New Jersey ExxonMobil Dealers Unite

By John Lofstock, Editor When ExxonMobil Corp. announced last June that it was getting out of direct-store operations, dealers of its venerable retail brands found themselves at a crossroads. They could either be on the receiving end of the deed to their own properties or be forced to work with a new master and an

Top 10 Beer Brands by Sales

TOP 10 BEER BRANDS Dollar Sales Case Sales Average Case Price Bud Light $3,823,988,000 196,964,800 $19.41 Budweiser $1,665,968,000 86,153,840 $19.34 Miller Lite $1,058,876,000 54,739,080 $19.34 Coors Light $1,032,452,000 53,347,550 $19.35 Natural Light $731,114,600 53,353,600 $13.70 Busch Light $425,441,900 31,412,000 $13.54 Busch $420,969,600 30,295,220 $13.90 Miller High Life $283,124,300 19,965,860 $14.18 Michelob Ultra Light $244,068,600 10,588,680

New Year, New Challenges

With 2009 approaching, let patience be your guide to achieve personal and professional goals. As we usher in a new year, let patience be your guide to achieve personal and professional goals. What if you suddenly found out that your slate could be pretty much wiped clean and most all of the tactical mistakes made could

CSD at the Races

NASCAR appeals to millions of race fans across the U.S. Spend any time at a race and you’ll quickly know why. It’s not just the roar of the engines or the intoxicating smell of burning rubber and motor fuel—it’s the intense, high-speed race to be a champion that at any given moment could send one

Examining Alternative Options

One of my specialties has been dealing with the importance of liquidating marginal stores and trying to find solutions for sites that no longer are appropriate for continued retail petroleum use. I recently experienced an amusing encounter that reflects some interesting differences in the direction that our industry may be taking from one coast to

Diamonds in Your Own Backyard

While searching for the magic bullet to grow your business, don’t forget about the extensive pool of customers the competition is attracting. I had the genuine great fortune of being hired, trained, nurtured and guided for several years by legendary NACS Hall of Fame member and wonderful friend, Robert E. “Bob” Seng. Many remember Bob

Tobacco’s Cloudy Future

Selling tobacco products at retail continues to get harder—this time because of H.R. 1108, the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, which passed overwhelmingly in the House on July 30 and would, if it becomes law, be the first time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulatory authority over tobacco manufacturing and retailing.

Philip Morris USA Pulls High-Tech Filter Cigarettes

Philip Morris USA, the nation’s No. 1 tobacco company, has ended test markets of Marlboro-branded cigarettes that use a high-tech filter. The operating company of Altria Group Inc. said it pulled the plug on Marlboro Ultra Smooth, which uses an activated carbon filter. The company had stopped making new shipments of Marlboro Ultra Smooth to

Beer Sales Continue to Surge

Arecent report by a.C. Nielsen shows beer sales are least affected by the current poor economy. The Brewers Association concurred, finding in the first half of this year that craft beer sales rose 11% over 2007. Neither statistic surprised Tim Cote, vice president of marketing for Beaverton, Ore.-based Plaid Pantries Inc. “Beer generally performs well

Vote for Convenience Store Decisions’ Power 25

It time once again to vote for Convenience Store Decisions’ Power 25! The Power 25 recognizes industry pioneers, association executives, lawmakers and other influential figures that shape the way the convenience store industry operates. These prominent leaders are being selected for the lasting contributions they have made to the convenience channel and the impact their

Going Green

Is it time for convenience store operators to introduce so-called green fuel pumps that can accommodate E-85, biodiesels and other emerging renewable fuels? As with so many other issues in the c-store business, the answer is “it depends.” The consensus thus far is this: the trend is very much in its infancy. Those who wish

Recruiting Top Employees

In the third and final part of Convenience Store Decisions’ recent Foodservice Webcast Series, human resources expert Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics, talked about “tips for finding and retaining outstanding employees” and polled meeting participants as to where their best employees come from.  Not surprisingly, the majority of Webcast attendees reported that employee referrals generate

