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Cool New Products Preview Room Wows Retailers

From electronic cigarettes to touchscreen beverage dispensers and healthier snacks—there was something new for everyone at the NACS Show in Atlanta last month. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The convenience store industry has long been known for its retail innovations and this year’s NACS Show, held last month in Atlanta, didn’t disappoint in showcasing cutting-edge

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Navigating a Crowded Cold Vault

Energy drinks are boosting packaged beverage sales, while healthier drink options continue to show promise. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Packaged beverages are a key driver for convenience stores and an area where they excel in relation to other channels. In fact, according to NACS State of the Industry (SOI) data, packaged beverages almost caught

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Tapping into Craft Beer

With customer demand growing for upscale brews, a growler program is one way to expand your craft beer segment. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. As the craft beer trend grows, convenience stores are capitalizing on consumer demand for emerging local and seasonal brews by growing their craft beer sections and, in some cases, adding a

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Baron-Huot Oil Calls it Quits on Retail

Illinois chain exits the c-store business after a rich 102-year history in retail with the sale of its 10 stores to Alimentation Couche-Tard. It will focus on its wholesale business. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. What started in 1911 with Elzie Huot selling kerosene from a horse and buggy and grew to a fourth-generation, 10-store

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Driving Confectionery Sales With Seasonal Treats

Bite-sized products and king-sized bars are boosting ticket averages, while an influx of seasonal items offers convenience stores new profit potential. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.While single-serve chocolate and other candy remains solid at convenience stores, the industry is missing a big opportunity to capitalize on holiday and seasonal sales.The industry has long ceded this

Flash Foods Launches Mobile App With Payment Option

Now customers can pay at the pump using their smartphone.  by Erin Rigik, associate editor. Flash Foods, with 172 locations in Georgia and Florida, has launched its first-ever mobile app that includes a mobile payment option for customers. The app offers a number of features, including a store locator complete with fuel prices for each

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Promoting Responsible Tobacco Retailing

The We Card program begins its 18th year with a new program to educate retailers on e-cigarette restrictions. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The We Card program is now celebrating its 18th year of providing training and educational materials to retailers on state and federal tobacco restrictions. The ubiquitous program is widely recognized by its

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LOGIC Technology Names New Director To National Sales Organization

Raz Rahman, formerly of Altria Sales and Distribution, to oversee development of LOGIC electronic cigarette sales in the Northeast. LOGIC Technology, developers of premium electronic cigarettes, has announced the addition of Raz Rahman to its key executives team. In his role as Northeast Regional Director, Rahman will lead the rapid business development of LOGIC brands

Analysts Weigh In On MACS Acquisition

By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor David Bishop and Dick Meyer agree the MACS deal is a boost for Sunoco. Catterton Partners, a consumer-focused private equity firm, announced last week that it completed the sale of Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores (MACS), a convenience store operator in Maryland and Virginia, to an affiliate of Sunoco Inc. Since the

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Navigating Your Lighting Upgrade

As technology improves, more businesses are making the switch to cost-effective LED fixtures. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In these days of tight margins and intense retail competition, convenience store owners are doing everything they can to boost revenues and reduce operating costs. Something as simple as investing in upgraded lighting can significantly reduce monthly

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PAPCO Expands in the Mid-Atlantic

An acquisition of the Tidewater retail assets of SMO Inc. boosts PAPCO’s store count in southeastern Virginia. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. It’s been a busy fall for petroleum marketer PAPCO Inc., which acquired the Tidewater, Va. retail assets of SMO Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Wills Group in August, and remains poised for

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Enmark Celebrates 50 Years

With a strong commitment to foodservice and customer service, the Savannah, Ga. convenience store chain is preparing to debut its larger-format prototype locations. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Enmark Stations Inc. is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and preparing its business for the next 50, with new larger format stores, remodeled retail graphics and

