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.

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

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

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