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Pushing the Boundaries of Innovation

By John Lofstock, Editor. In these difficult economic times it’s rewarding to meet successful businesses that are doing things right. It’s even more gratifying when these businesses are family owned and operated. Such is the case with Family Express in Valparaiso, Ind. I have known Gus Olympidis and his family for more than 15 years

Gaskins Joins Rutter’s as Chief Engagement Officer

By John Lofstock, Editor Following the retirement of its long-time Chief Customer Officer Jeff Leedy, Rutter’s Farm Stores has hired industry veteran Derek Gaskins as chief engagement officer, CSD has learned. Gaskins has an extensive background in marketing for both retail and consumer packaged goods companies, and spent two years as the vice president of

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Hershey’s Tom Joyce Honored by the American Jewish Committee

Joyce and Kathleen Evans, president of AMCON Distributing Co., are the recipients of AJC’s 2013 National Human Relations Award. By John Lofstock, Editor Tom Joyce, vice president of global customer and industry affairs for The Hershey Co., was honored last night by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) at the New York Hilton, receiving the organization’s

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Tedeschi Food Shops Urges Support for The One Fund Boston

Four of the chain’s nearly 200 stores remain closed due to the ongoing manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers. Separately, 7-Eleven tells CSD that despite media reports one of its stores was not robbed by the suspects early this morning. By John Lofstock, Editor As the nation continues to mourn the senseless terrorist attack on

The Future of E-Cigarettes

LOGIC Technology CEO Eli Alelov discuss the possible impact of government regulations on electronic cigarettes on Fox News. By John Lofstock, Editor Hailed by many as an emerging threat to the tobacco cigarette industry, electronic cigarettes have provided smokers with an alternative to traditional tobacco-based smoking. These battery-operated devices simulate the experience of traditional cigarette

JohnNew

Meeting the Demand for Fresh Foods

I was having drinks with some friends recently at the NACS Leadership Conference  when the topic of exceeding the customers’ expectations came up. I was asked by a member of the group what I thought was the true cost of not doing something right the first time. The consensus was that when it came to

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Tracking the Trends in 2013

Despite a weakened economy, the convenience store industry posted healthy sales gains in key in-store categories, such as foodservice, snacks, beverages and tobacco products, raising optimism for an even stronger 2013. For all the concerns about reduced consumer spending over the past 15 months, convenience stores experienced another strong year in 2012. Core categories, such

Look Who’s Talking…It’s Your Customers

Convenience store retailers not in touch with the needs of their customers risk far more than losing repeat business and sales. They risk extinction as customers gravitate toward chains that provide superior service and anticipate their needs. That was the key message delivered by John Goodman, vice chairman of Customer Care Measurement & Consulting last

The Growing Importance of Foodservice

I had the opportunity recently to look back at the archives of Convenience Store Decisions from the early 1990s. The majority of stories were dominated by candy and tobacco. Sure, there were some sandwich stories and the obligatory narrative on roller grills—even one mention of a futuristic retailer in Texas attempting to develop a pricebook

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Family Express Does the Harlem Shake

As the Harlem Shake has spread across the Internet into classrooms, dance clubs and even sporting events, the dance trend is finding its way into conveneince stores. Mr. Cravin the Farmer, the face of Family Express’s foodservice program, recruited the Family Express corporate staff to celebrate 1,000 Twitter followers by doing the Harlem Shake, and

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Focusing on Fresh Foods

The grab-and-go business is constantly evolving. Today’s customers not only want their foodservice fast, but they expect quality, consistency and healthy daypart options. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience store operators are driving sales of healthy, portable foodservice offerings like packaged sandwiches, wraps, salads and some roller grill items. But, historically, the industry has seldom gotten

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Industry Insights on Managing Your Managers

The Convenience Store Decisions case study series examines how experts in and around the industry identify and overcome challenging operating scenarios. By John Lofstock, Editor. Sometime late last year I sat down with several members of the Convenience Store Decisions Editorial Board looking for new ideas that could help our readers think outside the box

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NACS Leadership Tackles Retail Challenges with Real Time Solutions

