Rutter’s Farm Stores Named CSD’s Chain Of The Year

Exceptional leadership, great stores and unsurpassed customer service are the hallmarks of the convenience store industry’s extraordinary 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. At a time when many industry marketers are struggling with exorbitant credit card fees

Other Tobacco: Find the Right Mix

Few product categories are as dynamic as tobacco—or as controversial—which helps make managing the set all the more interesting. With so many new products, flavors and line extensions to choose from, some operators say they are frankly overwhelmed, a state of affairs that has never been good for anyone’s bottom line. Keeping sets fresh—allocating shelf

Lessons in Leadership

As the director of real estate for High’s of Baltimore and a member of the Darnell family, which owns the Hanover, Md., chain of 69 stores in Maryland and Delaware, Briana Darnell knows first hand the importance of being a strong leader and how it can impact a company’s success.   In her current role, she

Pricing, Promotions Key for Salty Snacks

When the American Public Health Association highlighted a December 2009 study on candy, snack and sweetened beverage availability in non-food retailers, it was worried about obesity. Convenience store retailers are only worried about thin margins. The Tulane University researchers found snack food in 41% of all stores whose primary merchandise was not food. Candy was

Energizing Beverage Sales

Thirteen years after the energy drink market emerged in the U.S. with the introduction of Red Bull, the category remains popular with consumers, who are willing to pay higher prices in a difficult economy for an extra jolt.  But while Mintel reported in July 2009 that the energy drink market had climbed to an estimated

Brands, Packaging Benefit HBC

With healthcare capturing so many headlines these days, the health and beauty category (HBC) has taken on added importance in the c-store set. Fueling much of the growth: smaller package sizes that save shoppers money and stimulate impulse sales. Medford, Ore.-based Minute Market has jumpstarted its HBC sales by mixing in smaller-sized packaging, according to

Why Every Convenience Store Owner Needs An Exit Plan

By Ted Thomas, Sun Exit Advisors Most convenience store owners are too busy to think about their exit plan. There comes a time, however, when business owners want to successfully leave their business. Unfortunately, when it comes time for transition, most don’t know how to accomplish that goal. A common mistake is to rush to

Brothers at the Helm

Jimmy McCarthy III, vice president of sales and operations for Tom Thumb Food Stores, still remembers the Saturday morning his dad, Jim McCarthy Jr., owner and president of Tom Thumb, woke him up to begin his career in the convenience store industry. “He said, ‘wake up, you’re not going to sleep all day.’ I said,

The Simple Secret of Free Publicity

Whether you operate a large or small chain, there are deals to be made that can attract a lot of positive attention to your company. I know some of you don’t place much of a value on publicity, but when was the last time you priced the cost of a retail ad in the local

Retailers Counting on COFFEE

Ten years ago, “experts” warned the coffee industry was becoming saturated; then they said it again five years ago and once more two years ago. Turns out they were wrong every time. There’s not a convenience store operator in America who doesn’t work at building coffee sales and expanding dayparts thanks to the category’s excellent

Is Your Land at Risk?

The question of eminent domain may sound scary and far fetched, but as a convenience store owner your land could in fact be seized by a municipality. It happens more than you think, said noted attorney William Goldman, who works with landowners facing this threat to ensure they get what they deserve. Goldman spoke with Convenience

The Power to Turn a Life Around

While this troubled economy lingers, there might never be a better time than right now to increase your efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of your employees. As I reflected on gracious words attributed to a motivational speaker, the late professor Leo Buscaglia, I was both struck by his gentle touch, and

What’s in Store in the Humidor

As if the turbulent economy, rising state taxes and local anti-smoking regulations hadn’t rendered the retail cigar landscape dangerous enough, enter the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which wants to significantly reshape that landscape, but so far hasn’t told anyone—most notably the retailers that will be selling the products—how. Some background: The law granting

A Functional Boost to Confections

You know the truism about Americans wanting more of everything is, indeed, true when we begin demanding more from our candy, gum and mint products than just good taste. As with beverages over the last decade or so, so-called functional snacks are slowly gaining respect in the convenience store channel, as major manufacturers roll products

Hitting the Customers’ “Sweet Spot”

The ability to offer outstanding service remains the industry’s biggest asset. Do whatever it takes to exceed expectations. Doing a late night check on our new Huddle House restaurant attached to a quite awesome BP travel center, I arrived just in time to tackle the concerns of a pretty tough and very tired truck driver

Things I Learned on the Way to the Convenience Store

The term “blessed” is trite but, in this case, true: My journey through the convenience store industry has seen me blessed with the friendships of so many special people. More than a few of them fit the mold reserved for greatness. I’d like to share some of the wonderful wisdom I’ve learned from them.

Riding Out the Economic Storm

Facing one of the most difficult financial crises in the nation’s history, convenience store operators must maximize store performance and drive efficiencies. That old axiom “fall back, spring ahead” takes on an entirely new meaning for 2009. Faced with the worst recession in more than half a century, springing ahead means fighting for survival for

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

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

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