Onboarding: The Key to Valued Employee Retention

Branding, corporate identity and corporate image are just a few of the buzzwords the folks in the marketing department use to describe the basic building blocks of a comprehensive business development plan. What these terms have in common is that they’re all about communications. Simply put, as every convenience retailer knows, the world won’t beat

Driving New Profits

Fleet Card Facts There are an estimated 650,000 fleets in the U.S. for a total of nine million vehicles. Currently, fleet cards are the fastest growing segment of MasterCard’s business. Most fleet cards offer valuable and robust reporting/management tools The tools can track mile-per-gallon variances, driving patterns, fuel purchases, calculate various tax exemptions and more.

Creating Loyal Customers

Faced with rapidly escalating costs, cutthroat commodity pricing and broader competition, the time is right for convenience stores to adopt more aggressive loyalty marketing programs that will attract new customers and reward existing ones. For nearly 80 years, loyalty and frequent shopper plans have proven to be highly effective promotional and brand-building tools for businesses

How Rutter’s Stays on Top

There was a time not long ago in this industry when bigger was always thought to be better. Fortunately, the folks at Rutter’s Farm Stores knew better.  With 52 stores in five Pennsylvania counties, Rutter’s focus has never been on reckless expansion simply for the sake of having a larger store count. Rather, its has

Customers Rate Rutter’s No. 1

Rutter’s topped the York Sunday News’ 2008 “Best of York” rankings in six categories, beating out a number of other national brands. Rutter’s took first place in the six categories evaluated by its hometown newspaper, including breakfast, coffee, deli/sub/sandwich, fast food, lunch and milk. York, Pa.-based Rutter’s bested the likes of Cracker Barrel in the

Clearing The Blends

Ethanol, of course, is a high-octane, liquid, domestic and renewable fuel, produced by the fermentation of plant sugars typically produced from corn and other grain products. Ethanol also degrades quickly in water and, therefore, poses much less risk to the environment than an oil or gasoline spill. Not only is ethanol generally less expensive than

Abundance at Bountyland

The U.S. Marine Corps’ Parris Island facility is roughly a five-hour drive southeast from Bountyland Quick Stop’s Westminster, S.C., headquarters.   That said, new suppliers en route to one of Bountyland’s 11 stores might want to drop by the Marine boot camp and let a drill instructor toss them around for a bit. It’ll spare

New Day For PetroSun

A bid from PetroSun Fuel of Seattle bested a slew of bids from other convenience store and petroleum operators who last month were hoping to snatch up the 600 remaining ConocoPhillips c-store and retail gas sites on the West Coast.  PetroSun’s newly created affiliate, Pacific Convenience & Fuel LLC, acquired the sites and joins the

Failure to Clean Keeps Customers Away

Customers at convenience stores and restaurants are far less likely to return if they find restrooms that are unhygienic or poorly stocked with supplies, according to a recently completed national online survey. The survey, sponsored by SCA Tissue North America and conducted online by Harris Interactive among a sample of 2,175 adult U.S. foodservice customers,

Fertile Ground

WILSON FARMS TIMELINE * 1960: Tops Markets is co-founded by Savino Nanula and Armand Castellani. 1969: Tops Markets opens the first Wilson Farms Neighborhood Food store in Tonawanda, N.Y., naming the store after a company-owned farm in Wilson, N.Y. 1978: Wilson Farms expands in N.Y. to Rochester and later to Syracuse. 1980s: Tops Markets is

Condiments: The New Category

Rick Pajak breathed new life into Wilson Farms’ hot and cold dispensed category by treating condiments less as an afterthought and more as a category of its own. “We look at the condiment section as one of the longest stops in the store,” he said. “Why not give them the right space and right opportunity

Green and Envied

Scott Zaremba grew up in the fuel business. As president and CEO of Zarco 66, the petroleum company his father founded in 1968, Zaremba is battle-tested in the trenches and has the scars to prove it. But what motivates this savvy industry veteran every day is the opportunity to push the boundaries of creativity and

