the brightest in 2006

For the past 12 months, Convenience Store Decisions has showcased some of the best and brightest category managementdecision makers from across the convenience store and petroleum industry. As 2006 comes to a close and the industry gearsup for what everyone hopes will be a prosperous 2007, CSD takes a look back at some of the

bringing products to market

“New” is a tricky term when it comes to productions in the convenience channel. Tjere are few actual unique product launches along the lines of Red Bull anymore. The majority of new products comes in the form of line extensions of already popular products. While line extensions help to create a buzz in the marketplace,

tomorrows success begins today

The time to create a winning game plan for attracting and retaining top employees is right now. I’ve been talking with two friendsabout the possibility of running theChevron Houston Marathon together this January. We kicked the ideaaround for a couple of months, butdidn’t actually sign up. When I finally checked out the raceinformation online, our

a partner you can trust

In the battle to be the first to market with new products,retailers face fierce competition from other industryoperators and cross-channel marketers. Despite the battle for that share of wallet, chains have come to depend ontheir distributors and wholesalers for the information theyneed to make smart business choices. What is important for convenience store owners toremember

csds tobacco webcast to focus on taxes regulations

Industry experts will come together Nov. 30 to discuss the current state of tobacco and its outlook for 2007. Prior to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, tobacco held a more than 40% share in just about every market in the U.S. Since the agreement, the numbers have slowly faded as regulation and taxation have taken

the spice of life

As foodservice flourishes, Open Pantry is getting its “fare share” by serving up authentic ethnic dishes. Anyone can throw a littleTabasco sauce in meat, wrap itin a tortilla and say they have a Mexican program. It’s another thing tocull an offer after trekking theSouthwest to find the real deal inauthentic flavors and ingredients, whichis exactly

standing out in the crowd

Aided by its partnership with Valero, Fas Mart and Shore Stop stores are thriving in a tough East Coast market. Just a few years ago, Fas Mart was facing financial uncertainty. With 170 stores, the Mechanicsville, Va.-based chain, which also operates Shore Stop stores, was forced into Chapter 11. But what was a difficult period

financing for the future

When examining short- and long-term funding options, experts stress the importance of due diligence. In the summer of 2005, Meridian, Miss.-based DeweeseEnterprises Inc., owner-operator of the Super Stop! convenience store chain, completed a $30 million deal that significantly improved the company’s bottom line. Deweese sold 24Super Stop locations in Mississippi to Realty Income Corp., aNew

cheers to valero

Let me take you back to a small convenience store in an unassuming San Ramon, Calif. neighborhood. That's where Valero's retail operations began in earnest seven years ago. There was no fanfare, and hardly any press coverage, save for one reporter from New York making the cross-country trip to get the story. In retrospect, I'm

what type of marketer are you

Dealer volume has never been more attractive and times have never been better for wholesale marketers considering exiting the industry. I was sitting in my office the other day ruminating that with the recent letter of intent we had just received, I was about to be a man without a jobbership to sell. Fortunately, the

hopping around with valero

It’s no surprise that Valero has made its own dent in the industry. Convenience Store Decisions‘ 2006 Chain of the Year recipient is an American success story. What started as a small company—armed only with some ambition and business savvy—has grown to unfathomable proportions over the past six years. With 18 refineries, a throughput of

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

publishers qa chairman of the board

Bill Greehey discusses the moves that helped put Valero at the head of the refining industry. CSD: In 1997, Valero became focused on acquiring refineries. What made you come to this decision? Greehey: That was always our goal, but it was in 1997 when we changed strategies by selling our pipeline and liquid operations to

cuttingedge

One might think being fired from his first job in the convenience industry may have soured Russ Quick to the channel. Granted, he was 14, sweeping parking lots for a corner gas station and was replaced when the owner's daughter came of age, but still, a man has his pride. Quick dabbled successfully in several

smokeless tobacco review and outlook

Over the last few years, moist smokeless tobacco (MST) has increased in importance to convenience retailers as witnessed by its growing contribution to both in-store dollar sales and gross profits. During the same time period, the Sub-Price/Value (S-P/V) segment rapidly grew, changing the dynamics and strategies associated with MST. As the S-P/V segment began to

a uniform approach to marketing

Enhancing employee image can help operators create a unique niche in the market. After consumers’ positive reactions to its “I’m Lovin’ It” advertising campaign, it was rumored that McDonald’s was in talks with some of the world’s best-known clothing labels&—Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ Sean John line, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Giorgio Armani to name

standing out in the crowd

Aided by its partnership with Valero, Fas Mart and Shore Stop stores are thriving in a tough East Coast market. Just a few years ago, Fas Mart was facing financial uncertainty. With 170 stores, the Mechanicsville, Va.-based chain, which also operates Shore Stop stores, was forced into Chapter 11. But what was a difficult period

a culture of caring

Ask any retailer in the industry what sets them apart—what’s their most valuable asset—and almost everyone will say “our people.” But for San Antonio-based-Valero Energy Corp., it’s more than just lip service. Led by Chairman Bill Greehey, Valero has created a corporate culture that permeates its rank-and-file and makes employees feel like they’re doing more

onsite triage savings are no accident

There’s a clear need for keeping workers’ compensation costs down, but simply reducing benefits is not a practical answer. Human resources, safety and risk managers in the convenience store industry need to consider innovative approaches to improving employee health and safety while containing workers’ compensation costs for the employer. The industry needs healthy employees in

credit relief is past due

The cost some retailers are paying on credit card fees is crippling, but a panel of retailers and industry experts said relief may be on the way. Convenience Store Decisions, with the help of ISD Corp. and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), hosted a Webcast Sept. 19 to discuss the ever-increasing credit card

ultralow sulfur diesel what you need to know

The Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association/Illinois Association of Convenience Stores (IPMA) addresses common misconceptions about ultra-low sulfur diesel. Oct. 15 was a significant milestone in the nation’s transition to Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) 15-ppm sulfur fuel. Prior to Oct. 15, petroleum terminals were permitted to downgrade (to 500-ppm sulfur LSD) as much ULSD as they wanted.

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

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