underserved markets present growth opportunities

Convenience store operators urged to use alternative data sources to get a better estimate of true market demand. by John Weiser, Contributing Editor Underserved markets— neighborhoods with high concentrations of ethnic minorities and immigrants—are fast growing and overlooked by major retailers. There are significant profit opportunities in these neighborhoods for savvy convenience store operators. But

grabandgo dollars

From small operators with space and labor limitations to larger chains with food at the forefront, the grab-and-go segment has these retailers turning tasty profits. Food has always been a cornerstone of the overall offering at Casey’s General Stores. The made-fromscratch pizza program has become the calling card across its 1,423 stores, which has evolved

csds still selling

NON-CARBS GAINING GROUND Although a major shift is clearly underway in packaged beverage sales, Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” could easily describe the current carbonated soft drink (CSD) market. “The highest volume we sell is still CSDs, and Coke and Pepsi are still at the top of the

chevron gets fresh

New imaging program transforms the forecourt with a colorful array of bright lights and warm, friendly graphics. Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can’t get it wrong. It’s this philosophy that is driving Chevron to display its professional prowess as it prepares for the nationwide rollout of its Image Refresh

prepaids push profits

Card Revenues Soar Looking for a way to drive fuel sales and up your overall profits? Recent research reveals that making transactions more convenient by offering and accepting a variety of prepaid cards is the way to go. Prepaid cards, also known as stored-value cards, clearly increase business, especially if the cards are reloadable. A

one family many owners

Experts are warning that fuel prices are likely toremain high until January 2007 as demand for petroleum products soars due to market shortages causedby the damaged pipelines out of BP

smoke signals

Besieged by taxes and a decline in gross profit margins, there are signs that import and specialty brands could be the key to tobacco profitability. Though there have been calls by industry expertsfor convenience store companies to reduce their dependencyon cigarettes, the industry overall is becoming more reliant ontobacco sales. The National Association of Convenience

target customer with knowledge of trends

Understanding health and wellness developments can increase sales. The health and wellness landscape has been undergoing some major changes over the past several years, spurred by various factors, including scientific discoveries, nutrient breakthroughs, changing lifestyles and demographics, rising obesity, desire for wellness personalization and demand for corporate social responsibility. All of these transformations can make

focus on food safety

Just two years after the devastating tomato outbreak at Sheetz, other retailers have benefited from the hard lesson. Any convenience retailer heavily invested in foodservice has to admit their heart dropped when wordspread about the tomato epidemic at Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc. A salmonella-tainted shipment of tomatoesled to 400 people getting sick in July 2004,

the 5 firsts of hourly employee retention

With the labor pool shrinking sources of new hourly recruits are drying up. First impressions are lasting. Newly hired, hourly employees are not. Before they’ve been on the job just six months, more than 50% are gone. Some were probably not a good fit for the job in the first place, but some productive, dependable,

whats selling a view from the customers

CSD conducts customer surveys on isotonics and energy drinks in markets across the U.S. The growth of bottled waterhas been well documented, butdata shows energy drinks and isotonics are growing at comparable oreven faster rates. What’s even moreimpressive is that all three of these categories have wide-ranging appeal thatcross gender lines and attract customersof all

cashing in

Putting flow first fuels success. In a fiercely competitive world where declining fuelmargins are forcing companies to find new ways toincrease the bottom line, can small and mid-sizedconvenience store chains stay ahead of the game? According to Jeff Morris, president and CEO of Alon USA, theycan—provided they manage cash and credit wisely, make a pointof

sheetz continues reinventing convenience

First to market in Pennsylvania with the convenience restaurant and E-85 fuel, the chain predicts strong growth in the coming years. When it comes to delivering quality and value,few chains are as highly regarded as SheetzInc. The Altoona, Pa.-based chain has longbeen admired for its superiority in innovationand its diligent commitment to consumer satisfaction. It’s

pick a card any card

Jupiter Research claims that 75% of consumers are card-carrying members of one loyalty program or another. It seems like you can’t buy anything now without bumping into anoffer to join some type of consumer loyalty club. Retailers havelong adopted loyalty programs as a method of getting more salesout of their customers. Whether they “live” offline

beers back

Study signals strong 2007 Super Bowl sales. The primacy of beer—temporarily lost when Gallup’s2005 poll of alcohol sales and drinking habits showedwine sales ahead of beer for the first time—has beenrestored. The 2006 Gallup poll, released in late July, showedthat brew is back as the top alcoholic beverage in both volume and dollar sales. Forty-one

unlimited potential

By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor While everyone talks a big game about livingand eating healthier, Don Hamberger knowsthat consumers still love to treat themselves.Candy represents the fourth most profitablecategory at La Platta, Md.-based Dash In Food Stores, behindcigarettes, foodservice and coffee. Confections are up 3.5%from last year, on top of 6% the year before, and

valero named convenience store decisions chain of the year

San Antonio-based marketer to be honored at an awards reception Oct. 9 in Las Vegas. Continuing a tradition it began in1990, Convenience Store Decisionsis proud to announce Valero EnergyCorp., as its 2006 Convenience StoreChain of Year. Valero, which will be honored at aawards reception Oct. 9 in Las Vegas during the National Association ofConvenience Stores

is hedging right for you

Minimizing risk is key to maximizing fuel profitability. The post-Hurricane Katrina era is presenting a flood of challenges for uneasy marketers at the most inopportune time. Competition from multiple retail channels has never been greater, credit card fees are eating away store profits and fuel supply is being called into question forcing pump prices to

southwest georgia oil targets new markets

New Sun Stop prototype appeals to women, elderly shoppers. Getting more stores and giving better customer service are two tried-and-true ways to boost c-store profits, so when Southwest Georgia Oil Co. (SWGO) decided to grow its business, both tactics made the short list. But a third—and much less conventional—approach seems to be working even better:

how to buy a reachin refrigerator

It can easily be argued that refrigerators are the most critical piece of equipment in your kitchen. No matter what type of foodservice operation you run, you need refrigeration. Keeping food at the proper temperature without using too much energy is essential to food quality, food safety and your bottom line. Before you buy, there

valero finds cool comfort in follett valero finds cool comfort in follett

Valero found a solution for its stores ice situations while uncovering an invaluable tool for relieving hurricane stricken refineries It would have been hard to predict how fortuitous the meeting of Valero Energy Corp. and Follett Inc. would be after the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) conference in New Orleans a few

ice cold profits

Finding the right ice machine can turn the dispensed beverage business into one red-hot category. Ice and ice delivery is a vital part of a convenience and/or gas store’s inventory. Whether it’s used to complement selfserve beverage systems, for sale as bagged ice or within the store for icing down beverages and food displays, ice

welcome to the neighborhood

Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes knows how to make an entrance. Just before it opened its Taft Road location—the 85th store in the chain and the fifth ground-up location with the new store design introduced more than a year ago—store personnel visited about 125 local businesses with “welcome baskets.” “We got a list

wawa turns to merrychef

With its focus on meeting the demand for quick, quality foodservice solutions, the Pennsylvania retailer enlisted the help of Merrychef’s accelerated cooking ovens. Being one of the top foodservice providers in the convenience store industry requires more than a commitment from foodservice managers and store personnel. It demands vision, innovation and, perhaps most importantly, the

jaded in new jersey

As New Jersey faces its fourth excise tax increase in four years, retailers are watching their dwindling tobacco sales head across state lines. Every state has its own issues to deal with, but it seems that New Jersey has been dealt a particularly difficult hand. “New Jersey is a difficult state for convenience stores to

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