Customer

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

Employees

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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Are You Creating a Culture of Exile?

Five warning signs that your employees may lack a vital sense of belonging in your corporate environment. By John Lofstock, Editor. Consider the power of belonging. Adolescents will change their speech, dress and behavior to fit in with their peer groups. Adults, too, gain much of their identity from the neighborhoods they live in, the

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Succession Planning for Family Business

For most family and closely held businesses, planning for succession is the toughest and most critical challenge they face. Yet succession planning can also be a great opportunity to maximize opportunities and create a multi-generational institution. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor. Everyone who has invested a great deal of time, money and energy into

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Demand Grows for HBC

From single-serve cold medicines to hair care products, the health and beauty category is attracting new customers of all ages. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With healthcare capturing so many headlines these days, the health and beauty category (HBC) has taken on added importance in the c-store set. Fueling much of the growth: smaller package

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Mixed Smoke Signals for C-Stores

By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor.Tobacco customers and products are changing. Convenience store retailers must adapt to maintain category sales. It’s no secret that traditional cigarette use is declining. According to Gallup research, about 20% of Americans smoke at least one cigarette each week, which is down from the all-time high of 45% in 1955. Since

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The Convenience Store Decisions Group Acquires Convenience Directions

Deal combines two distinct high-caliber, talented and creative teams to better serve the convenience store and petroleum industry. Harbor Communications, the parent company of The Convenience Store Decisions Group, today announces that it has completed the acquisition of Convenience Directions, an information exchange group headed by venerable convenience store industry experts Joe Leonardo and Randy

Tobacco Legislative Update

Tom Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, discusses the state of e-cigarettes and the local issues affecting tobacco retailing.   By John Lofstock, Editor. Of all the different tobacco legislative bills introduced this year in Congress and state legislatures, two issues stand out, namely higher tobacco taxes and electronic cigarettes. Both issues

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Creating a Rewarding Retail Experience

Paper punch cards are a thing of the past. Today’s loyalty programs incorporate a variety of innovative strategies to persuade customers to spend more time—and money—in your stores. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Sometimes you think you know what your customers want, but you really don’t know until you ask…and listen. That’s what Salt Lake

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Navigating Your Lighting Upgrade

As technology improves, more businesses are making the switch to cost-effective LED fixtures. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. In these days of tight margins and intense retail competition, convenience store owners are doing everything they can to boost revenues and reduce operating costs. Something as simple as investing in upgraded lighting can significantly reduce monthly

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Managing Network Security

To maintain the trust of your customers and to protect your business against liability issues, convenience stores must maintain the integrity of their credit and debit card networks. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Think you can’t find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit for a credit card breach? Think again. Multiple class-action lawsuits have

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Creating Foodservice Theatre

With fresh foodservice taking center stage at many c-stores, packaging is playing an increasingly important role in creating an appetizing presentation. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. In foodservice, packaging used to be an afterthought, simply a vehicle to get the product from here to there. However, today’s food packaging does more than just hold product.

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A Pleasing Pizza Experience

A full 41% of respondents in a recent survey said they now eat pizza at least once a week, up from 26% two years ago, making pizza a $33.5-billion business, according to foodservice research firm Technomic. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Pizza is such a popular item at Casey’s General Store that, in August, the

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Getting Serious About Foodservice Equipment

Space limitations used to be the bane of c-store operators who wanted a professional foodservice program. But now manufacturers are stepping up to the plate with equipment that serves multiple purposes and still fits nicely within the c-store footprint. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Scott Zaremba has three Zarco 66 c-stores that sell made-to-order food,

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PAPCO Expands in the Mid-Atlantic

An acquisition of the Tidewater retail assets of SMO Inc. boosts PAPCO’s store count in southeastern Virginia. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. It’s been a busy fall for petroleum marketer PAPCO Inc., which acquired the Tidewater, Va. retail assets of SMO Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Wills Group in August, and remains poised for

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Recovering from Hurricane Sandy

7-Eleven franchisee Tom El-Dalati lost his flagship store in last year’s superstorm. One year later the struggle to rebuild his business continues . By Dave Hochman, Contributing Editor. Nearly one year ago, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states leaving a stream of destruction and chaos for homes and businesses. Extreme winds, devastating

ENMARK

Enmark Celebrates 50 Years

With a strong commitment to foodservice and customer service, the Savannah, Ga. convenience store chain is preparing to debut its larger-format prototype locations. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Enmark Stations Inc. is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and preparing its business for the next 50, with new larger format stores, remodeled retail graphics and

Cumberland Farms Awards Scholarships

More than 900 students have earned financial awards from the convenience store chain since it launched the Believe and Achieve program seven years ago. Cumberland Farms is awarding a total of $130,000 in Believe and Achieve Scholarships to 130 high school seniors from 11 states to assist them with college fees this fall.  Now in

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Bobby & Steve’s Comes of Age

Fresh off the introduction of its World Class rewards program, the Minnesota chain is expanding its foodservice offering, investing in employee training and bolstering its operations to drive profitability. By John Lofstock, Editor.In an industry where more than 145,000 stores all sell the same items, differentiating your brand and your offering is a challenge. But

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Smokeless Tobacco Earning Extra Display Space

While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention in c-stores, sales of moist smokeless are chugging along. 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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The Rise of Craft Beer at Retail

Craft beer sales have doubled in the past six years and are set to triple by 2017, according to a Mintel report.  By John Lofstock, Editor. 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. Indeed, latest research by Mintel

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