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

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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

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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

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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

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Productivity: Motivating Employees

By John Matthews, president and founder of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker, but of the manager.” – Peter Drucker. I remember my first managerial job in retail foodservice.  The year was 1987, and I was a manager trainee for Little Caesars Pizza.  I had just

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LinkedIn – The Power of Networking

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. With the introduction of social media in the last five or so years, networking and expanding your relevancy in your community has never been more productive.  Unlike most advertising and media, social media enables you to create a two-way communication with your network contacts

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Maximizing A Convention

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Whether this is your first industry convention or you are a seasoned pro, I am a firm believer that establishing a well-thought out plan in advance of attending an industry convention is key for maximizing results.  Many conventions can be daunting with thousands of

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The ABC’s of ASPC

Understanding average sales per customer can stop employee theft in its tracks. By Jim Callahan. Human resources guru Mel Kleiman preaches that 20% of employees are basically honest, 20% are basically dishonest and the rest tend to gravitate toward the middle—depending on how management handles the dishonest employees. The following is designed to identify and

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NAG: You Will Be Glad You Came

By John Petersen, Publisher. As we got on the shuttle to head back to the airport leaving the 2010 National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference in Charleston, S.C., I asked one of the retail attendees if he was satisfied with the event. The response was more than I could have hoped for. “Why don’t y’all do

Saluting the Thorntons Team

By John Lofstock, Editor. August is typically one of my favorite issues of the year because it gives us here at Convenience Store Decisions an opportunity to give something back to the industry for its tremendous support throughout the year. In August we announce our annual Convenience Store Chain of the Year, and this year

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Is Groupon Right for Your Business?

A growing debate continues as to whether Groupon, and other daily deal sites like Living Socialare good for businesses or are they a quick-fix marketing solution in a sluggish economy yielding short-lived, expensive, false hope. While the jury is still out, there is no debating that the daily deal phenomenon continues to grow in popularity.

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

By: 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

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Branded vs. Proprietary Foodservice

The debate has gone on for many years–should you implement an existing branded foodservice program or are you better off developing your own unique proprietary brand?  The answer to both is YES!  There is no right or wrong answer as both have their pros and cons.   Branded foodservice offers the quickest path to implementation since

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Facebook Marketing for Convenience Stores

Convenience store chains, like most retailers, pay close attention to transaction counts and sales per customer. Until recently, getting to know your customers as individuals might have seemed costly and out of reach for all but the largest of companies. Having the opportunity to communicate with your customers and getting to know their friends and

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What’s your turnover rate?

Turnover can be very costly, yet it is often overlooked or poorly measured by many convenience store retailers. Studies peg the cost of replacing one c-store employee can be $1,500 or more and that ignores the opportunity cost from increased sales resulting from a well trained, stable, customer focused work force.   Many chains are

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Getting The Most From Teams

Sometimes it makes a lot of sense to have a cross functional work team established to tackle business challenges or drive operational improvement in current processes. Other times it is better to assign the task to an individual or to a group with a clearly defined leader. Cross functional teams provide the added benefit of brining

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Local Store Marketing for Retailers

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc., www.graycatenterprises.com. In today’s tough economy, the fight for share-of-customer by retail stores to effectively capture sales has never been fiercer. Retail stores that sit back and wait for the economy to improve will have a very long road to recovery. Aggressive retailers that go

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

There was a time in the convenience store industry when being a great marketer was enough to have a successful business. Unfortunately, being a successful convenience store retailer these days means that not only do you have to outperform your competition, but you must also satisfy federal regulators. The convenience store industry is used to

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Cultivating the Leaders of Tomorrow

Training employees to accept responsibility when they stumble will help groom the next generation of industry executives. By Jim Callahan. My wife called me one morning this week with a quote that gave us both pause to stop and think: “When you stumble, make it part of the dance.” I took some time to analyze

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Considerations for Selling a Distressed Business

By Domenic Rinaldi, Chicagoland Sunbelt. In a perfect world, businesses would only be sold when they are healthy and attractive to buyers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and trying to market a business as an appealing acquisition while the business is in decline can be difficult. However, it’s not impossible. Here are some

While some stores may be facing overcrowding, examining the facility with a critical eye and objectivity can help you find a new solution to an existing problem.

Keeping Your Cool in Turbulent Times

In order to change the outcome of a situation that plagues your operation, the quickest way to empower yourself is to take action as soon as possible. By Jim Callahan. Since the recession of 2009 hit, it has taken the skills of a tightrope walker to navigate the treacherous economic pitfalls to stay profitable. For

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Sign Says: Please Watch For Text Messagers

By: Lance Winslow The other day, I went to go buy some gas for my little red sports car down at the local gas station. It’s one of those really cool new c-stores with all the bells and whistles, trimmings and a car wash. As I was there, unfortunately the credit card reading machine wasn’t

Applauding Industry Leaders

By: John Lofstock, Editor. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Those words are about as chilling to convenience store retailers as Navy SEAL Team 6 is to terrorists. But this is the new reality for all marketers of tobacco. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants convenience store retailers to think otherwise.

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It’s All About the Brand

Top retailers in any category understand the importance of their brand, their brand promise and how they deliver on that promise. They understand that given a choice, consumers would rather spend their money with retail brands they know, like and trust.  So how recognizable is your c-store brand and what is it that you promise

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