hopping around with valero

It’s no surprise that Valero has made its own dent in the industry. Convenience Store Decisions‘ 2006 Chain of the Year recipient is an American success story. What started as a small company—armed only with some ambition and business savvy—has grown to unfathomable proportions over the past six years. With 18 refineries, a throughput of

what type of marketer are you

Dealer volume has never been more attractive and times have never been better for wholesale marketers considering exiting the industry. I was sitting in my office the other day ruminating that with the recent letter of intent we had just received, I was about to be a man without a jobbership to sell. Fortunately, the

cheers to valero

Let me take you back to a small convenience store in an unassuming San Ramon, Calif. neighborhood. That's where Valero's retail operations began in earnest seven years ago. There was no fanfare, and hardly any press coverage, save for one reporter from New York making the cross-country trip to get the story. In retrospect, I'm

ultralow sulfur diesel what you need to know

The Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association/Illinois Association of Convenience Stores (IPMA) addresses common misconceptions about ultra-low sulfur diesel. Oct. 15 was a significant milestone in the nation’s transition to Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) 15-ppm sulfur fuel. Prior to Oct. 15, petroleum terminals were permitted to downgrade (to 500-ppm sulfur LSD) as much ULSD as they wanted.

credit relief is past due

The cost some retailers are paying on credit card fees is crippling, but a panel of retailers and industry experts said relief may be on the way. Convenience Store Decisions, with the help of ISD Corp. and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), hosted a Webcast Sept. 19 to discuss the ever-increasing credit card

a culture of caring

Ask any retailer in the industry what sets them apart—what’s their most valuable asset—and almost everyone will say “our people.” But for San Antonio-based-Valero Energy Corp., it’s more than just lip service. Led by Chairman Bill Greehey, Valero has created a corporate culture that permeates its rank-and-file and makes employees feel like they’re doing more

a uniform approach to marketing

Enhancing employee image can help operators create a unique niche in the market. After consumers’ positive reactions to its “I’m Lovin’ It” advertising campaign, it was rumored that McDonald’s was in talks with some of the world’s best-known clothing labels&—Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ Sean John line, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Giorgio Armani to name

retailers embrace floridas generator law

Hurricane havoc forces mandate for backup power at gas stations, and other states may adopt similar legislation. By Joe Bahnatka, Contributing Editor After a hurricane sweeps across Florida, the state wants to keep gas pumps as busy as a department store on Black Friday. Keeping nozzles in gas tanks, however, requires electricity, which often times

minimizing workplace injuries

Working with insurance companies, many convenience store chains are reducing accidents and other losses, while reaping savings on insurance costs. On days when rain or snow is forecast for the Texas panhandle region, the managers of all 66 Toot ‘n Totum convenience stores receive early-morning e-mails reminding them to put out “wet floor” signs, mop

playmaker

Mark Redding may have had to say goodbye to his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, but he's been a playmaker in the convenience channel for years now. He got his first taste of the industry when he accepted a position as a route merchandiser for McLane Grocery Distributors in 1983. From there, Redding

publix sabor instores uncover broad audience

Competitive Watch: Publix Super Markets’ new store format is targeted to Hispanics, but its bakeries’ top quality products and extensive selection bring fans from beyond their niche. By narrowing its focus, Publix Super Markets (Lakeland, Fla.) found its demandactually grew. Its new Hispanic format, Publix Sabor, demonstrates that consumerpreference for fresh, quality foods, particularly in

prepaids push profits

Card Revenues Soar Looking for a way to drive fuel sales and up your overall profits? Recent research reveals that making transactions more convenient by offering and accepting a variety of prepaid cards is the way to go. Prepaid cards, also known as stored-value cards, clearly increase business, especially if the cards are reloadable. A

csds still selling

NON-CARBS GAINING GROUND Although a major shift is clearly underway in packaged beverage sales, Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” could easily describe the current carbonated soft drink (CSD) market. “The highest volume we sell is still CSDs, and Coke and Pepsi are still at the top of the

underserved markets present growth opportunities

Convenience store operators urged to use alternative data sources to get a better estimate of true market demand. by John Weiser, Contributing Editor Underserved markets— neighborhoods with high concentrations of ethnic minorities and immigrants—are fast growing and overlooked by major retailers. There are significant profit opportunities in these neighborhoods for savvy convenience store operators. But

automated hourly hiring systems

Remember “Blast from the Past,” the 1999 film starring Brendan Fraser? After a nuclear war scare in the 1960s, young Brendan lives in the family bomb shelter with his mom and dad for 30 years. When he finally ventures out into Los Angeles for food and a ” nonmutant” wife, it becomes a hilarious “fish

grassroots marketing for convenience retailers

Local marketing programs can boost store traffic without adding any operational costs. One of the most overlooked promotional opportunities for convenience retailersis a well-planned grassroots marketing program. It’s easy to get excited abouta new trade area in the early stages of your grand opening, but it’s anotherthing to instill this excitement some two years later.

fuel discounts simply irresistible

Loyalty programs are cultivating a new breed of price-conscious consumers. As long as gasoline prices remain high, consumers will be attracted to fuel discounts. That’s the common sense that led retailers to create customer loyalty programs in which fuel discounts are the prize, instead of the more customary prizes like airline travel or cash back.

electricity name your price

Between lighting, refrigeration and heating and air conditioning, retailersuse an average of 62 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, accordingto the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coupled with the skyrocketingprice of natural gas and historically high summer demands, electric costs takean even larger bite of c-store owners’ operational costs. Most chains have already implemented the

turning around turnover

Hiring the right employees from the get-go. By David Hyatt, Contributing Editor When turnover is reduced and retention is the norm, retail businesses thrive.If an operator can find a sure-fire way to identify job applicants who are ableto do the job and actually be happy on the job, many later attempts at increasingstaff retention will

wawa focused on the future

Known for its fresh food and friendly service, the Pennsylvania chain is fast becoming a top fuel marketer in the mid-Atlantic. Though a regional operator with 556 sites in five mid-Atlantic states, Wawa’s reputation as a top operator spreads from coast to coast. The stores are noted for their freshly prepared hoagies, coffee, competitively priced

image is everything

There are few things I enjoy more than hitting the road to watch retailers in action. That's why I was particularly pleased by Chevron's invitation to spend a few days at company headquarters in lovely San Ramon, Calif., to learn all about its 2006 Image Refresh program. The operations team, Shariq Yosufzai, president of Chevron

understanding the petroleum market

Opportunities exist to capture fuel acquisition cost-savings, but do you know what they are? By Brian L. Milne, Contributing Editor Downstream fuel buyers face unprecedentedchallenges in high levels of priceand supply volatility with their fuel buying Opportunities to capture acquisition cost-savings and maximize profit can be lost seconds in up-and-down markets. More than ever, the

chevron gets fresh

New imaging program transforms the forecourt with a colorful array of bright lights and warm, friendly graphics. Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can’t get it wrong. It’s this philosophy that is driving Chevron to display its professional prowess as it prepares for the nationwide rollout of its Image Refresh

grabandgo dollars

From small operators with space and labor limitations to larger chains with food at the forefront, the grab-and-go segment has these retailers turning tasty profits. Food has always been a cornerstone of the overall offering at Casey’s General Stores. The made-fromscratch pizza program has become the calling card across its 1,423 stores, which has evolved

whats selling a view from the customers part ii

CSD conducts exit polls and consumer surveys at the point of sale to find out what customers want when it comes to bottled water. Retailers concerned about slow sales growth or stagnant fuel margins can expect a boost from bottled water as analysts and consumers alike expect water sales to continue flowing for at least

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