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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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Regulators Chew on Cigars

While federal officials weigh new standards for the tobacco industry, retailers hope cigar sales don’t go up in smoke. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a big step towards regulating other tobacco products (OTP), including cigars, by proposing to assert deeming regulations under the 2009 Family Smoking

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Employing a Special Workforce

In following through with its unique hiring policy, VERC Enterprises has positively impacted surrounding communities. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Most convenience stores strive diligently to create a working environment where employees feel wanted and useful. VERC Enterprises Inc. has taken that page and written its own book, which began more than a dozen years

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Wawa Celebrates 50 Years of Retail Excellence

From loyal customers to prominent politicians, the community joined together in Philadelphia last month to commemorate the landmark anniversary for one of the convenience store industry’s most iconic brands. By John Lofstock and Erin Rigik While many retail brands these days tend to focus solely on the bottom line, Wawa serves as a reminder that

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New Rules For Repair Costs

Convenience store operators could be in line for tax deductions for building repairs and property depreciation. By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor Since the inception of the Internal Revenue Code, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and convenience store businesses have been at odds over whether expenditures made are currently deductible or whether they must be capitalized

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Are C-Store Customers Ready For Ethnic Foods?

As the “foodie” culture skyrockets in the U.S., convenience stores are looking for innovative ways to implement new retail trends. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Ethnic foods and flavors are booming in popularity, but are your convenience store customers ready for these exotic and trendy tastes? According to the market research firm Mintel Group, some

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Getting Gum Back on Track

While it’s still an important category in convenience stores, the bubble has burst on gum sales over the past two years. The good news is manufacturers are doubling down on their efforts to grow the category with new products and better pricing. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Gum continues to prove something of an enigma

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Snacks Remain A Mainstay

Salty snacks again are grabbing a lion’s share of c-store snack sales, but healthier offerings are making noise. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Convenience stores represent five times their fair share when it comes to grab-and-go snacking occasions, beating out grocery stores and even discount stores, according to a 2013 study by market research firm

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Disaster Preparedness Spares Business Losses

From power outages to natural disasters, stores with a disaster preparation plan, including generators to keep the lights on and the fuel flowing, fare much better than those who are unprepared. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor At Dion’s Quik Marts in south Florida, May marks the beginning of annual hurricane preparation month, where all 12

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Weighing Financial Services

Whether it’s check cashing or the latest mobile wallet technology, providing customers with useful financial offerings can help your bottom line. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Cash makes up nearly 29% of U.S. consumer transactions per year, or about $1.2 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Among those transactions last year were a lot of

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Aligning Loyalty Programs

There’s a simplified approach to loyalty that offers a good fit for today’s convenience customer. By David Bishop, Contributing Editor. Retail loyalty programs take various forms, ranging from the simple paper punch card to sophisticated shopper cards linked to purchases. While technology has evolved over the years, customer loyalty strategies continue to focus on engaging,

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Chocolate: Sweet Returns

Finding out what confectionery products your customers will gobble up in 2014 can be a recipe for more sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor You don’t need to be Willy Wonka to know that chocolate candy is a sweet product in terms of generating impulse sales. The National Confectioners Association (NCA) recently reported that the

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Battle for Breakfast Heats Up

The competition for the $46.5 billion breakfast business is at a fever pitch with retail giants from McDonald’s and Taco Bell to Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts rolling out sandwich interpretations to steal new morning business. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Quick-service restaurants are hitting all of today’s consumers’ hot buttons with their latest breakfast offerings.

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The Prepaid Category Continues to Evolve

Whether open and closed loop prepaid cards are a significant profit generator or just an important convenience customers expect to find in their c-store, virtual gift cards are changing the category for retailers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor The prepaid category is changing. Of the amount of gift cards sold in terms of dollars loaded,

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