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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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ALON Brands Launches Clean 13

Program spurs consumer loyalty while helping community and inspiring store cleanliness among employees. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. ALON Brands is taking its Clean Team program to the next level with a new customer contest and car giveaways. “All major oil brands are pulling back and getting rid of retail locations and turning toward refining

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Kocolene Shifts with the Times

As the tobacco industry evolves, the convenience store and tobacco shop operator continues to grow to meet its customers’ needs.    By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Kocolene Marketing LLC maintains a booming tobacco business at its  Fast Max convenience stores and Smokers Host Discount tobacco stores, and is implementing a number of IT initiatives to keep

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E-Cigarettes Expanding At Retail

While FDA regulations remain to be seen, e-cigarette companies are self regulating, and technology continues to evolve. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In a conference call yesterday with Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage and tobacco analyst at Wells Fargo securities, and Andries  Verleur, co-founder at VMR Products, parent company of V2 Cigs, discussed trends

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Growing Gum and Mint Sales

While sales dollars are down, study shows customers continue to purchase gum for numerous reasons, from breath freshening to stress relief. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The gum category has faced an ongoing sales decline since 2010. In 2012, gum saw monthly sales of $954 at convenience stores, with a monthly gross profit of $460,

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Chevron, Safeway Expand Loyalty Partnership

Grocery purchases lead to fuel discounts for customers in three new markets. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. To capture an increased number of fuel customers, Chevron and Safeway have expanded their joint loyalty program to Las Vegas, Northern California and Hawaii.  Customers in these regions can now earn gas rewards when they shop using their

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Earth Market Debuts with Earth Day Celebration

With a tagline of “fresh energy for life,” Atlas Oil’s latest convenience store concept features Eco-Earth Coffee, LED lighting and a host of recycling initiatives. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Atlas Oil launched its new Earth Market c-store concept in February, rebranding its five    company-operated stores in the greater Chicago market. True to its name,

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Retailers Gain Mobile Insights At RAMP Show

The RAMP Advanced Commerce & Mobile Retail Services Summit (known as the Retail RAMP Show) drew a number of retailers and mobile technology companies to St. Charles, Ill., April 15-17, as it delivered an in depth look at emerging payment models and platforms, including merchant coalitions and the growing number of mobile wallet options now

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Motivating Employees Through Gamification

Gamification is one way to increase employee productivity and morale, noted Linda McKenna-Welch during a breakout session at the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit. Linda McKenna-Welch, principal of Employee Performance Strategies Inc., spoke with retailers on how to revolutionize employee performance through gamification during a breakout session on human capital and operations at

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NACS SOI Summit Reveals Industry Performance, Opportunities

A strong 2012 brought $700.3 billion in sales, but opportunities exist to grow foodservice, and drive customer spending on trips in 2013. The NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit took place in Chicago on April 10-11, giving retailers an overview of the economy, industry statistics, and the challenges that are just ahead. Glenn Plumby,

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Tedeschi Outlines Challenges Facing Retailers At SOI Summit

Peter Tedeshi points out that while retailers can’t control all challenges facing the industry in 2013, there are many they can begin to influence. Peter Tedeschi, president and CEO, Tedeschi Food Shops Inc., CSD’s Convenience Store Chain of the Year, closed out the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit on Thursday, April 11, with

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Plan Today For The Loyalty And Payment Technology Of Tomorrow

During a session at the NACS SOI Summit, experts advised retailers to have a road map leading to the technology of tomorrow, instead of just planning for today’s rewards program. At the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit on Thursday, April 11, John Keenan, principal, Anthem Marketing Solutions and Patrick Raycroft, managing partner, W.

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Stripes Fundraises For Children’s Miracle Network

In-store campaign asks customers to purchase Miracle Balloon for local kids. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) is proud to announce that more than 550 Stripes Convenience Stores will be raising funds this month for needed pediatric equipment, treatments and recovery to benefit local sick and injured kids. Donations from the ninth annual Miracle Balloon

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NACS/CCRC Introduces Playbook For Success

With three simple steps, retailers can learn how to grow their businesses. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The NACS/Coca Cola Retailing Research Council (NACS/CCRC) has introduced a powerful new tool for c-store retailers: “Playbook for Success: A Three-Step Guide to Growing the C-Store Business.” “Operators of any size will find this guide to be an

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Smokeless Tobacco Snuffs Out The Competition

Surging demand and the ongoing assault on cigarettes have MST positioned for a profitable 2013. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The smokeless tobacco category showed strong growth in 2012, with help from promotions and a growing customer interest in alternative tobacco products to supplement their smoking habits. Manufacturers are capitalizing on the strong sales demand

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The Convenience of Co-Branding

Partnering with an established brand can help your chain leap into the foodservice business with a widely-recognized and trusted menu offering. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Foodservice demand is on the rise and competition is fierce for share of stomach sales not only from QSRs, but from grocery stores, other c-stores and even Walgreens. As

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Stop’n Go Celebrates 50 Years

As part of the year-round festivities, stores will hold community events to celebrate their individual anniversaries. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Stop’nGo of Medina Inc. is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year with store celebrations, promotions and customer sweepstakes, among a slew of other exciting commemorative events. Family-owned Stop’nGo operates 10 locations throughout Medina and

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United Supermarkets Growing its C-Store Business

With fresh foods, made-to-order coffee and drive-through service, United Express is meeting the grab-and-go needs of Texas customers. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor United Supermarkets is going all in on its effort to boost its convenience store business by expanding its United Express c-store concept. With two freestanding United Express stores already up and running,

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The Love’s Revolution

With an increasing store count, ongoing redesigns and a renewed focus on foodservice, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has transformed its business model. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is set to begin construction on its 300th location this August. As it prepares for this milestone, the travel stop

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MACS Converts to Circle K

Under a unique partnership with Couche-Tard, Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores is now the exclusive developer of the Circle K brand across the mid-Atlantic. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores (MACS) and Alimentation Couche-Tard forged a new partnership in July where MACS will act as the exclusive developer for the Circle K brand in Virginia,

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Take Your Deli to the Next Level

Sides, combo meals and even small equipment purchases can take your foodservice program from blah to booming. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) “What’s in Store 2012” report revealed consumers are buying more prepared meals at convenience stores that provide quality and variety to shoppers. Just being on top

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Forging Ahead With Foodservice

Knowing your skill sets when it comes to foodservice is vital in accurately determining which foodservice model will breed the most profitability for your chain. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Co-branding, leasing space to a quick-service restaurant (QSR) and creating a proprietary program all have benefits to c-stores, but knowing the model that is best

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FDA Scrutiny Clouds Cigar Outlook

While flavored and pre-priced cigar sales are booming, FDA’s pending regulation of the category could upset trends and profits. by Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Tedeschi Food Shops does a strong cigar business, and with 3-4 feet of space reserved for cigars on the back bar, consumers take notice. Sales on cigars were up for the

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All Aboard the Kelly Express Mart

Kelly Fuels is unifying its nine stores under a single retail brand and upping its investment in foodservice. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Kelly Fuels Inc. is moving full steam ahead in 2012, rebranding its nine Michigan c-stores under the Kelly Express Mart brand, and giving its locations a full facelift with an express train

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