Cumberland Farms Awards Scholarships

More than 900 students have earned financial awards from the convenience store chain since it launched the Believe and Achieve program seven years ago. Cumberland Farms is awarding a total of $130,000 in Believe and Achieve Scholarships to 130 high school seniors from 11 states to assist them with college fees this fall.  Now in

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Big Y and F. L. Roberts Announce Partnership

Big Y Express to open in fall 2013. Big Y Foods Inc. and F.L. Roberts & Co. Inc., two long established western Massachusetts, family-owned and operated businesses, have partnered in a new venture to develop their own brand of convenience stores with fuel under the name Big Y Express. The first facility will open in

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Finding Supply Chain Success

Building a strong relationship with your vendors can ease the negotiation process and take unnecessary costs out of the distribution system. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Cutting costs along the supply chain remains a challenge for convenience stores, but strong negotiation and communication skills can go a long way toward scoring the best possible deal

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Surviving the Next Superstorm

Do you have a contingency plan in place in case disaster strikes one or more of your convenience store locations? By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Being prepared for major storms and disasters is vital to any convenience store, especially those in areas most susceptible to hurricanes, as Superstorm Sandy taught us just last year. The

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Martin Eagle Aims to Contain Rising Operating Costs

Using a new monitoring system, the Texas chain is saving time, energy and reducing the spoilage costs that can arise from damaged cold vault compressors. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. Martin Eagle Oil Co. knows first hand the financial and general frustrations convenience store operators can feel after losing a freezer full of products due

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Rutter’s Honored with Army Reserve Employer Support Award

Flexible scheduling for military personnel helps the chain’s employees serve their country and their customers. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Rutter’s Farm Stores’ Joel Workinger, a dairy transportation supervisor, and Todd Rutter, president of Rutter’s Dairy, were recognized last month with the Army Reserve Employer Support Award. Tom Rayburn, a delivery driver for Rutter’s Dairy

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Developing a Healthier Foodservice Menu

Organic, sustainable and locally-grown foods are all trends hitting the country, but are convenience store customers ready for these items? By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Numerous “healthy” foodservice trends are sweeping cities across the U.S., from sustainable to local to organic to all-natural, and of course fresh, but is the time right for convenience stores

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Meat Snacks Get Creative

From extra spicy to turkey or bacon based, today’s meat snacks are offering the variety customers crave. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. As customers continue to crave variety and new taste profiles, meat snacks manufacturers are staying on their toes, and providing c-stores with a range of new options to keep shoppers coming back for

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The Force is Strong with QuikTrip

New Market Force study anoints QT the top rated c-store chain for cleanliness, friendliness and food quality. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. QuikTrip, with 662 stores in 11 states, was voted the most popular convenience store chain, according to a new study by Market Force Information, beating out 7,600 study participants. Convenience store chains Wawa,

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Embracing Energy Efficient Solutions

Whether it’s installing LED lighting or partnering with a local utility, retailers have a wide assortment of new opportunities to maximize efficiencies for less. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.Adding energy efficient features to convenience stores has numerous benefits from power bill and maintenance savings to the ability to market to today’s more eco-conscious consumer. If

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A Retail Oasis

Zarco 66 takes its convenience stores to the next level with technological advancements and a topnotch foodservice program.  By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels doesn’t consider itself just a typical convenience store chain. In today’s hypercompetitive retail environment, it has to be much more.“We’re not in the c-store business anymore, we’re

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Succeeding With Cigars

Taxation and legislation could present a rocky road for cigar manufacturers. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Thanks to new flavors and price promotions, cigar sales at convenience stores remain as strong as ever. The cigar category at U.S. convenience stores totaled $2.38 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 21, 2013, up 3.73%, according to

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Deals Driving Smokeless Sales

Portion pouches and value pricing are injecting new energy into this core tobacco category. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention, smokeless tobacco sales are chugging along with brisk sales.Overall, smokeless sales jumped 6% to $4.93 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 21, 2013, according to SymphonyIRI

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