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

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

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

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

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

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