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What Light Pollution Ordinances Could Mean for C-stores

By: Lance Winslow. We all know that well lit c-stores attract more clientele at night. Folks, especially women feel safer in a well lit environment. Indeed, studies and surveys show that it is actually safer, and humans seem to inherently know this. Perhaps, the reasoning has to do with the basic “crime triangle” – that

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Investing in Tomorrow

Building a convenience store requires a great deal of planning. Operators are urged to examine all of their options before making their next big investment. By: Jim Callahan Thinking of building a new store? Well, I’ve got some thoughts and opinions to help you focus on making a wise investment. In these trying times few

How Involved Are You?

By: John Lofstock, Editor. After a years-long struggle to get some much-needed relief from the high interchange fees that are eroding the industry’s profitability, convenience store operators are in danger of seeing the victory slip between their hands. The Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Consumer Financial Protection Act, which is set to be finalized April

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Connecting With Your Customers

Loyalty and Facebook are changing the way convenience store retailers are communicating with today’s consumers. By Greg Ehrlich, Contributing Editor. Smaller convenience store chains with limited resources often sit on the sidelines waiting to see how their larger counterparts embrace new technologies. They wait to see whether the new initiatives make it past a pilot

Emphasizing Category Management

 By: John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience Store Decisions‘ annual Category Management Outlook issue is routinely one of my favorite issues of the year because it gives the CSD staff an opportunity not only to analyze the industry’s performance over the past 12 months, but to forecast the sales trends retailers can expect to see over the

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Don’t Overlook the Little Things

We all know that customer service, bright lights and a clean store drive business, yet many stores are not getting the message. By Jim Callahan. Last month I took a close look at making the outside appearance of our convenience stores attractive enough to entice consumers to want to enter our stores and spend more

Go above and beyond your customers’ expectations by offering amenities like clean washer fluid, working squeegees and paper towels.

Looking Good in the Neighborhood

A clean, consistent, upscale image and outstanding service isn’t enough to distinguish your brand anymore—it’s the bare minimum to stay competitive. By Jim Callahan. It’s February and I’m not quite sure about the official name for this dismal season, but this much is certain: I prefer the dog days of summer. This winter has seen

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Customer Loyalty Done Right

Customer loyalty is a game changer.  Take a look at successful loyalty programs like Marriott Rewards, Delta Sky Miles, My Starbucks Rewards, Speedy Rewards, Rewards in a Flash and Certified Savings.  These are all established programs that acknowledge their best customers, reward them for their existing behavior and provide greater rewards to improve their shopping

Preparing for Higher Pump Prices

While these difficult economic times continue to peck away at customers’ disposable income, fuel prices are creeping up, which will only further erode discretionary spending. Gasoline prices nationally have increased steadily since September, rising nearly 60 cents to an average of $3.11 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to the Department of Energy at

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NAG Scholarship Enrollment is Open

As many of you know and remember from past affiliation, The National Advisory Group (NAG) is a top organization of hard-working executives from small- to medium-sized chains whose mission is to help other convenience store executives build profits and relationships. This group meets once a year to share best business practices, operational improvements and revenue-generating

The customer is king

The Customer is King

“The customer is always right.”  “Our customers come first.”  “We value our customers.” Blah, blah, blah… Sure we have all read retailer mission statements about how they value their customers, but how many truly take these words to heart?  For most companies, their mission statement and promise of “the best customer experience” is just words

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How Did You Get Here? Where Are You Going?

It sounds like a couple of obvious questions, but when these questions are asked to executives at a convenience store chain, the wide array of answers may surprise you. Most execs generally know how a company arrived at its present state. However, dig deeper and many will tell you they arrived at their current destination

Building the Business

Quality employees and customer service are the backbone of the convenience store and petroleum industry. All you have to do is observe how top quartile companies treat and respect their personnel to understand what kind of asset frontline employees can be to a successful company. It’s no accident that these operators are outperforming their competitors

Electronic cigarettes are  just one of the new products  that retailers should consider  when updating their product mix for 2011.

Embracing a Fresh Perspective

The New Year offers convenience store owners an opportunity to evaluate  their product mix to ensure they are meeting their customers’ needs. The bells have chimed, the ball has dropped and 2011 is now a reality. Happy New Year to all of you. Every New Year starts with hope and a sense of wonderment as

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Convenience store operators must take the time to observe how their competitors are marketing tobacco. In most of the presentations I have given over the past few years, I challenge my participants to take the time to understand how their business is doing, but to also make sure to check on the competition. After all,

Employees may not like working holiday shifts. It’s important to remind them of the valuable service they provide to the industry’s loyal consumers.

Meeting the Demand for Convenience

  Even during the holiday season customers expect their local c-store not only to be open, but to meet their diverse needs. Every year during the holidays I have cashiers tell me that customers ask them why our stores are open on days like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Customers often remark, “It’s a

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Tracking the Trends

While the convenience store industry is in a much better position to withstand the strains of the current economic recession, one thing is painfully clear. Customers are changing the way they buy goods and services and retailers must keep up with those changes to avoid becoming obsolete. A new generation of Millennials, those born between

Saluting Family Businesses

I just got back from the National Advisory Group’s (NAG) 2010 Ideas Conference in Charleston, S.C., and came away with a much better understanding of the issues facing small businesses and family-owned companies. Whether it’s dealing with the massive overhaul of the U.S. medical system, costly PCI compliance investments that yield no ROI or embracing

Rutter’s Rises as Chain of the Year

Outstanding leadership, great stores and unsurpassed customer service are the hallmarks of the convenience store industry’s exceptional chains. Following these guiding principles, Convenience Store Decisions is proud to announce Rutter’s Farm Stores as the 2010 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. Rutter’s, which supplants Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes as Chain of the Year, is

Building Relationships at the National Advisory Group

Throughout my 15 years of covering the convenience store industry, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, develop lifelong friendships and watch in awe as otherwise ordinary people learned to work together to produce extraordinary results. Throughout that time I’ve also seen countless people come and go. For some, the industry was a

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Preparing for the Fountain Wars

McDonald’s is preparing an aggressive summer promotion targeting core c-store customers. Another month, another challenge for convenience store operators. Where is the legendary Charles Atlas when the big bad bully tries to kick sand in our collective faces? As I’m sure you’ve heard by now this summer’s bully is, once again, McDonald’s. The hamburger chain

Targeting Casual Smokers

A new class of products is emerging to satisfy the needs of social tobacco users. So many thoughts that capture my mind are worthy of being written about. Some incite our emotions (like the recent attack on Terry Gallagher of Smoker Friendly who accepted the position as coach of the Boulder High School girls varsity

Deadline Day is Here

A baker puts two muffins in an oven. The first muffin turns to the other and says, “Boy it’s hot in here.” The second muffin screams, “Yikes, a talking muffin.” Hopefully convenience store chains are not nearly this surprised when it comes to this month’s PCI deadlines. However, at the NACStech conference in April, several

Welcome Back NAG

As the industry continues its rapid evolution, CSD is stepping up its efforts to provide convenience store operators with the tools they need to be successful. To that end, CSD is proud to announce two premiere events in the coming months. First and foremost, the National Advisory Group (NAG) begins its rise back to prominence

All in the Family

In these difficult economic times it’s rewarding to meet successful businesses that are doing things the right way. It’s even more gratifying when these businesses are family owned and operated. Such is the case with High’s of Baltimore. There aren’t too many 82-year-old companies in this industry that I’m not familiar with, but I admit

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