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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

An Electronic Cigarette Is An Anti Smoking Health Device

Smokeless Tobacco Earning Extra Display Space

While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention, moist smokeless sales are chugging along with brisk sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience stores have a significant opportunity to target consumers in overlapping tobacco segments, such as converting cigarette smokers over to moist snuff or cigars. Experts expect this group to increase moist smokeless

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Driving Confectionery Sales With Seasonal Treats

Bite-sized products and king-sized bars are boosting ticket averages, while an influx of seasonal items offers convenience stores new profit potential. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.While single-serve chocolate and other candy remains solid at convenience stores, the industry is missing a big opportunity to capitalize on holiday and seasonal sales.The industry has long ceded this

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Promoting Responsible Tobacco Retailing

The We Card program begins its 18th year with a new program to educate retailers on e-cigarette restrictions. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. The We Card program is now celebrating its 18th year of providing training and educational materials to retailers on state and federal tobacco restrictions. The ubiquitous program is widely recognized by its

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Dissecting the Initial Stages of the M&A Process

A checklist of tips and steps to ensure success for convenience store and petroleum marketers of all sizes. By Mark Radosevich. Sane business people from outside our industry would surely find the daily challenges of petroleum marketers unimaginable, bordering on total lunacy. Layered on top of generally low and inconsistent fuel margins are a litany

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Foodservice Best and Worst Practices

Discipline and accountability are key factors in executing your brand’s message. Have an action plan developed and stay focused on your end result. By Betsi Bixby. The most profitable retail chains we did market business valuations for this year all had one thing in common: great foodservice results. The least profitable chains (and units) either

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Four Ways to Counter the Costs of Disaster

Why do so many businesses fail after disaster? The answer often lies in a failure to understand the true costs of the disaster. By Lucien Canton. Disasters are complex and there are many levels of concern that could affect a business. The most obvious is the physical damage produced by a storm or earthquake. One

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Keeping Your Star Employees

While it seems logical that chains would retain their best workers, here are the top 10 ways the c-store industry gets its best people to quit. By Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics. Now that job security is of prime importance to job seekers nationwide, the industry’s ability to weather this latest economic storm would be an

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Is Your Social Media Strategy Working?

Following seven key steps can help all retailers leverage social media marketing to drive real results.By Natalie Henley. Investing in marketing campaigns can be a nerve-wracking decision for many small- and medium-sized businesses. CEOs and marketing directors know that when you have limited resources, you must be strategic with your budget, and every marketing investment

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E-Cigarettes: A Win for Retail Sales and Public Health

Proving that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes is a relatively new challenge, but numerous studies and scientific research supports the claim. By Gregory Conley. There is no question that electronic cigarettes have become a major disruptive force in the tobacco industry. Every quarter brings new reports that big tobacco companies have experienced larger-than-expected declines

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The Upside of E-Cigarettes

While anti-tobacco lobbyists claim that more studies need to be done on e-cigarettes, they can’t refute science. A single e-cigarette cartridge contains nine tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA) where a single full-flavored cigarette contains about 11,190 or 1,300 times more. By Tom Kiklas. Whenever I hear people ask whether or not electronic cigarettes are safe or

It’s Time to be a Tobacco Advocate

E-cigarette retailers and distributors need to understand and educate the public about the safer tobacco products on the market today. By Lou Maiellano. Something has happened to e-cigarettes. As recently as two years ago as I would visit distributors and retailers, I would be asked by those responsible for purchasing, “I’m thinking about adding an

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Marketing to Hispanic Customers

According to The NPD Group, Hispanics in the U.S. are more likely to purchase groceries, dairy and bread from convenience stores than non-Hispanics. What are you doing to cater to this growing consumer base? By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Marketing to Hispanics is just like marketing to any other ethnic group, which is what can

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Saving Energy Saves Money

Lighting accounts for 20-50% of electricity consumption, reported the Small Business Administration (SBA). And while green initiatives might cost more up front, retailers are finding that they can result in some impressive savings. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Due to continually improving equipment, lighting usually provides the highest return-on-investment of major upgrades, the SBA explained.

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Growing Your Car Wash Business

Location, appearance and service are among the most important factors to consider when building and operating car washes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Getting the most out of a car wash operation is no different than getting the most out of any profit center a convenience store offers to the public. It hinges on two

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Funding Your Business Expansion

The old adage “it takes money to make money” may prove especially true when you’re looking to expand your business. Understanding what sources you should consider for financing will give you a big heads up on your competition. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor. How many convenience store retailers have failed to grow or expand

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Are You an Effective Leader?

For far too many of today’s convenience store executives, finding the time to unwind or take a family vacation is a difficult task. But not making the effort could have a negative impact on the business. By John Lofstock, Editor. Did you know 61% of employed Americans expect to have to do some work while

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Training Employees to Succeed

At first glance, one might think investing in employee training during economically challenging times would be counter-intuitive because it requires a significant monetary investment. The truth is training must be an ongoing priority in any retail business. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Building a sense of teamwork among store employees will make them more productive,

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