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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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Serving Up Satisfaction

Eight service tips for effectively handling customer complaints at retail. By John Lofstock, Editor. A lot of retail best—and worst—practices can be found simply by observing what others are doing. Spirit Airlines recently flew into a big public relations disaster. Sticking to a no-refunds policy, the airline refused to refund the airfare of a passenger

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Best Petroleum's Richard Salinsky Enshrined into High School Football Hall of Fame

By John Lofstock, Editor It’s been a busy year filled with accolades for venerable industry icon Richard Salinsky. With more than 50 years of experience and dedication to the industry, Salinsky was honored earlier this year with the prestigious Distinguished Marketer Award from SIGMA, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA). Now, the

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Dealing Behind the Scenes

Open Pantry’s Robert Buhler opens up about the  company’s future, missed opportunities and the financial wisdom offered by his board of directors. By John Lofstock, Editor. To make your mark in the convenience store industry, you are either growing the business or waiting for the rest of the industry to pass you by. Growth can

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Consumers Focus On Healthful Foods

IDDBA’s “What’s in Store” report shows customers are looking to eat healthier and are shopping more, but they are also buying less on each trip. By John Lofstock, Editor. Consumers are buying less food on each trip to the store, making value that includes healthy choices the crux of their shopping ethos, according to “What’s

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FJ Management to Acquire Majority Interest in Maverik

Maverik Executive Vice President Brad Call tells CSD the leadership team and direction of the company remains unchanged. By John Lofstock, Editor FJ Management Inc., formerly known as Flying J, reached a deal to acquire a majority interest in North Salt Lake City, Utah-based Maverik Inc. Maverik, which was founded nearly 60 years ago, has

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Northern Exposure

By combining the rich experience of Shell Oil with family-owned ingenuity, truenorth convenience stores is poised for a breakout year. By: John Lofstock. There aren’t too many 93-year-old oil companies that have enjoyed decades of success, but have managed to keep a low profile. But the winds of change are blowing at Truenorth Energy LLC

Chains Worth Watching

Despite the global recession, convenience stores have thrived thanks to their ability to provide fast service, quality products and great value in strategic locations. As service and location remain the industry’s primary competitive advantage over supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, many of whom are moving into the fuel and fresh food business, convenience stores

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Credit Card Security And PCI: Where Do We Go From Here?

When it comes to data security, all retailers need to be prepared for the worst scenario, but that can’t happen if they aren’t aware of PCI requirements and the severe consequences that can result from a data breach. By John Lofstock, Editor When security breaches make the news, the typical victims are retailing giants, such

Dealing with the Long Arm of Government

The onslaught continues. It never ceases to amaze me that why, in these trying economic times, lawmakers insist on introducing legislation that costs retailers sales opportunities. Virtually every chain I’ve covered over the past 15-plus years in this industry has counted on earnings and profits to reinvest in the business. That means buying more real

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Mr. Zip Convenience Stores Acquired

The Mr. Zip convenience store chain, operator of 16 stores along the I-75 corridor between Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tenn., was acquired today by Textron Energy, a subsidiary of Classic Star Group of Ft. Worth, Texas. Terms of the deal, which includes the 16 stores and a wholesale fuels business, were not disclosed. Classic Star Group

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Englefield Oil Wins CSD’s 2012 Makeover Contest

By John Lofstock, Editor Experts agree that to successfully compete in the convenience store industry retailers must have a solid foodservice program. Developing a winning foodservice strategy requires a radical change in the corporate culture, a hefty financial commitment, lots of hard work and patience. In fact, one of the biggest differences between top convenience

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College Convenience Competes Locally

Kent State’s Eastway Market & Deli offers students the products they need at affordable prices to keep shopping occasions on campus. By Megan Wilkinson and John Lofstock. Getting to know your core customers is an ongoing challenge. But when your customers are a transient group of students, staying on top of their needs is virtually

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Lou Maiellano Joins CSD’s Tobacco Webcast

