SHEETZ

The 2014 Social Media Awards

Convenience Store Decisions’ second annual look at the convenience store chains doing a superior job of connecting with their customers through social media. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Convenience Store Decisions, with help from Wildfire by Google, examined the nearly 60 convenience store and petroleum chains that are most active on social media, specifically examining

A Partner with a Purpose

At a time when most Big Oil companies are exiting the retail business, Phillips 66 is stepping up with a host of new programs to help make its branded retailers more profitable. By John Lofstock, Editor The convenience store and petroleum industry has transformed dramatically over the past decade, but no change has been as

CSTBRANDSOUTFRONT

CST Brands’ Kim Bowers Rings NYSE Opening Bell

Recently spun off from Valero, the convenience store chain has big plans for 2014. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor CST Brands, which spun off from Valero last May, became the second-largest publicly-traded convenience store and petroleum retailer in North America.To celebrate, executives from CST Brands, parent company of the San Antonio-based Corner Store c-store chain,

cigarettes

Taxation Taking a Toll on Cigarettes

Mounting restrictions on the retail sale of tobacco continues to plague this core convenience store category. By John Lofstock, Editor Long a staple of the convenience store industry, cigarettes remain a category in crisis. The rise of e-cigarettes and a never-ending spate of federal, state and local regulations have taken a toll on this once

Social-Media-Strategy

Is Your Company Posting with a Plan?

Retail businesses need a structured road map to manage successful social media programs. Social media strategy consultant Neal Schaffer shares 11 essential components all social media strategies should include. By John Lofstock, Editor Many company leaders understand that in order to survive in today’s business world, their companies must have a social media presence. But

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Healthy Fare Drives Roller Grill Flair

To keep up with the ever-changing tastes of a wide-variety of palates the roller grill is becoming more important than ever for driving sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor When it comes to foodservice, convenience store operators often find themselves wedged unfairly between a rock and a hard place. Consumers want to indulge in food

Tax On Beer Considered To Help Pay For Health Care

Crafting a Winning Beer Strategy

While the economic downturn has affected consumer spending across many sectors, craft and craft-style beers are defying recessionary trends with an impressive upward trajectory.By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Keeping tabs on ever-changing consumer preferences is part of the day-to-day routine for convenience store retailers. And when it comes to beer, preferences change from store to

Energy

The Energy Category Maintains Vitality

Two-ounce shot and can sales have been on an upward growth trajectory since 2010 and with the economy improving the category is expected to continue on this positive growth path.     By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Despite speculation that the energy category would bottom out, the drinks, shots and mixes that perk up fatigued consumers

Italian Meats Pizza

Premium Toppings, Pairings Boost Pizza Sales

Customizable options and combo opportunities are creating exciting new options across the foodservice category. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Pizza remains among one of the most demanded foodservice options anywhere in the country. But it’s also one of the most competitive menu options. Customers are demanding high quality toppings and more exciting varieties in their

Surveillance Camera And Young Man In Hooded Sweatshirt

Safe and Secure in the Convenience Store

Prominently placed security cameras can help deter potential thieves and identify those who do steal. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Thanks to the Internet, store operators concerned about shrink, shortage and safety now have the ability to videotape all in-store activities, plus monitor their outlets in real time from virtually anywhere in the world using

flexfuel

Alternative Fuels Gaining Traction

While sales are increasing, the overall market share remains dwarfed by gasoline. By Brian L. Milne, Energy Editor, Schneider Electric U.S. vehicle sales in November 2013 at 1.243 million were at a 10-year high for a November, according to Edmunds.com, the car people. And, WardsAuto.com, which tracks global auto sales and trends, in December said

meatsnacks

Opportunities Abound in Meat Snacks

Mintel forecasts sales will top $1.3 billion by the end of 2015. By John Lofstock, Editor Estimates from Chicago-based Mintel Group, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey and other data, project solid growth for meaty snacks all the way through at least 2015, when they should top $1.3 billion. The research

Sunoco A Plus Bristol PA-88-cet

A Look Forward at 2014 Trends

Fuel price volatility and industry consolidation will continue to affect the convenience store and petroleum industry over the next 12 months. By David Zahn, Contributing Editor The past year was full of surprises. The much hyped hurricane season didn’t live up to its billing, and gas prices that seemed to rise for months plummeted in

slovacek

Slovacek’s Captures the Heart of Texas

This company’s latest convenience store celebrates the local Czech heritage and wows customers with unique features from a dog park to an upscale meat market. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Slovacek’s, a sausage company turned c-store, celebrated the grand opening of its newest location in West, Texas. At a whopping 22,000 square feet, the convenience

sandwich

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.

Mapco-Cross-Plains-3-crop

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

barefoot

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

credit

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),

energy

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

tobacco

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

beef-jerky

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

Coffee-Mug-Words

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

grabNgo

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

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