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,

JohnMatthews

Four Wall Analysis

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When it comes to managing a profitable operation, knowing the key financial drivers of the store is paramount. Developing a “Four-Wall Analysis” is a helpful tool to better understanding both revenue projections as well as variable and fixed expenses. Few operators take the time

JohnMatthews

Connecting The Dots

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. You may think about your business 24/7, but chances are your customers do not. Hard to believe, right? I am a big believer that the successful businessperson is always considering how they can “connect the dots” for their customers more easily so that their

JohnMatthews

Operational Excellence

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Managing a retail store is tough work. Between operations, merchandising, marketing and facility upkeep, retail business owners have their hands full.  Managing the details of retail is the difference between making it or not.  All too often, retail owners become lax in their operation

inspector

Complying with Government Regulations

Whether it’s foodservice, tobacco or unionization, c-store owners must educate themselves on the changes that are taking place and respond accordingly to protect their investments. By Jim Callahan. As if we did not have enough government intervention to deal with, we are about to come face to face with an enormous increase in rules and

mike_handelsman

How to Boost the Value of Your Convenience Store

By Mike Handelsman, group general manager, BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. There’s no arguing that banks, potential investors and creditors look heavily to a company’s financial statements to determine its value. However, past financials often aren’t the whole story. Here are some additional factors to consider as you seek to maximize your company’s value – whether you

JohnMatthews

Time For Business Planning!

John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .”  Ah yes, the annual business planning cycle is upon us. The time of the year to huddle all of your business colleagues in a room to hash out the key initiatives for the upcoming

JohnMatthews

Fostering Better Communication Through Franchise Advisory Councils

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Establishing a Franchise Advisory Council (FAC) as a formal communications system to ensure franchisees input with regard to store marketing & operations is a natural stepping-stone for a growing franchise operation. FAC representatives are an indispensable part of the communication system in that they

JohnMatthews

It’s Showtime!

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. It is time to create a stir.  Some excitement.  Some passion.  Go ahead, pound your chest a bit.  It is time to make yourself known.  It’s Showtime! All too often, store operators – after their grand opening—sit back and wait for the phone to

Tracking the Trends in Convenience Retailing

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

Roast-Beef

Investing in a Foodservice Future

It’s time for all convenience store owners to recognize the overall value of a good deli program. By Jim Callahan. While a solid deli program is part of the convenience store industry’s present, it is destined to play an even larger and more critical part of our future. Whether you are a small chain or

Is Big Oil Losing its Drawing Power?

For many, many years the power of the Big Oil brands was indisputable. They owned the refineries, the stations and the credit card networks to boot. While my father was an Exxon dealer and jobber for more than 30 years I distinctly remember seeing Shell and Texaco credit cards lying around the house. In those

JohnMatthews

Promoting Your Store Through Public Relations

 By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Public relations can often be overlooked as a powerful tool in communicating your store and its brand throughout the community. Whether you are creating news, sponsoring an event or contributing to a charitable organization, a prudent public relations strategy can create the following benefits

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Coupon Books

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Growing up in Michigan, I was a part of a very prestigious high school baseball team– the Plymouth Canton Chiefs.  Year in and year out, our team was highly ranked and continually vied for the state championship.  Playing on this team was a sign

css.php