JohnNew

Understanding Your Workforce

When we finally come out on the other end of these economic doldrums, we’ll find—as in downturns past—that it will not be the big businesses that devour the small or even the fast who outdistance the slow. No, it will be the focused and flexible that outmaneuver and outlast the unfocused and inflexible. While the

Delivering a Service Culture

From great corners, clean restrooms and modern facilities to fresh food and a wide selection of popular snacks, convenience stores are committed to delivering outstanding service. This commitment is evident in the  industry’s growing sales numbers at a time when most other retail channels are struggling to break even. This service-driven culture is the industry’s

Building Profits and Relationships

Fresh off another successful National Advisory Group (NAG) conference last month in Nashville, I would like to thank all of the attendees that joined us for two days of outstanding networking, educational sessions and information exchanges. What makes NAG so special is that it is an association driven by retailers for retailers. We are an

The Silent War Against Retail

Within the past six weeks, documents outlining New York City’s secret war against electronic tobacco were leaked to the public. The contents of the documents are hardly surprising given New York’s recent assault on items sold in convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and supermarkets. The documents were leaked by the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association

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Foodservice Remains the Key to Future Success

By John Lofstock, Editor. While trendy items like electronic cigarettes and energy shots offer convenience store retailers a respite from depressed tobacco and fuel margins, it should be perfectly clear to all store owners that developing a great foodservice program is what it will take to remain profitable in the future. Convenience store operators are

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Embracing the Technology Revolution

By John Lofstock, Editor There is a rather humorous story behind Simon and Garfunkel’s song Mrs. Robinson that goes beyond the art of seduction. In the popular song, the legendary musical duo asks, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” DiMaggio, of course, needed no introduction when the

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Driving New Business

By John Lofstock, Editor. Hailed by many as an emerging threat to the tobacco cigarette industry, electronic cigarettes are providing smokers with an alternative to traditional tobacco-based smoking. But these battery-operated devices serve as much more than a nicotine delivery system, they are serving as a shot in the arm for an entire industry. E-cigarettes

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Pushing the Boundaries of Innovation

By John Lofstock, Editor. In these difficult economic times it’s rewarding to meet successful businesses that are doing things right. It’s even more gratifying when these businesses are family owned and operated. Such is the case with Family Express in Valparaiso, Ind. I have known Gus Olympidis and his family for more than 15 years

The Growing Importance of Foodservice

I had the opportunity recently to look back at the archives of Convenience Store Decisions from the early 1990s. The majority of stories were dominated by candy and tobacco. Sure, there were some sandwich stories and the obligatory narrative on roller grills—even one mention of a futuristic retailer in Texas attempting to develop a pricebook

Sandy Brings Out the Best and Worst in Marketers

The buildup leading up to superstorm Sandy was met by many along the East Coast with skepticism. We’ve all heard these doomsday scenarios before, but rarely has the storm matched the hype. As such, many residents ignored the warnings to fill up their gas tanks and gas cans in preparation for power outages and fuel

A Night to Remember for Team Tedeschi

In front of nearly 300 convenience store industry retailers and suppliers, Peter Tedeschi, president and CEO of Tedeschi Food Shops, accepted Convenience Store Decisions’ 2012 Convenience Store Chain of the Year award at a banquet in Las Vegas. Tedeschi is CSD’s 23rd Chain of the Year winner, the oldest and most prestigious award offered in

Driving Retail Opportunities

The NACS Show is my annual reminder of just how much innovation exists among the many talented retailers and suppliers I communicate with every day. I expect this year’s NACS Show to be one of the most interesting I’ve ever attended. While the event has so much to offer, retailers can’t lose sight of the

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

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

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

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

Lessons in Retail Leadership

Despite fast-changing customer expectations, shortened product and retail life cycles and rapid technological advancements, many retailers have not taken advantage of opportunities to innovate. By applying new perspectives to established ways of doing business, convenience store retailers can strengthen their competitive and financial positions, improve the customer experience and create a new life cycle of

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’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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