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Sustaining Security

Now that retailers have reached PCI DSS 2.0 compliance, it’s important to continue monitoring people, processes and technology to protect against breaches.  By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor If your chain is among those who diligently worked to achieve PCI DSS 2.0 compliance by the Jan. 1, 2012 deadline, you probably think your stores are safe from

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Chester’s Opens 200th Store of the Year

“Chester’s success can be attributed to our commitment to our retailers,” says Chester’s spokesperson. Chester’s International LLC, a fried chicken foodservice provider in the convenience store industry, has opened its 200th store of the year. The milestone was crossed with three recent openings:  Sunmart Store #115 in Fargo, N.D., Bailey’s in Franklin Furnace, Ohio and

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Building the Business with a Quality Team

Cindy Fitzgibbons, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Stop’nGo of Medina Inc. A relative newcomer to convenience store industry, but no stranger to the world of operations management, Cindy Fitzgibbons has climbed the ranks since joining Stop’nGo of Medina Inc. in 2010. In her current position as general manager and chief operating officer at Stop’nGo

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Building Profits and Relationships

The 2011 NAG Conference in Savannah, Ga. offered timely retail solutions and outstanding networking opportunities. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Retailers and suppliers joined together at the Westin Hotel and Resort in Savannah, Ga. for four days of strategic educational sessions and networking as part of the 2011 National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference. This year’s

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Retail Trends for 2012

As technology continues to change the way we do business, retailers must weigh the benefits of being ahead of the curve versus the risks, and the disadvantages of falling behind. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In a scene from the futuristic movie “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise’s character walks through a shopping mall while 3-D screens

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Hit-n-Run Food Stores Prepares for the Future

Brenton Investment Corp. is set to build a new prototype design as it sets its sights on growth through new builds. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. With 11 years under its belt and 13 successful convenience stores throughout southern Louisiana, Brenton Investment Corp. is ready to grow its fleet of Hit-n-Run Food Stores beginning with

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Taking Social Media to the Next Level

C-stores are adding Facebook pages, but to profit from social media, retailers need to also engage fans with text and email marketing campaigns. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Anyone still questioning the power of social media need only look to Japan. The country, which between earthquakes, tsunamis and radiation fears has seen tourism drop, is

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Do You Have the Staff You Deserve?

QC Mart comes under fire after the chain’s owner launched a contest asking employees to guess which employee would be fired next. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In October, the Iowa Des Moines Register reported on the curious plight of William Ernst, the owner of QC Mart in Bettendorf, Iowa. Faced with employees who were

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Durbin Hits, Fight Escalates

Retailers may have won the right to debit fee caps for now, but banks are raising fees and pointing the finger at merchants, while some lawmakers look to repeal the interchange caps. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The long awaited Durbin Amendment went into effect on Oct. 1, capping interchange fees well above the 7-12

James Thornton, (left) founder of Thorntons Inc., and Matt Thornton, (right) president and CEO of Thorntons accept the Chain of the Year award from CSD Editor John Lofstock.

Thorntons Earns Top Chain Honors

Kentucky operator presented the industry’s most prestigious retail award at a gala in Chicago. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Convenience Store Decisions honored Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons Inc. as its 22nd annual Convenience Store Chain of the Year at an exclusive dinner at Café Spiaggia in Chicago last month during the NACS Show. More than 200

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Coulson Oil Sets the Stage for Expansion

With a new real estate entity in place, the company is positioned to grow its chain of dealer-leased stores beyond Arkansas. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Coulson Oil Co., one of the Southwest’s largest independent distributors of motor fuels, took a big step toward continued growth in August with the formation of Coulson Real Estate

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Inspiring Impulse Sales

When stocking up on novelty items, thinking outside the box can help retailers drive big profits. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Retailers are driving impulse purchases with unique novelty products, including big ticket items, seasonal displays and small ring products that make everyday life more convenient. Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc., for example, is making packing easier