Profit$ You Can Bank On

Here in the 21st century, providing c-store customers with financial products and services like money orders, check cashing, ATM access, electronic bill payment and payday loans can be as easy, and as necessary, as selling soda, candy and beer. But it requires a bit more thinking. Convenience store operators are increasingly partnering with providers like

To Boost Sales: Add Helium

Somewhere around elevation 16,000 feet, Kent Couch might have been wondering if he’d bump into the tip of the bar graph charting the rise in credit card interchange fees.   Or maybe he was just too busy enjoying the view. “It’s just a beautiful way to see Oregon,” said Couch, 48, a two-time cluster-balloon flyer

Shell Games

Maybe there’s still a bit of debate on the medical merits of catharsis, but Bobak Bakhtiari could be the man to put the issue to rest. "Does it further ignite aggression?" asked Bakhtiari, a former counselor at a California psychiatric facility who now runs Tanforan Shell, his family’s convenience store and carwash in San Bruno,

Shoppernomics 2.0: The Not-So-Perfect Storm

There’s a host of ingredients contaminating the retail environment these days, with shoppers dogged by rising costs in energy, food and basic necessities. As a result, shopping habits are being radically reshaped in this new and uncertain environment, said Thom Blischok, president of consulting and innovation at Information Resources Inc. (IRI). "We are living in

Alaskan Energy Crisis Solved

Faced with almost six weeks of daylight when the summer solstice hit their town on June 20, residents in Barrow, Alaska, were finally provided an answer to their age-old question: How do you make it through a 1,992-hour day? In honor of the summer solstice, the makers of Jolt Energy drink airlifted 370 cases of

Reshaping the Convenience Landscape

For some marketers and distributors, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s decision to get out of direct-store operations could present the chance of a lifetime; an opportunity to acquire the rights to stores for an entire market, maybe more. For others, the announcement caused immediate fear and panic concerning the long-term viability of their operations and, in some

Prepaid Reaping Financial Rewards

While gift card malls have been getting a lot of attention, prepaid debit, credit, gift and especially gas cards offered by Visa, MasterCard and American Express are quietly booming in popularity. Prepaid’s profit potential is fueled by shifts in the marketplace, wider social acceptance and the nation’s growing population of "unbanked" lower-income consumers. And while

Packaged Beverage Sales Heating Up

New products and flavors, including some with healthier ingredients, are helping soft drinks and teas experience a healthy resurgence in already jammed cold vaults nationwide, even as traditional carbonated soft drinks continue to decline. For operators, keeping tabs on trends and adjusting sets to match ever-changing dynamics remains a full-time job. According to the National

Consumers Rush for Energy

John Scully got started on Red Bull before Red Bull got started on him. Now 41 and working as a mortgage broker in Cleveland, Scully remembers that first sip, taken in a bar in Thailand where he’d backpacked when he was a 20-something college graduate long on adventure and short on money. "You sort of

The Lean Scene

Some are kind of freaked out, and some kind of like the idea. The hardscrabble soda-and-cigarettes crowd, they’re still on the lower hump of the learning curve. "They’re kind of like, ‘Hey dude, where’s my Doritos and cigarettes,’" said Alvaro Garza, co-owner of The Green Spot Market and Fuels on the outskirts of Dallas. But

Get Them Where They Shop

Your store is a great place to advertise. The customer is already there and receptive to making a purchase. You have the ability to control the environment and the number and types of messages you communicate. And today you can choose from more media formats than ever before—everything from simple signage to video and digital

Analyzing Scan Data

Market basket analysis and its offshoot, affinity marketing, continue to follow the usual c-store industry adoption pattern: cautious expansion, mostly among the bigger chains. But the potential payoffs could be enormous. That said, like most new technologies market basket requires commitment at the top, beginning with more expensive software matched with an appropriate point-of-sale (POS)

Creating Loyalty Among Thrifty Customers

Retailers throughout the country are aware that with the current economic downturn, customers are often trying to find the most cost-effective deals. But industry leaders are relying on innovative solutions aimed at getting their customers decent deals while creating brand loyalty. Fuel retailer loyalty programs work similar to loyalty programs in other industries, according to

css.php