FamilyExpress

Planning Efficiency Upgrades

Family Express finds cost savings in a total energy efficiency retrofit. In that light, experts weigh in on how to determine if a conversion is right for your stores. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Family Express Corp. recently completed an aggressive and total energy efficiency upgrade, where it retrofitted its entire fleet of stores with

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Employing Low-Tech Solutions

Employee theft is a routine cause of shrink. Sometimes the best loss prevention solutions are the most basic. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Employee theft is one of the biggest causes of shrink among c-stores, and retailers are combating it with high-tech solutions like high speed video cameras and online monitoring. But as is often

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Uber Upping the Ante

Startup Uber is delivering convenience store goods to wealthy neighborhoods in D.C. Could your town be next? By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Uber, a venture-funded startup and transportation network company that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and rideshare services via a mobile app, is piloting a c-store items delivery service in Washington,

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Rewards for Owning the Building

Understanding what financing options are available can give you a great advantage over your competition. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor How many convenience store retailers have failed to grow or expand their businesses because of a fear of “over-extending” themselves? All too often this fear exists simply because the convenience store operation’s executives and

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Are You Prepared?

With hurricane season approaching, savvy retailers are running drills, installing generators and checking in with repair partners to ensure they’re ready. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes, but foresight is key in protecting your business during storm season. Just ask convenience store retailers on the East Coast. When Hurricane

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Car Washes Can Clean Up

After committing to the upfront costs, convenience stores can wring regular profits from an automatic car wash operation. David Bennett, Senior Editor Gross revenues at convenience stores are affected by a multitude of market forces. Everything from constrained gas prices to tobacco taxes to bank fees can combine to impede cash streams. In fact, there

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The Hub Breaks Ground

New chain aims to be the premier c-store destination in the open expanse of North Dakota. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor It is unprecedented that Convenience Store Decisions would select a Chain to Watch that hasn’t finished constructing its first location, but The Hub Convenience Stores, which is set to open its first travel center

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Rattlers Poised For Growth

The Texas chain is upping its game online while perfecting its own grab-and-go concept. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor With 11 locations in Texas, Rattlers Convenience Stores, is set to renovate one of its earliest stores located near its company headquarters in Navasota, Texas, doubling the location’s size. It’s just one sign the growing chain

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Zarco Debuts Innovative Pump Service

Zarco USA gains sales from fuel customers with touchscreen ordering that allows patrons to order their favorite foods while filing up their tanks. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Scott Zaremba, president of Lawrence, Kan.-based Zarco USA this past May rolled out touchscreen ordering at the pump at one of his nine convenience stores, with plans

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Distribution Models That Deliver

A self-distribution model can cut out the middle man and help your chain save on costs, but is a big capital investment. Partnering with a good distribution provider can be the right course of action, but only if the arrangement brings value to your operation. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Candy, tobacco, drinks, food and

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Deriving Loyalty From Data

Scanned data is putting basket-level insights in the hands of decision makers who can turn this information into strategies that drive profitability. By David Bennett, Senior Editor A customer’s continuing business is no longer guaranteed. Because of that fact, convenience stores strategize more and more on the need to understand their customers better, and to

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Managing Loss Prevention

Shrink comes in all shapes and sizes, but knowing how to identify and remedy these occurrences can enable c-stores to turn losses into gains. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When a convenience store is humming along efficiently, the signs are unmistakable: The coffee is fresh and flowing. People are enjoying prompt foodservice offerings. Motorists are

The multi contact grill recently introduced by Hatco comes with interchangeable plates, including grooved plates to cook
panini and flat plates for cooking a variety of other foods.

Finding the Right Foodservice Gear Helps

Choosing the best equipment can be the difference between a robust foodservice program and a bland one. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor A piece of equipment doesn’t have to be brand new to be considered the most valuable player in a foodservice operation. Take the Lincoln impinger ovens that Fremont, Ohio-based FriendShip Food Stores has

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Cigars Face Uncertain Future

The c-store industry continues to monitor the FDA’s deeming rules regarding cigars and what it means going forward. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor The federal government’s recent decisions concerning tobacco products, specifically cigars, underscore the need for vigilance and involvement on the part of convenience store operators, not just to maintain category sales, but to

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Bolstering Bakery

C-store customers are seeking fresh baked treats for breakfast and snacking occasions. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Savvy retailers are diving into bakery programs to entice morning customers who want sweet treats with their morning coffee, as well as afternoon snackers seeking fresh and indulgent goodies. As both the breakfast daypart and snacking occasions grow

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Meat Snacks Move Ahead

Just as consumers continue to crave meat snacks, savvy convenience store operators are taking full advantage with smart sets, effective merchandising and promotional opportunities. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Twenty-Five years ago, meat snack choices seldom strayed beyond traditional beef jerky. Today, however, spicy and exotic varieties have enlivened the category, even as functional and

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Courting Candy Customers

The sweet news is that sour sells in the non-chocolate confections category. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Overall sales growth for non-chocolate confections topped $10 billion last year, a 3.6% increase over the year before, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA). Sales per capita grew from the year prior by 1.9% to $32.44 per

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Kentucky Town Fuels Debate

In an effort to balance fuel prices for local motorists, officials in the city of Somerset, Ky. have gone into the gas business despite complaints from area retailers. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Consumers frequently voice their displeasure over high gasoline costs but often find themselves over a barrel because they don’t have the means

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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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