Customer engagement, the future of payment technologies, alternative fuels and the new legislative landscape highlight the 2013 Leadership Conference in Miami. By John Lofstock, Editor Convenience store retailers not in touch with the needs of their customers risk far more than losing repeat business and sales. They risk extinction as customers gravitate toward chains that

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Legislative Update on Cigarette Graphic Warning Labels

Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), discussed the future of cigarette retailing in convenience stores. By John Lofstock, Editor. While cigarettes have long been a staple at U.S. convenience stores, accounting for millions in pack and cartons sales and boosting the profits from the average smoker’s market basket, it remains

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Bolla Means Business

The New York City marketer is thriving with 44 convenience stores, an upscale foodservice offering and a new organic coffee program. By John Lofstock, Editor. The Brooklyn Nets? Fugetaboutit. New York City’s largest borough is celebrating the growth of a convenience store chain it can call its very own. That’s because Bolla Management Corp. hasn’t

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Connecting with the Community

Chevron is gaining momentum through its corporate social responsibility initiatives and a growing loyalty program with Safeway. We increasingly hear that corporate social responsibility has become a business imperative. Not only do responsible and transparent approaches help build brand and reputation, they help strengthen the community and, therefore, the marketplace. A solid business plan, embedded

Sandy Brings Out the Best and Worst in Marketers

The buildup leading up to superstorm Sandy was met by many along the East Coast with skepticism. We’ve all heard these doomsday scenarios before, but rarely has the storm matched the hype. As such, many residents ignored the warnings to fill up their gas tanks and gas cans in preparation for power outages and fuel

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Smokeless Sales are Surging

Innovations and competitive pricing are pushing the popularity of moist smokeless tobacco. By John Lofstock, Editor. With cigarette smokers in flux—some sticking to favorite brands, others trading down or trying e-cigarettes and some transitioning to smokeless products—opportunities for c-stores abound. Industry insiders are looking for increased moist smokeless tobacco (MST) usage and concomitant rise in

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Family Express Connecting With The Community

Through its partnership with Purdue University, the Indiana chain is giving college football an opportunity to win free gas for a year.   Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Express earlier this year entered a multi-year sports marketing agreement with Purdue University Athletics and its multimedia rights holder, Purdue Sports Properties. As the college football season winds down,

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Tedeschi Celebrates in Style

With a new store design, a dazzling foodservice program and outstanding customer service, the Massachusetts retailer is CSD’s 2012 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. By John Lofstock, Editor. Few companies can match the rich tradition and deep roots Tedeschi Food Shops has planted in the convenience store industry. In business since 1923, the company’s

A Night to Remember for Team Tedeschi

In front of nearly 300 convenience store industry retailers and suppliers, Peter Tedeschi, president and CEO of Tedeschi Food Shops, accepted Convenience Store Decisions’ 2012 Convenience Store Chain of the Year award at a banquet in Las Vegas. Tedeschi is CSD’s 23rd Chain of the Year winner, the oldest and most prestigious award offered in

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Storm Sandy Continues to Wreak Havoc on Fuel Market

OPIS Chief Oil Analyst Tom Kloza stressed that the fuel supply is strong and that consumer panic is causing long lines and undue stress at the pumps. By John Lofstock, Editor Motorists in New York and New Jersey are facing two-hour lines at gas stations–if they can find one selling gasoline at all. Lines stretch

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Dealing with Difficult Colleagues

When an organization’s employees aren’t happy, it’s unlikely they’ll be providing the kind of quality service that leads to happy customers. By John Lofstock, Editor. Too often, retail chains promise satisfaction to customers and then allow internal politics to frustrate their employees’ good intentions to deliver. It’s important to remember that your customers aren’t the

Driving Retail Opportunities

The NACS Show is my annual reminder of just how much innovation exists among the many talented retailers and suppliers I communicate with every day. I expect this year’s NACS Show to be one of the most interesting I’ve ever attended. While the event has so much to offer, retailers can’t lose sight of the

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Understanding Customer Behavior

Every retailer spends a good portion of his day trying to figure out how best to serve his customers. But frankly, customers and their motivations can throw even the best retailers for a loop. By John Lofstock, Editor. “The customer is always right” is a mantra that convenience store owners hear over and over again.

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