socialmedia

Defining Social Media Success

More and more convenience store chains are adopting interactive promotions to attract friends and fans and establish a longer-term relationship. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Today’s customers are more connected into the digital world than ever and to communicate with them effectively, convenience store operators must have a visible presence on social media sites. Savvy

walgreens

Warning: Encroachers Encroaching

The competitive landscape is changing again as drug stores, such as Walgreens and Duane Reade, and even furniture stores are beginning to feature foodservice, and dollar stores are selling snacks, cigarettes and beer. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. It seems that everybody wants to be a convenience store these days. Walgreens has 10 and growing

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Del Monte Fresh ‘Find Your Inner Chef’ Contest

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Proprietary

Finding Your Foodservice Niche

From proprietary programs and co-branded QSRs to no-fee, turnkey foodservice solutions, c-stores have a wide variety of program options right at their fingertips. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Having been part of his family’s restaurant for 20 years, David Deddens knows what it takes to build a foodservice brand. That’s one of the reasons the

Sandwich

Sandwich Programs on a Roll

Last year, the sandwich category was worth $27.7 billion, up 6.3% from 2011, according to Technomic. Retailers are optimistic that 2013 will be even stronger. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. With their in-store kitchens already producing made-from-scratch pizza and cake doughnuts, it was a natural progression for Casey’s General Store locations to expand into made-to-order

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Carpenter Leads a Busy NACS Agenda

Chairman Dave Carpenter promotes advocacy as the industry continues to battle swipe fees, fuel standards and increased competition in the year ahead.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 of $700.3 billion, according to the

fuelpumpingLARGE

Seven Tricks to Buying Fuel Cheaper

Knowledge, persistence and hard work can yield an impressive cost-savings on your diesel and gasoline buying practices.By Betsi Bixby, Meridian Associates Inc. Two marketers were at a meeting. The speaker was talking about negotiating better fuel prices. One older marketer, head of a company in business for more that 60 years, commented that the speaker

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Energy Products Stimulating Store Sales

Though they come in small bottles, liquid energy shots continue to deliver a big sales punch on convenience store counters. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Despite widely publicized health concerns about some of the ingredients in energy drinks, Bob Falkenberg founder of Alpharetta, Ga.-based BeveragePulse.com research firm, said he expects sales to continue to increase

MeatSnacks

Meat Snacks Get Creative

From extra spicy to turkey or bacon based, today’s meat snacks are offering the variety customers crave. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. 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

slurpee

Strong Growth for Frozen Dispensed Beverages

Consumer demand is surging as operators continue appealing to new audiences with new flavors and product innovations. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Everyone agrees that frozen beverage sales are strong and the outlook for the category remains extremely positive for the next few years. For 2012, the NACS State of the Industry report found that

QT

The Force is Strong with QuikTrip

New Market Force study anoints QT the top rated c-store chain for cleanliness, friendliness and food quality. By Erin Rigik, associate editor. QuikTrip, with 662 stores in 11 states, was voted the most popular convenience store chain, according to a new study by Market Force Information, beating out 7,600 study participants. Convenience store chains Wawa,

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Embracing Energy Efficient Solutions

Whether it’s installing LED lighting or partnering with a local utility, retailers have a wide assortment of new opportunities to maximize efficiencies for less. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.Adding energy efficient features to convenience stores has numerous benefits from power bill and maintenance savings to the ability to market to today’s more eco-conscious consumer. If

SNACKS

A Renewed Interest in Salty Snacks

Emphasizing snacks throughout the day as a meal replacement or an afternoon treat is driving sales across all age groups. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The past year was a strong one for nuts, seeds, crackers, pretzels, popcorn and trail mixes, according to convenience store sales data from SymphonyIRI. The largest of these subcategories, nuts,

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A Retail Oasis

Zarco 66 takes its convenience stores to the next level with technological advancements and a topnotch foodservice program.  By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels doesn’t consider itself just a typical convenience store chain. In today’s hypercompetitive retail environment, it has to be much more.“We’re not in the c-store business anymore, we’re

e-cig

Who’s Minding the E-Cigarette Industry?

By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor and John Lofstock, Editor. Should electronic tobacco devices be regulated as tobacco products or are they something completely different? Four new trade associations with varying opinions and agendas guide this booming category. With 3.5 million e-cigarette users and an estimated $1 billion in smoke-free alternative sales, this up-and-coming industry continues

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E-Cigarettes Come of Age

With Big Tobacco now in the game, electronic tobacco products are poised to take an enormous leap forward. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While some view electronic cigarettes as a threat to the cigarette industry, others see them as a lifeboat of sorts, providing smokers who don’t want to or can’t smoke cigarettes anymore—for a

cigarette

Cigarettes Still King

While electronic tobacco products and OTP have experienced sales gains, cigarette sales in convenience stores still accounted for more than $54.3 billion in 2012. By John Lofstock, Editor. Cigarettes have long been a staple at convenience stores, accounting for billions in pack and carton sales and boosting the profits from the average smoker’s market basket.

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Succeeding With Cigars

Taxation and legislation could present a rocky road for cigar manufacturers. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Thanks to new flavors and price promotions, cigar sales at convenience stores remain as strong as ever. The cigar category at U.S. convenience stores totaled $2.38 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 21, 2013, up 3.73%, according to

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Accessorizing the Tobacco Section

From lighters to e-cigarette cases, smoking accessories can increase the market basket and drive impulse sales. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. A robust and rotating assortment of tobacco accessories can help solidify your convenience store as a destination for tobacco products, as well as increase interest in the category and grow basket size. While most

Smokeless

Deals Driving Smokeless Sales

Portion pouches and value pricing are injecting new energy into this core tobacco category. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention, smokeless tobacco sales are chugging along with brisk sales.Overall, smokeless sales jumped 6% to $4.93 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 21, 2013, according to SymphonyIRI

NewKumGo2

Retail Improvements with Help From Uncle Sam

The renewed American Taxpayer Act offers some key tax breaks to convenience store retailers through 2013. By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor.The so-called “Fiscal Cliff” tax bill enacted last December, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, renewed important tax breaks used by some c-stores to reduce the out-of-pocket expenditures required to keep their business premises fresh and

family

Is Your Family Fit to Run the Family Business?

For most family 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 Lois Lang, Contributing Editor.Family-owned businesses remain the backbone of the convenience store industry. Many chains have been successfully passed on from

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Bakery Sales Stay Hot All Day

Keep doughnut and other bakery product displays full and fresh beyond breakfast for maximum profit potential.      By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor.When a client asked convenience store consultant Dean Dirks how he could increase his doughnut sales, Dirks gave him one simple piece of advice: “I told him to keep the display filled with

alonwinner

ALON Brands Launches Clean 13

Program spurs consumer loyalty while helping community and inspiring store cleanliness among employees. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. ALON Brands is taking its Clean Team program to the next level with a new customer contest and car giveaways. “All major oil brands are pulling back and getting rid of retail locations and turning toward refining

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Freshness, Quality Key to Attracting Foodservice Customers

Whether you are operating a proprietary program or using a third-party supplier, cardboard sandwiches and pizza just don’t cut it with today’s consumer. Dr. Nancy Caldarola, of NACS CAFÉ, offers tips and trends in this  important foodservice segment. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. The entry price for a low-grade sandwich might be attractive to some

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