Steppin’ into Spring and Springing into Summerby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

I recently read a great quote attributed to a one time door-to-door sales person and lately more recognizable as founder of the billion-dollar company that bears her name, Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash said, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as

Retailers Salute Their Leading Suppliers

Despite the much-ballyhooed growth of chains like Walgreens, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Wal-Mart, it is convenience stores that remain an important daily stop for the nation’s busy consumers. As a result, convenience stores represent a powerful sales opportunity for product and service supplier companies, CSD set out to find the industry’s top performers as identified

Saluting Supplier Partners

Retailers may be on the front lines every day, but the presence of their supplier partners is palpable. It can be seen and felt in the marketing and merchandising found at the store level and in the intricate planograms category managers use to set their stores. To get a better feel for the supplier companies

Pay By Touch Shuts Down All Biometric Services

Solidus Networks, Inc., which operates as Pay By Touch, said that it will no longer process biometric transactions on behalf of its merchant customers and consumer membership base. The move was effective March 20, the company announced in a statement on Friday. On December 14, 2007, Solidus Networks filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection under Chapter

Another Satisfied Customer

On a recent tour of convenience stores in the Northeast, I came across an outstanding Mobil store in northern Maine. What caught my attention at this particular store was the clerk who immediately greeted me and told me about the store’s foodservice special that day, a homemade Boston chowder. That I was greeted was not

Road Ranger Takes on 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

Open Pantry’s People Person

For Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin Inc., it’s not enough to simply offer new and innovative products to its dynamic consumer base. The variety has to be punctuated with exceptional customer service. To achieve its goal, the Pleasant Prairie, Wis. chain has always focused on hiring outstanding personnel. Last month, the company took the

Strong Sales for Candy

Overall retail sales are slowing at mass, dollar and grocery stores, but confectionery sales remain strong for convenience operators. The U.S. retail confectionery category generated approximately $29 billion in sales in 2007 and the profit margin for the category was approximately 35%, according to the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) U.S. Confectionery Market report released last

Finding the Right Foodservice Program

With gas margins in the gutter and operating costs nearly doubling over the past five years, the 35% margin foodservice offers has been a savior of sorts for Mike Harrell, president of Jernigan Oil Co. Inc., a fourth-generation marketer in Ahoskie, N.C. that operates 25 Duck Thru convenience stores. It doesn’t help that North Carolina,

Dealing with Drive-Offs

With the onset of spring, retailers can count on a segment of their "consumers" filling up and driving off without paying. Increased gas prices haven’t helped the situation, but it is improving. Typically, convenience stores can experience a few gasoline thefts a week. But when prices increase, some stores see several gas thefts a day.

QuickTrip Garners National Honors

Paid sabbaticals for long-timers and bonuses for part-timers helped make QuikTrip Corp. one of the nation’s top employers again this year. The convenience store chain ranked 28th in its sixth straight appearance on Fortune magazine’s "100 Best Companies To Work for" list. "We are honored to receive this award," said Chet Cadieux, president and CEO

The Building Blocks of Foodservice

Experts have long espoused the theory that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a supposition that foodservice purveyors across the retail spectrum are clinging to as they revamp their foodservice programs focused on upscale coffee programs and product portability. NACS’ 2007 State of the industry numbers show the food category is

Building a Solid Foundation

The most extraordinary structure is only as strong as it’s weakest link. The same principle applies in business. The higher up the leadership chain that weakness exists the more likely the organization is to crumble. That’s why the companies that are succeeding in the market these days are controlled by innovators that aren’t afraid to

Couche-Tard Realigns Retail Operations

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Convenience Store Decisions 2007 Chain of the Year, announced a dramatic realignment of it retail business that creates two new business units in the U.S. These units will be identified as the Southwest Division to be based in Dallas and will be comprised of the states of Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and New

Leadership Tactics to Make 2008 a Pivotal Business

s you look back over 2007, you’re feeling a vague sense of discontent. Business is sluggish. Several key employees have left. And with new competitors springing up every day, you need to be at the top of your industry. Things are not terrible, but they could be a lot better. You need to turn things

Overcoming Adversity

I’m not much a movie buff, but to prepare for the Super Bowl I set aside a couple of hours to enjoy a big screen classic: Rudy. I’m sure you all know the story of Rudy Ruettiger whose persistence and hard work elevated him to legendary status at Notre Dame. It’s the perfect sports movie

“K” Marks the Spot

THE CONVENIENCE STORE INDUSTRY makes for a very competitive climate. With the vast number of convenience chains in business-not to mention the impinging presence of hypermarts- making a store’s presence known in a busy market can be very diffi cult. Ed Marszal and Liz Pritchard, co-owners of California Retail Management (CRM), discovered this when they

Dispelling Myths About Bottled Waters

The bottled water industry has recently come under attack by critics who say they are concerned about the quantity of water bottles going to our landfills and the energy used transporting them to market. But, Kim Jeffery, president and CEO of Nestle Waters North America Inc., said those who propose bans on bottled water don’t

New Beginnings

I’d like to begin this month by saying I hope each and every one of you had a happy and healthy holiday season.   It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for us at here at Convenience Store Decisions so I want to take a few minutes to give you all a personal update on the

Growing the Family Business

Employee Relations Though its owned and operated entirely by the Huppert family, the Team Oil Travel Center employs 16 people from the local Spring Valley, Wis. community. Tony Huppert, CEO and vice president of the company, calls employees and customer service the backbone if Team Oil’s success. Employees are encouraged to learn many interesting and

Building Breakfast Sales

Chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have been busy overhauling their foodservice programs to capitalize on the increased demand for breakfast items, described by foodservice experts as the fastest-growing daypart segment. Convenience chains like 7-Eleven, however, are well ahead of the curve already owning a popular line of breakfast items that continues to expand.

Betting on the Franchise

7-Eleven Timeline 7-Eleven Inc. began almost 81 years ago when a Dallas ice dock operator decided to add milk, eggs and bread in response to his customers’ needs. The company’s first expansion outside Texas was into Florida. The retailer entered the franchising arena in 1964 with the acquisition of Speedee Mart, a chain of franchised

Cigars And Moist Smokeless Drive Revenues Even With Concerns Over Tobacco Taxation

The long-predicted demise of cigarettes has not come to fruition, nor is it likely to. But the effect of tobacco taxation and smoking restrictions has made it much more difficult to rely on cigarette sales as the primary category for driving in-store profitability. But don’t read that to mean tobacco is suffering. Retailers are reporting

Competitive Assortment, Lower Prices Accelerate Cigar Growth

New insights on the cigar category reveal that retailers who manage the cigar category more strategically benefit from accelerated growth and a larger share of the market. The data was shared in a Convenience Store Decisions Webcast, sponsored by John Middleton Inc., titled “Cigars: Accelerating Category Profits by Increasing Strategic Focus,” and offered new evidence

Final Thoughts

“HOW FAR YOU GO in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” That quote from American educator and researcher George Washington Carver has always had special meaning

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