the rise of a retail powerhouse

In less than a decade, Valero has grown into the largest refiner in North America and assembled one of the most recognized retail brands in the industry. In retail circles, ask anyone to name the leading fuel distributors in their markets. In previous years, you would have heard names like Citgo and Texaco. Not so

image is everything

There are few things I enjoy more than hitting the road to watch retailers in action. That's why I was particularly pleased by Chevron's invitation to spend a few days at company headquarters in lovely San Ramon, Calif., to learn all about its 2006 Image Refresh program. The operations team, Shariq Yosufzai, president of Chevron

playmaker

Mark Redding may have had to say goodbye to his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, but he's been a playmaker in the convenience channel for years now. He got his first taste of the industry when he accepted a position as a route merchandiser for McLane Grocery Distributors in 1983. From there, Redding

wawa focused on the future

Known for its fresh food and friendly service, the Pennsylvania chain is fast becoming a top fuel marketer in the mid-Atlantic. Though a regional operator with 556 sites in five mid-Atlantic states, Wawa’s reputation as a top operator spreads from coast to coast. The stores are noted for their freshly prepared hoagies, coffee, competitively priced

minimizing workplace injuries

Working with insurance companies, many convenience store chains are reducing accidents and other losses, while reaping savings on insurance costs. On days when rain or snow is forecast for the Texas panhandle region, the managers of all 66 Toot ‘n Totum convenience stores receive early-morning e-mails reminding them to put out “wet floor” signs, mop

turning around turnover

Hiring the right employees from the get-go. By David Hyatt, Contributing Editor When turnover is reduced and retention is the norm, retail businesses thrive.If an operator can find a sure-fire way to identify job applicants who are ableto do the job and actually be happy on the job, many later attempts at increasingstaff retention will

retailers embrace floridas generator law

Hurricane havoc forces mandate for backup power at gas stations, and other states may adopt similar legislation. By Joe Bahnatka, Contributing Editor After a hurricane sweeps across Florida, the state wants to keep gas pumps as busy as a department store on Black Friday. Keeping nozzles in gas tanks, however, requires electricity, which often times

electricity name your price

Between lighting, refrigeration and heating and air conditioning, retailersuse an average of 62 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, accordingto the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coupled with the skyrocketingprice of natural gas and historically high summer demands, electric costs takean even larger bite of c-store owners’ operational costs. Most chains have already implemented the

fuel discounts simply irresistible

Loyalty programs are cultivating a new breed of price-conscious consumers. As long as gasoline prices remain high, consumers will be attracted to fuel discounts. That’s the common sense that led retailers to create customer loyalty programs in which fuel discounts are the prize, instead of the more customary prizes like airline travel or cash back.

grassroots marketing for convenience retailers

Local marketing programs can boost store traffic without adding any operational costs. One of the most overlooked promotional opportunities for convenience retailersis a well-planned grassroots marketing program. It’s easy to get excited abouta new trade area in the early stages of your grand opening, but it’s anotherthing to instill this excitement some two years later.

know whos buying tobacco

Sales to minors are needlessly costing retailers thousands in fines, and some are facing the loss of their tobacco license. State and local governments, under the guise of public safety, are continuing to pursue “sting” operations to identify irresponsible convenience store clerks that are selling tobacco products to minors. While safety, I’m sure, is part

automated hourly hiring systems

Remember “Blast from the Past,” the 1999 film starring Brendan Fraser? After a nuclear war scare in the 1960s, young Brendan lives in the family bomb shelter with his mom and dad for 30 years. When he finally ventures out into Los Angeles for food and a ” nonmutant” wife, it becomes a hilarious “fish

whats selling a view from the customers part ii

CSD conducts exit polls and consumer surveys at the point of sale to find out what customers want when it comes to bottled water. Retailers concerned about slow sales growth or stagnant fuel margins can expect a boost from bottled water as analysts and consumers alike expect water sales to continue flowing for at least

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

understanding the petroleum market

Opportunities exist to capture fuel acquisition cost-savings, but do you know what they are? By Brian L. Milne, Contributing Editor Downstream fuel buyers face unprecedentedchallenges in high levels of priceand supply volatility with their fuel buying Opportunities to capture acquisition cost-savings and maximize profit can be lost seconds in up-and-down markets. More than ever, the

publix sabor instores uncover broad audience

Competitive Watch: Publix Super Markets’ new store format is targeted to Hispanics, but its bakeries’ top quality products and extensive selection bring fans from beyond their niche. By narrowing its focus, Publix Super Markets (Lakeland, Fla.) found its demandactually grew. Its new Hispanic format, Publix Sabor, demonstrates that consumerpreference for fresh, quality foods, particularly in

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

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