product Line-Up

With plans for a $40 million addition underway to its W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research (WKKI) in Battle Creek, Mich., and a host of new products hitting store shelves, Kellogg Co. continues its focus on innovation. Since WKKI opened in 1997, the company’s net sales from innovation have almost doubled. In addition,

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive!by Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive! Staying Alive is both the title of an old disco tune, as well as a description of the challenge that today’s c-store operators face. C-store growth in numbers as well as quality continues unabated. I certainly don’t have all the answers about staying relevant, but I have some very interesting

Tomlinson Industries Acquires New Facility

<p> Tomlinson Industries has purchased of a new manufacturing/warehouse facility in Macedonia, Ohio. The building is 72,000 square feet with area for potential further growth. As a result, all production and warehousing for the foodservice products division will be relocated to Macedonia, the company said. Consolidating foodservice operations will allow for greater control of product

BP Sell-Off Continues

As part of its transition to a franchise-based business, BP said it has put up for sale 78 stores in the Chicago market. The British oil company now has hundreds of stores available through sealed-bid auctions managed by NRC Realty Advisors LLC across the country. Of the 78 Chicago sites, 65 are available for franchise,

Private Label Potential

A new benchmark study conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR), and sponsored by Eqos, titled, "PLM Squared: Product Lifecycle Management Powers Private Label Merchandise" reports on key industry trends that have affected private label programs during the past two years. Additionally, this report identifies best practices implemented by the most successful retailers and offers recommendations

Wright Express to Acquire Pacific Pride

Wright Express Corp. reached a deal to acquire certain assets of privately held Pacific Pride Services Inc. for approximately $32 million in cash. The deal will be financed through the company’s existing credit facility and is expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2008. The U.S. fleet fuel distributor channel represents

VERC Expands Portfolio

VERC Enterprises, operator of 20 stores throughout Eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire, acquired a new location in Westin, Mass. VERC Weston Mobil is currently operating as a gasoline station, but the company hopes to expand services at the unit. VERC Enterprises CEO Leo Vercollone is working with Weston officials in the hopes of obtaining permitting

Jenny Bullard Named Chair of PCATS

Jenny Bullard, the chief information officer of Flash Foods in Waycross, Ga., was named chairwoman of the board of directors of the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS), succeeding Devin Bates of Stripes Convenience Stores in San Angelo, Texas. Bullard, who oversees the technology systems at 176 stores, is the first female to hold

Open Pantry Promotes Fiene, Schutz

Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin, Inc., operator of 26 stores in Wisconsin and Illinois, announced two moves to solidify its executive team. Jim Fiene, the former senior vice president of the Pleasant Prairie, Wis. chain, was promoted to chief operating officer, effective Feb. 6. "Jim Fiene has dramatically contributed to up-imaging our company during

Wis. Sued Over Gas Competition Law

The state of Wisconsin is being sued in federal court over a law designed to ensure fair competition among gas station owners. The filing comes after a federal judge ruled in another lawsuit last year that the law is unconstitutional. In documents obtained by the Associated Press, Flying J filed a new lawsuit Jan. 29

Tensions Boiling Over in Petro-Canada Lock Out

Employees at a Montreal oil refinery are calling on the public to boycott Petro-Canada in support of the 260 workers locked out since November. The lockout was a reaction by Petro-Canada to a year of strained contract negotiations with the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union (CEP) regarding contract requirements and safety concerns in the

Coke Makes Honest Investment

The Coca-Cola Co. and Honest Tea Inc. completed a deal giving Coca-Cola approximately 40% interest in the fast-growing maker of certified organic beverages, including the best-selling Honest Tea brand. Coca-Cola may elect to buy, and the remaining Honest Tea shareholders may elect to sell to Coca-Cola, the outstanding interest not currently owned by Coca-Cola in

Consumers Weary Over Fuel Price

Despite a flailing U.S. economy, gasoline prices are the leading factor in changing American consumer spending, according to a NACS survey. Results found 45% of U.S. consumers said soaring gasoline prices have affected their spending more than rising energy and food costs, the slumping economy or the national mortgage and lending crisis, the survey found.

Jeff Parker Takes Reigns at Kwik Shop

Jeff Parker today was named president of Kroger’s Kwik Shop convenience store division. He will oversee 131 Kwik Shop stores in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Parker previously served as senior vice president of operations for the Hutchinson, Kan.-based c-store chain and was the corporate controller for Kroger’s c-stores, Turkey Hill Dairy, and supermarket petroleum operations

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