c-store

Thriving on Teamwork

Getting one store back in order in just two-and-a-half days proved to be the ultimate retail challenge. By Jim Callahan. One of my retail clients recently had to take back two failed convenience stores—that were in extremely bad condition—from a franchisee on a Wednesday and wanted them back online by the weekend. I love a

John-Blue-Shirt-Jeans-202x300

Creating A Company Communications Plan

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate” – from the movie, Cool Hand Luke  Fire. Aim. Ready.  If this is your communications plan…..you may want to read on. Amazingly, many companies do not think about communications—both internally and externally—until it is a

John-Blue-Shirt-Jeans-202x300

Half Century Man

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Feb. 11 was a milepost of sorts – I turned 50! As I enter the second half of my life [sic], I look back at the first 50 years with a great sense of pride and exuberance.  I have been blessed with the opportunities

online-cash-advance

Free Money For Energy Efficiency

By Ali Farsai Savvy owners realize that on their utility bill, they are paying for energy efficiency in the form of utility taxes and fees.   If you are paying to subsidize a program, you should also take advantage of its benefits before they run out of funding. Funding on all energy efficiency programs are

cigarette multi

A Simple Tobacco Fable

Alternative products are helping to shape the future of convenience store tobacco sets. By Lou Maiellano. Imagine, if you will, that European explorers land in Africa, North America or South America in the 14th, 15th or 16th centuries. Upon landing, these explorers find the inhabitants of these exotic new lands drinking a strange, energizing brew

station

Fast Nickels vs.Slow Dimes

When it comes to competing in the fuel business, convenience store retailers must fight to maintain their market share. By Jim Callahan. I received an inquiry from a small retailer in the Northeast recently who had lost a huge chunk of his fuel volume due to some fierce new competition. This is an issue that

Finding Your Way with Foodservice

Growing up in New YORK CITY few things were as natural to me as eating out. Even now with three children, a minimum of two meals a day are eaten outside the house seven days a week. The kitchen table is more of a convenient place to store things, like takeout menus and the kids’

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Product Sampling

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. If you feed them, they will come…. One of the most successful local store marketing (LSM) tactics to build into your daily operations is a sampling strategy for your products.  If your retail establishment is foodservice, your customers will want to taste the product.

JohnMatthews

May The Co-Op Be With You….

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When a multi-unit organization begins to grow, one common step in this process is the creation of advertising and purchasing co-ops that enable stores to pool their financial and strategic resources. Generally, co-ops are determined using Designated Market Areas (DMA) of which there are

JohnMatthews

Project Management

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.”  – author unknown If you get in a car in Chicago with the intent of driving to Los Angeles,

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Sports Sponsorships

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Sports sponsorships are terrific ways to build your brand through local store marketing, because they are so flexible in nature.  Creating and fostering a relationship with a local team, while customizing your sponsorship to suit your needs, can catapult your brand further than simply

Countershot2

Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

While management is always on the lookout for new talent, it’s also up to employees to demonstrate that they are ready to advance to leadership positions. By Jim Callahan. As we embark on 2012, it’s time to start considering how you’re going to begin grooming team members for advancement within the company. Today’s employees are

Are Customers Always Right?

As anyone even remotely associated with the service industry will tell you the customer is king. But a new book is challenging that theory and takes a critical look at the true value of disgruntled customers. For example, in a retail setting, the squeaky wheel almost always winds up getting the grease. Customers tend to

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Key Leaders

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This adage held true in your first job search and still holds true today in business.  Building and fostering long-term business relationships not only enable you to be connected to the key decision makers in

JohnMatthews

Making Prudent Capital Investments

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When it comes to the long-term success of a business, one of the key drivers is prudent capital re-investment.  Unlike operational expenses that are used to run the daily business or working capital to purchase inventory, money invested in the business that yields incremental

Mentoring

Who Was Your Mentor?

As the convenience store industry continues to mature, today’s leaders have a responsibility to pass their wisdom forward. By Jim Callahan. Way back when I entered the oil industry as a bookkeeper in 1968, I didn’t have a clue how fortunate I was to have two great mentors. To be absolutely candid, I never heard

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Store Anniversaries

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Over the course of the last eight years, I have delivered a speech called “Local Store Marketing for Retailers” at least 50 times. This speech is designed to give retailers – both single store and multi-unit operators–a number of marketing ideas that they should

JohnMatthews

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are a vital resource to managing your business.  Each selected KPI can be your bellwether indicator for all departments and take the guesswork out of your strategy.  Rather than relying on old adages

JohnMatthews

Break-Even Analysis

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. One of the most-asked questions I hear from store owners is “What sales volume does my store need in order to make money?”  While it would be convenient to rattle off a sales figure off the top of my head, it undoubtedly is a

fast-food

Understand the Rules Customer Service

One unhappy shopping experience can influence the behavior of 16 customers. Can you afford to lose that business? By Jim Callahan. Great customer service is still and will always be the hallmark of any successful retail business. As convenience store operators we have high standards to compete with. For example, it is standard practice in

Honoring the Thorntons Culture

Pride, tradition, exceptional service, an outstanding culture and dedicated employees. These are just some of the unique qualities found in the industry’s top convenience store chains. For the past 22 years, Convenience Store Decisions has had the honor of recognizing this excellence in retailing and this year we are proud to honor Thorntons Inc. as

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Foodservice Group Sales

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. One often-overlooked strategy to generate ancillary foodservice revenues is developing a program to tap group sales.  Generating revenue through large group order sales is an excellent way to exponentially grow your business.  The sale from the initial large group order is the first source

LIST

What’s On Your Customer’s C-Store Shopping List?

Jeff Weghorst, director of merchandising at dunnhumbyUSA. One of the primary drivers behind a customer’s willingness to transact with a retailer is product selection. If a customer does not encounter an appealing assortment of products in-store, they are highly unlikely to engage even once with the retailer, and much less likely to become a loyal

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Greetings & Suggestive Sales

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. With any size retailer, getting customer trial at your store is the easy part.  If the store owner throws out a compelling offer – perhaps a free deal – customers will come to your store to “check you out.”  This is fairly straight forward,

css.php