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Dairy

To drive profits in this core category, c-stores need to create a destination that showcases value, freshness and quality. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Dairy offerings have been dwindling at convenience stores in recent years as operators make space in the coolers for popular items like energy drinks and other healthful beverages. But when stores

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Love’s Presents Scholarships to Employees

Five employees and seven dependents get some relief on college tuition costs. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores’ Learning With Love’s Scholarship Fund, now in its third year, has awarded $40,000 in scholarships to a number of Love’s employees and their dependents to assist with college costs for the 2011-2012

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Putting the Community to Work

With 20% of its staff now made up of challenged and disabled individuals, VERC Enterprises has earned a reputation as a top employer. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. VERC Enterprises, an independent convenience store, gasoline station and car wash operator in eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire, has reached a new milestone by including challenged/disabled individuals

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High’s Debuts Proprietary Fuel Brand

Maryland chain also unveils a prototype convenience store brand as it prepares for the future with a focus on energy efficiency, foodservice and market expansion. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor High’s of Baltimore is taking its convenience store and gas station business to the next level rolling out a new proprietary fuel brand—called High’s BTG—along

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Will Tesco Turn it Around?

Fresh & Easy is rolling out a new Express store format, but can the company come out on top after nearly four years of heavy losses? By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market grocery chain debuted with a bang in 2007, rolling out 20 stores in rapid succession in California, Nevada

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Clean Restrooms Offer Distinct Competitive Advantages

As convenience store operators vie for foodservice customers, they need to ensure they are conveying a safe, sanitary image throughout the store. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. When David Miller, president of Chandler Oil Chevron, remodeled his 3,000–square-foot convenience store in Chandler, Ariz. last year, he had design team C7 Works give extra attention to

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Preparing for PCI D-Day

As the deadline for PCI DSS 2.0 compliance approaches, chains should make sure they understand the changes— and triple check that they meet the requirements. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. On Jan. 1, 2012 all convenience store retailers must comply with PCI DSS 2.0 standards. While some chains have been ready for more than a

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Marketing in a Digital Age

Rising Star: Megan Sutfin Social Media Administrator, Sac N Pac Stores. Smart convenience store chains recognize that social networking is a crucial tool in keeping the lines of communication open with customers and growing loyalty for years to come. A social media team can help your chain control brand image, calm any negative conversations that

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Integrating POS Solutions

Speed of service is crucial, but with all the services that convenience stores offer today communication between machines is key. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Greater speed of service and reduced operational costs can both be achieved through new integrated point-of-sale (POS) solutions. Case in point: Kocolene Marketing LLC in Seymour, Ind., which is making

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Southside Oil Welcomes John Hornyak

New senior vice president of wholesale fuels joins Southside Oil team. Southside Oil, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the largest ExxonMobil fuel distributor in the region, Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores (MACS), has appointed John Hornyak as senior vice president of wholesale fuels. Hornyak brings to the Southside Oil team celebrated experience as a senior executive in the

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Weigel’s Marks A Milestone with Aggressive Expansion Plans

As it celebrates its 80th anniversary, the Knoxville, Tenn., chain is opening new stores, embracing an expanded foodservice program and investing in cutting-edge technology. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. With lofty expansion plans ahead, a focus on foodservice and a strong push to capture the elusive female demographic, Weigel’s Inc. is poised to make a

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Valero Launches Mystery Shopper Program

Stores will be evaluated three times a year to ensure customer needs are met and employees are providing a positive retail experience. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Valero has partnered with Maritz Research to launch a new mystery shopping program, called Commitment to Excellence. As part of the new program, each of the company’s Valero,

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EZ Energy Bolsters the Easy Trip Brand

Fresh after moving into its new headquarters, the Ohio chain is reimaging company-owned stores, enhancing its foodservice program and signed a deal to acquire 30 more properties this fall. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In conjunction with its fourth anniversary year, EZ Energy USA Inc. is prepped for an aggressive expansion of both its store

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