Spicing Up the In-Store Offering: “Bienvenido A La Bodega”

Practice this phrase and try to have it down pat by midcentury: “Bienvenido a la bodega.” Sure, it’ll require a bit more than that (“Welcome to the little convenience store”) to gain loyalty from Spanish-speaking Hispanic consumers. But it’s probably a feel-good start in outfitting the c-store to attract one of the fastest-growing demographics in

The $10 Test

Mel Kleiman offers the $10 test: Give your applicant a $10 bill and tell him to buy something in the store—a sandwich, a fountain drink, anything of his choosing—and ask him to return the next day with an assessment of the experience. The applicant will do one of three things: • Take the $10 and

You Don’t Have a Turnover Problem?

Most employers in the convenience store industry think they have a frontline employee turnover problem and, heaven knows, the research surveys seem to confirm your thoughts. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey in February 2008, 78% of 16- to 19-year-olds and 54% of 20- to 24-year-olds had a tenure time of 12 months

Retention of Frontline Employees

» More careful selection in hiring (57%) » Better compensation and benefit (50%) » Tuition reimbursement (47%) » Improved training programs (45%) » Better orientation programs (39%) » Adoption of a casual dress code (38%) » Flexible hours and schedules (33%) » Providing health insurance (29%) » Exit interviews (28%) » Profit-sharing (17%) Source: The

The Man in the Mirror

With the U.S. consuming about 20% of the world’s fuel, it’s time to take matters into our own hands to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. By Jim Callahan You may have noticed that fuel prices seem to be on the rise recently. Quite dramatically you say you’re really ticked off about it–you say

Recession Rx for Business

In good times, running a company is exhilarating. Money is flowing, customers are happy, employees have a spring in their step. In not-so-good times, like now, the very same job can feel like scaling Mt. Everest in a snowstorm while wearing a knapsack filled with bricks and suffering from a bad case of the flu.

Steppin’ into Spring and Springing into Summerby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

I recently read a great quote attributed to a one time door-to-door sales person and lately more recognizable as founder of the billion-dollar company that bears her name, Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash said, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as

Nutty About Seeds

C-store customers are discovering what Native Americans learned thousands of years ago: A handful of nuts or sunflower seeds can satisfy hunger and boost energy reserves without risking adding excess body fat—and researchers have found that people who include nuts and seeds in their diets lower their risks for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Though

Customer Response Surveys Could Reap Big Benefits

As the convenience store and petroleum industry changes and evolves, retailers must continually battle blurred channels, changing technologies and decreased differentiation, one thing is constant: the experience you offer your customers can set you apart from your competition and keep your customers coming back. A great customer experience begins with knowing how your customers view

Foodservice Workers: How to Hire the Best

As convenience stores evolved from quick stops to full-blown foodservice centers that compete with the likes of Starbucks and McDonald’s, the need for top-notch employees has become as important as ever. Despite the increased demand required of employees, experts believe leading convenience store operators are in a good position to attract outstanding employees, they just

Do You Provide World-Class Service?

Today’s business environment is becoming increasingly complex and competitive due to globalization, new technology, increasing product proliferation, brand erosion, market segmentation, consumer skepticism and time poverty, rendering traditional business plans obsolete. For just about every product or service, there is an overwhelming number of choices to choose from, leaving consumers dazed and confused. So how

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive!by Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive! Staying Alive is both the title of an old disco tune, as well as a description of the challenge that today’s c-store operators face. C-store growth in numbers as well as quality continues unabated. I certainly don’t have all the answers about staying relevant, but I have some very interesting

Five Steps To Build a Winning Corporate Culture

If I asked your employees, "What’s it like to work at your company? What kind of place is it?" their answers would largely describe your company culture. How would your employees answer? Would you like what you heard? If not, a leader’s responsibility is to change it. Some leadership teams attempt to create culture by

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