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Profile of Today’s C-Store Customer

A nationwide survey conducted by Convenience Store Decisions and Study Hall Research examines the impact the fuel offering is having on customers’ perceptions of convenience store foodservice programs. By Joshua Tahan, Study Hall Research and John Lofstock, Convenience Store Decisions Foodservice is a key area of opportunity for convenience stores. As revenues from gasoline and

Pushing the Limits of Foodservice

Sandwiches are usually the first taste consumers get of your foodservice program, so it had better be love at first bite. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. It was a true David and Goliath moment when Altoona-Pa.-based Sheetz, with 437 locations in six states, recently blocked a bid by Subway, the world’s largest fast food chain

Burning Issues for 2014

From developing a greater marketing presence with mobile apps and refining your fresh food focus to dealing with Obamacare, c-stores are facing a challenging 12 months. By Erin Rigik and Marilyn Odesser-Torpey. The retail market continues evolving at a rapid pace as 2013 proved to be a breakthrough year for the rise of  mobile technology.

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MAPCO Takes Rewards to the Next Level

The convenience store chain has partnered with ShareMeister to allow charitable giving. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Loyalty has become a way of life for convenience stores and MAPCO has the technology covered. The Tennessee-based convenience store chain is moving its My Rewards loyalty program to a more local, personal level for its customers through

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Becoming A Wine Destination

C-stores have a huge opportunity to delve into the wine category, which continues to grow in popularity. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Year after year, the wine category continues to show strong growth as a result of innovative new products, premium price segments and flavor innovation. These new flavor trends and surging interest are positioning

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Security is an Everyday Business Practice

From PCI compliance to loyalty programs, ensuring customers that their private information is secure is essential in gaining their trust. But the rules keep changing so retailers need to stay focused to remain in compliance with current security standards. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In November, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC),

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Energizing Product Sales

An increasingly competitive market for “energy-boosting” products continues to propel energy shot sales. As such, overall growth of energy drinks and shots has been influenced positively by new product launches and expanded retail distribution. By John Lofstock, Editor. Convenience stores are increasingly becoming known as the place to purchase energy shots. The industry now accounts

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OTP Sales Remain Strong

Smokeless tobacco products have become increasingly important to the U.S. tobacco industry, which is seeking to push more of these products as Americans smoke fewer cigarettes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With traditional cigarettes under fire on several fronts, convenience store retailers rightly view smokeless tobacco as an important part of the future of their

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Enhancing Meat Snack Sales

As customers continue to crave variety and new taste profiles, meat snacks manufacturers are staying on their toes, and providing c-stores with a range of new options to keep shoppers coming back for more. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. When Americans want to snack, nothing holds them back. Time constraints paired with consumer demand for

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Courting Coffee Customers

Updated equipment, a sizeable counter area and multiple brew flavors can help position your chain as a coffee destination. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The competition for coffee customers continues to brew among the various channels, with convenience stores feeling increased pressure from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and numerous QSRs—even Walgreens’ new superstore prototype in Chicago

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Winning the Fresh Foodservice Battle

Busy Americans are increasingly going the grab-and-go route for lunch and dinner solutions. But even the most time-starved consumers have definite standards about what foods they will choose. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Grab and go is a close to $13 million category, with everyone from quick-service restaurants to pharmacies competing for share of stomach

Flash Foods Embraces Mobile Payments

The Georgia convenience store chain is implementing the latest technology trends to enhance the customer experience across its entire 172-store chain. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Flash Foods is embracing new technology to benefit customers and corporate initiatives alike. At the end of October, the Waycross, Ga.-based c-store chain, with 172 locations in Georgia and

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Preparing for Industry Challenges

Steve Loehr, vice president of operations support for Kwik Trip and the current NACS vice chairman and treasurer, shares his insights on the issues affecting convenience retailers. By John Lofstock, Editor. The convenience store industry continues to evolve, becoming a bigger part of the American consumers’ daily lives. In 2012, the industry achieved record sales

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Managing Your Workforce

Labor scheduling can be a complex, time-consuming and tedious task, but if it’s not done right it can be costly, in terms of wasted money and lost customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Managing labor hours is just one of a handful challenges human resources managers face every day and St. Joe Petroleum is no

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Maverik Celebrated as CSD’s 2013 Chain of the Year

The Utah marketer honored for its unique adventure culture, an ongoing commitment to employees and its service-first mantra for delivering a memorable shopping experience.By John Lofstock, Editor. There are many common characteristics that comprise Convenience Store Decisions’ Chain of the Year winners. They are retail leaders, innovative marketers, committed to employees and completely driven by

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Keeping Your Customers Connected with WiFi

With the proliferation of Smartphones, iPads and laptops, now more than ever your “always on” customers expect wireless Internet access where they go.By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In 1993 when Brett Stewart was speaking to top technology gurus at a conference in San Francisco, he predicted that the world would eventually enjoy the benefits of

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Bolla Conquers the Big Apple

In a market that has traditionally been difficult for c-stores, Bolla Oil is thriving with an upscale new store design, a strong foodservice program and an impressive real estate portfolio. By John Lofstock, Editor. Surviving in New York’s cutthroat retail environment is difficult. But for Harry Singh (pictured above), failing to succeed was never an

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Boosting Revenues with Prepaid Cards

The total dollars loaded into the prepaid category will climb to $672 billion over the next three years, according to Mercator Advisory Group, with convenience stores in particular the fastest growing segment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The open-loop prepaid card market has been growing, driven by the cash-access and government categories. But as with

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Navigating a Crowded Cold Vault

Energy drinks are boosting packaged beverage sales, while healthier drink options continue to show promise. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Packaged beverages are a key driver for convenience stores and an area where they excel in relation to other channels. In fact, according to NACS State of the Industry (SOI) data, packaged beverages almost caught

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Building Your Cigar Business

Despite a demand from adult consumers, retailers are continually forced to defend their right to sell flavored cigars responsibly. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Lawmakers in Washington, DC, and in all 50 states are eyeing cigars and, to a lesser degree, electronic cigars, not only as potential sources of additional revenue but, in many cases,

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Take Restrooms from Good to Great

Convenience store operators pushing a foodservice program must be committed to store cleanliness and sanitation. By John Lofstock, Editor. A new national survey revealed that 63% of Americans have had a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities. That’s bad news for operators looking to grow foodservice sales.

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Tapping into Craft Beer

With customer demand growing for upscale brews, a growler program is one way to expand your craft beer segment. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. As the craft beer trend grows, convenience stores are capitalizing on consumer demand for emerging local and seasonal brews by growing their craft beer sections and, in some cases, adding a

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Speeding Through the Breakfast Zone

Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and value pricing when it comes to a breakfast program. How competitive is your morning offering? By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Everyone knows that breakfast is important. Over the years, research has shown that adults who eat breakfast are generally healthier, weigh less and have a reduced

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Diversifying the Foodservice Offering

Taking steps to promote innovative products and value pricing can elevate the whole roller grill experience to drive new sales.  By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience store operators looking to spice up their roller grill offerings have more tools at their disposal than ever before, including the weather, as autumn spurs consumers to seek hot,

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Baron-Huot Oil Calls it Quits on Retail

Illinois chain exits the c-store business after a rich 102-year history in retail with the sale of its 10 stores to Alimentation Couche-Tard. It will focus on its wholesale business. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. What started in 1911 with Elzie Huot selling kerosene from a horse and buggy and grew to a fourth-generation, 10-store

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