Management Science Associates (MSA) and Paradigm Sample, in partnership with Convenience Store Decisions, are teaming up to offer a free Webcast tomorrow that will examine the purchasing habits of adult tobacco consumers at U.S. convenience stores. The tobacco industry continues to face challenges on multiple fronts, namely ongoing legislative initiatives and the ever-present high rate

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Logic Technology Secures E-Cigarette Patent

Logic Technology is raising the stakes in the electronic cigarette category by obtaining a patent that tracks product usage. The patent covers a unique digital counter the lets the user know precisely how many puffs are remaining in the e-cigarette, Logic CEO Eli Alelov told Convenience Store Decisions. “This is new technology that will change

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Understanding Today’s Tobacco Customers

MSA and Paradigm Sample, in partnership with Convenience Store Decisions, examine the purchasing habits of adult tobacco consumers at U.S. convenience stores. By Trish Temmerman, Management Science Associates, and John Lofstock, Editor. The tobacco industry continues to face challenges on multiple fronts, namely ongoing legislative initiatives and the ever-present high rate of taxation. These persistent

Embracing the Changing Retail Environment

Back in 1997 I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Thomas, the founder of the Wendy’s chain to interview him about his retail strategy. One of the first things he said to me was, “You know why our hamburgers are square? Because we don’t cut corners.” Over the past decade many things have

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Decoding Haverstraw’s Questionable Tobacco Display Ban

With various federal laws banning or limiting certain cigarette product advertising, cigarette packaging itself has become a commercially accepted form of advertising. By John Lofstock, Editor. In early April, the Village of Haverstraw, N.Y., adopted a first-of-its-kind ordinance in the U.S. that requires retailers to keep tobacco out of public view. To learn more about

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Quick and Complete

Roadrunner Markets refines its retail operations with the addition of a c-store prototype, a renewed commitment to foodservice and a firm emphasis on customer service. By John Lofstock, Editor. At a time when customers demand fast service, quality foods and convenient locations, Roadrunner Markets is pushing ahead with a retail strategy that would make even

Inspiring Leadership in Those Around You

Master Chief Petty Officer David A. Lindenberger. He is the toughest man I’ve ever met. As the senior enlisted man aboard the submarine USS Providence during my time in the Navy, he was known simply as Chief of the Boat or the COB. He wasn’t a particularly big man, maybe an iron fist taller than

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Healthy Options Driving Foodservice Demand

Many convenience store retailers are cognizant of the trend toward healthier foods and are adding better-for-you items to their menus. By John Lofstock, Editor. More salads, fruits and vegetables are finding their way onto convenience store shelves—often for purchase in the morning, or as a late afternoon snack—much to the delight of an increasing number

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A Gift for All Seasons

The prepaid market is booming as retailers begin to capitalize on seasonal opportunities and serving the underbanked. By John Lofstock, Editor. The gift card market is rosy and analysts are poised for another strong year in 2012. In 2011, 80% of consumers planned on buying gift cards for the holiday season, up from 2010, and

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BP Stations Running Out of Gas in New England

A fuel distributor with ties to Getty Marketing has been cutting back on deliveries over the past few weeks causing more than 200 BP gas station owners across New England to struggle to keep their doors open. Some have started to run out of gas altogether. All of the region’s BP stations have been affected,

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Team Oil Leaps into Foodservice

Team Oil Inc. yesterday completed a six-month construction addition to its flagship Team Oil Travel Center in Spring Valley, Wis., opening the doors to expanded facility that includes a Subway franchise, enlarged deli area, new restrooms and a large dining area. Eric Huppert, president and general manager of Team Oil Inc, said the company will

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Enter CSD’s 2012 Extreme Makeover Contest: Foodservice Edition

Is your foodservice program ready for an extreme makeover? Experts agree that to successfully compete in the convenience store industry retailers must have a solid foodservice program. Developing a winning foodservice strategy requires a radical change in the corporate culture, a hefty financial commitment, lots of hard work and patience. But if you are committed

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