What’s your “WOW” Factor?

A retailer needs three elements to deliver great service: a warm welcome, a magic moment and a fond farewell. These elements are fundamental for companies like Ritz Carlton and Disney, as well as the growing chain of Waffle House restaurants. Disney, of course, has been a leader in customer service for decades, having more or less

The New Face of Convenience

The late Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s once said, “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” Well, the folks at Rutter’s must be drenched.  Fresh off the launch of its convenience store prototype in York, Pa., the executive team at Rutter’s, Scott Hartman, Jeff Leedy and Jerry Weiner,

The Wild Ride Continues

As if industry operators didn’t have enough to worry about, ExxonMobil dealers were greeted with the news that the Irving, Texas oil giant decided to exit direct-store operations by divesting 825 company-owned and -operated stations as well as 1,400 stations leased to dealers. This decision thrust those dealers into an anxious state of limbo, an

Fighting Through the Pain

Everybody wants a piece of the action. That was among the key messages my father taught me when he was running his business. Though he only had three pumps and four service bays, there was no shortage of business partners or associates who wanted a cut when times were good, but were nowhere to be

A Call to Arms

Richard Oneslager enjoys a good joke, so he couldn’t help sharing one of his new favorites. "Did you hear the one about the retailer who sat down with Visa to discuss his interchange fees? Of course you didn’t. Visa doesn’t sit down with retailers!" Oneslager, president of Balmar Petroleum and chairman of the National Association

Saluting Supplier Partners

Retailers may be on the front lines every day, but the presence of their supplier partners is palpable. It can be seen and felt in the marketing and merchandising found at the store level and in the intricate planograms category managers use to set their stores. To get a better feel for the supplier companies

Another Satisfied Customer

On a recent tour of convenience stores in the Northeast, I came across an outstanding Mobil store in northern Maine. What caught my attention at this particular store was the clerk who immediately greeted me and told me about the store’s foodservice special that day, a homemade Boston chowder. That I was greeted was not

Overcoming Adversity

I’m not much a movie buff, but to prepare for the Super Bowl I set aside a couple of hours to enjoy a big screen classic: Rudy. I’m sure you all know the story of Rudy Ruettiger whose persistence and hard work elevated him to legendary status at Notre Dame. It’s the perfect sports movie

Identifying More Effective Profit-Building Strategies

“In a business like cigars, where unit volume is growing 10% plus year-over-year, emerging strategic thinking in convenience retail suggests that retailers can grow even faster by employing a “price-for-volume” strategy for key products.” David Bishop, partner, Willard Bishop This summer, we examined how convenience retailers could manage the cigar category differently to realize above-market

New Beginnings

I’d like to begin this month by saying I hope each and every one of you had a happy and healthy holiday season.   It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for us at here at Convenience Store Decisions so I want to take a few minutes to give you all a personal update on the

Final Thoughts

“HOW FAR YOU GO in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” That quote from American educator and researcher George Washington Carver has always had special meaning

convenience gets no love still

Despite record sales and a growing number of stores that serve as destinations for millions and millions of American consumers everyday, other retail segments continue to take cheap shots at convenience store owners and operators. Need proof? Did you happen to catch the NapaAuto Parts commercial during the Major LeagueBaseball playoffs? “Experience,” the announcer says,“that’s

feel the power

This is an exciting issue for Convenience StoreDecisions as we unveil our inaugural Power 25, alist of industry pioneers, association executives andlawmakers that are shaping the way the conveniencestore and petroleum industry operates. The Power 25 is an impressive honor because theexecutives and the companies they represent wereselected directly by the hardworking professionals thatmake this

strive for excellence

There are many common characteristics of excellence, but none more important than giving your very best at everything you do. Take Geo. H. Green Oil in Fairburn, Ga., for instance. Last month, GreenOil’s Director of Marketing Jim Callahan launched achain-wide sting operation to see how employees weredoing selling age-restricted products, specifically, alcohol, tobacco and lottery

educating the industry

If there is one thing that can be said aboutConvenience Store Decisions' 2007 FoodserviceShow it's that a great time was had by all. The educational sessions, which featured David Bishop, ofWillard Bishop; Marsha Robbins, of HAACPlus.com;John Matthews, of Gray Cat Enterprises; and MelKleiman, of Humetrics Inc., touched on many of the keypoints retailers needed to

success by design

Convenience stores are now majorplayers in the foodservice business. In a fewshort years, the industry has shattered many of the perception problems that marked its initial forayinto the food business and, if anything, it is driving thecharge toward convenient, fresher foods. Chains like Sheetz, Nice N Easy, Wawa andQuikTrip are all among the innovators being

food for thought

Patience doesn't come easy, but it can haveits rewards. Nowhere is that more evident thanby observing the foodservice programs at Exxon Mobil Corp. and Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes. Bothchains have refined their food segments over severalyears to come up with the right menu to meet the needsof core customers, and that's why Convenience StoreDecisions

a people company

Many companies profess to be all about their customers and employees. Spend anytime at QuikTrip, the subject of this month's cover story, and you'll see its devotion to these two vital retail components is sincere and palpable. I was fortunate enough to spend a day last monthat QuikTrip's headquarters with Mike Thornbrugh, public and governmental

a partner you can trust

Finding the right supplier partners is crucial to convenience store retailers that is only enhanced in this era ofultra competitiveness. That's why Convenience Store Decisions set out to identify the suppliers and manufacturersretailers say are doing the best job meeting their needs as partof our second annual Reader's Choice Awards. The awards are based on

never stop learning

If there is one thing I have learned to become good at inmy personal life and my career it's learning from mymistakes. In one of my recent hockey games, trailinglate in the third period 3-1, I was able to score off a faceoff—a pretty backhand shot off the crossbar—to narrow thedeficit to 3-2. A few

a partner you can trust

In the battle to be the first to market with new products,retailers face fierce competition from other industryoperators and cross-channel marketers. Despite the battle for that share of wallet, chains have come to depend ontheir distributors and wholesalers for the information theyneed to make smart business choices. What is important for convenience store owners toremember

cheers to valero

Let me take you back to a small convenience store in an unassuming San Ramon, Calif. neighborhood. That's where Valero's retail operations began in earnest seven years ago. There was no fanfare, and hardly any press coverage, save for one reporter from New York making the cross-country trip to get the story. In retrospect, I'm

image is everything

There are few things I enjoy more than hitting the road to watch retailers in action. That's why I was particularly pleased by Chevron's invitation to spend a few days at company headquarters in lovely San Ramon, Calif., to learn all about its 2006 Image Refresh program. The operations team, Shariq Yosufzai, president of Chevron

one family many owners

Experts are warning that fuel prices are likely toremain high until January 2007 as demand for petroleum products soars due to market shortages causedby the damaged pipelines out of BP

family affair

Just two months after Convenience Store Decisions was first to announce details of Tesco's foray into the U.S. market, we were able to get an exclusive tour of FamilyMart's operations in Southern California with Shiro (Sho) Inoue, president and CEO of Famima Corp., the Japanese retailer's U.S. subsidiary. Inoue's candid interview, part of our "2006

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