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Trust and a Stronger Bottom Line

C-store retailers can use these pillars of trust to foster loyal teams and organizations.  By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Whether you want more productive employees or better customer loyalty, cultivating trust is the greatest social currency in which to invest. David Horsager, speaker, business strategist, and author of the national bestseller “The Trust Edge: How

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Enhancing Social Media Skills

When customers give feedback, it’s a chance for your brand to craft your brand image and gain customers through your response. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Social media wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen in 1990, but today it has become a vital tool in reaching customers and communicating promotions as well as

Hackers behind TARGET data breach are looking for crackers to decrypt Credit card PINs

Don’t be a Target for Hackers

Following a breach at Target and a host of other incidents, retailers are seeking security solutions despite being PCI compliant. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor The business world was stunned —and consumers outraged—when retail giant Target, with almost 2,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, admitted to a major security breach in late 2013. According

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Lower Cost Lighting

When considering an operational upgrade, cost of ownership is a key factor. Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Efficiency upgrades to lighting, heating and air or other operating systems can lower expenditures for convenience stores in the long run. However, operators should consider more than just start-up costs when choosing which enhancements make the most business sense.

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Energy Drinks All The Buzz

Once a fringe player, the energy drink segment today is a billion-dollar business and according to analysts, there’s still room for growth. By David Bennett, Senior Editor As consumer tastes have shifted, carbonated soft drinks (CSD) top perch within the pantheon of packaged beverages has eroded considerably over the last few years. During that period,

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Dispensed Beverage Evolution

The last 25 years have seen dispensed beverages grow in importance in the convenience store industry. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Dispensed beverages—both cold and frozen—have come a long way since 1990, today constituting one of the primary draws to the c-store and representing a veritable goldmine of profitability. The last two and a half

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Designing a Foodservice Plan

Both proprietary and established-brand foodservice have advantages and challenges. Retailers tell Convenience Store Decisions which they chose and why. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor PS Food Marts had its own proprietary deli program about 20 years ago. They had a great concept and products, but marketing an unknown brand was tough, said Ed Heath, vice

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Winning with a Quality Deli

Giving customers more than they expect is key in building foodservice sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Folks in New York don’t take their deli lightly. So when Harry Singh, president and CEO of Bolla Oil Corp., decided to pilot a “gourmet” deli program in one of his company’s Brooklyn Bolla Market convenience stores in

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Shaping the Future of ATMs

As new technology emerges, retailers are boosting profits in the changing era of financial services. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience stores that offer financial services are perhaps responding to societal changes. But as monetary tools become more modern—especially in the case of ATMs—operators will have to game plan even more to provide customers the

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Convenience Stores and the Last 25 Years

On our silver anniversary, CSD examines the issues, innovations and leaders that have helped shape the convenience store industry. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor. The notion that convenience stores have come a long way since 1990 is an understatement. Twenty-five years ago, the upscale, large format c-stores offering fresh prepared foods and grab-and-go lunches weren’t

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Loyalty is a Retail Game-Changer for Oil Companies

Marketers like Phillips 66 are driving repeat business and cultivating loyal customers through participation in the KickBack Rewards program. By John Lofstock, Editor Difficult economic times are forcing customers to take a hard look at where they can tighten their belts and how they can stretch their hard-earned dollars. To meet their expectations, retailers are

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C-Stores Change with the Times

Whether it’s technology, the workforce, or the weather, the industry has always adapted and moved on. By David Bennett, Senior Editor There are few Years more turbulent in the history of the convenience store industry than 1990. Just prior, the total number of c-stores had peaked at 83,000 in the late 1980s. The market was

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Connecting With Coffee Customers Gets Personal

While some c-stores are adding barista-staffed bars to compete in the coffee arena, most are finding simpler ways to make brew buying a more personalized experience for their customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. With about 11,000 chain and 14,000 independent cafes in the U.S., according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), consumers

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Brewing a Coffee Strategy Pays Dividends

A well-run program can help customers start the day with a smile and bring them back again and again. It can also anchor a breakfast program, serve as a profit center and prove a key point of differentiation—assuming it is done right. Doing it right means starting with top-quality products, having all the condiments and

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VCU Earns C-Store Accolades

After putting a novel spin on an existing theme, Virginia Commonwealth University is named top innovator in 2014’s NACUFS New Store Design competition. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Convenience stores aren’t new to U.S. college campuses. For years, universities have afforded students expedient spaces where they can purchase beverages, snacks and merchandise. However, just like

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Crime Prevention 101

Clear visuals, strict till limits and great customer service are keys to deterring convenience store robberies. Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Robbery occurs less often than some other crimes, but the potential for loss, injury and death is much greater during a single robbery incident, according to the convenience store security guidelines for owners and managers

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Why Customers Choose E-Cigarettes

Electronic cigarette sales are surging. CSD partnered with Study Hall Research to go inside the minds of e-cigarette consumers to learn what motivates their tobacco purchases. By John Lofstock, Editor and Josh Tahan, Study Hall Research The prevalence of electronic cigarette usage amongst the general population is growing and analysts are predicting the category now

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Meeting the Challenge

Aggressive pricing and eliminating product outages are two keys to maintaining cigarette sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Even as the buzz of e-cigarettes continues to grow, traditional cigarettes remain an essential product for the convenience store industry. However with increasing pressures from government and regulators, cigarette sales continue to decline with seemingly no let

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E-Cigarette Sales Are Smoking

Despite proposed FDA rules and looming tax hikes, e-cigarettes remain a breath of fresh air for c-store sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor While the debate on electronic cigarettes is heating up among state and federal officials, convenience stores are pressing forward with broader product offerings, driving e-cigarette sales ever higher. Just ask Mike Gancedo,

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Roller Grill Still Real

Made-to-order may be the current darling of a growing number of c-stores, but a well-run roller grill program is still central to successful fresh foodservice. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor They smell it. They see it. They want it. For most convenience stores, the roller grill is the customers’ first introduction to the store’s fresh

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Smokeless Sales Stay Strong

Smokeless tobacco remains a robust category amid growing e-cigarette performers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As sales continue to lead the other-tobacco-products (OTP) category ahead of cigars and e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco represents a major opportunity for convenience stores going forward. With cigarette volume declining in c-stores and vape shops stealing business with electronic nicotine devices,

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Training Key to Boosting Accessory Sales

Though the category offers high margins and caters to loyal customers, tobacco accessories often go unnoticed by store employees. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Lighters, rolling papers and e-cigarette accessories offer convenience stores the opportunity to upsell customers at the counter. Unfortunately, the large majority of convenience store employees get little to no training when

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Poultry Consumption Soars

With commodity prices of beef and other non-poultry proteins on the rise and consumers wanting healthful choices and variety, chicken continues to grow as a foodservice favorite among c-store operators and their customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor 7-Eleven announced in April that it was beefing up its chicken offerings with the addition of lightly-

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2014 Legislative and FDA Regulatory Update

NATO Executive Director Tom Briant provides insights and analysis on the latest tobacco legislative activity and FDA regulatory actions. By John Lofstock, Editor It has been another tough year for the tobacco industry as legislators at the local, state and federal levels have targeted both tax increases and new smoking regulations on all forms of

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Choosing the Right Foodservice Partner

Want to avoid the deep end of the proprietary food pool? A co-branded relationship with a QSR can keep your operation flowing smoothly. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Today, quality foodservice is a key ingredient in profitable convenience store operations. Just how key? Foodservice accounted for 18% of total c-store sales in 2013, which also

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