Lessons Learned from Challenging Year

There’s no doubt that 2009 will go down as one of the most challenging years ever for the convenience store and petroleum industry. Combined with the poor economy that plagued marketers all year, credit card fees and tobacco regulations added fuel to a fire that, quite honestly, was already burning out of control. For this

Grocery Sales Going Up

Signs of the Times Overextended and anxious about the economy, consumers are responding to economic pressures by buying less, borrowing less and paying down credit card debt. The amount Americans owe on credit cards and other consumer loans plunged a record $21.6 billion in July, dimming prospects that the budding economic recovery will extend to

Pennington Prospers with Pizza

Inside the Numbers What do one million personal-size pan pizzas add up to? According to the folks at Hot Stuff Foods, about 550,000 pounds in all. It includes 250,000 pounds of dough, 150,000 pounds of custom blended cheese and 62,500 pounds of sauce, plus the meat toppings and vegetables. One million personal-size pan pizza boxes,

Progressive POS Solutions

Speed of service is crucial, of course, but with all the services that convenience stores offer today communication—between machines—is key. From gas pumps and safes to back-office software and lottery terminals, operators are finding that integrating them with their point-of-sale (POS) systems leads to greater accuracy, efficiency and profitability. Mary Vinson, director of operations for

New Products Keep Food Sales Fresh

Sophisticated customers are demanding foodservice programs that keep the menu fresh by rotating options and adding new products and flavors. Dan Rotherham, director of operations at Feather Petroleum Inc., which operates 18 Stop ‘n Save c-stores in Colorado, has seen firsthand how adding new products and streamlining store menus has helped business. “We strive to

The Power to Turn a Life Around

While this troubled economy lingers, there might never be a better time than right now to increase your efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of your employees. As I reflected on gracious words attributed to a motivational speaker, the late professor Leo Buscaglia, I was both struck by his gentle touch, and

MAPCO’s New Direction

Great stores, outstanding service and a commitment to its people helped MAPCO Express garner Chain of the Year honors in 1996. The company has changed quite a bit since then, but the focus on convenience store operations remains stronger than ever. MAPCO Express, as it exists today, was formed with Delek US Holdings’ acquisition of

Growth, Innovation Propel Kum & Go

It’s been an eventful five decades for Kum & Go, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Entrepreneurs W.A. Krause and T.S. Gentle founded Kum & Go in 1959 under the original name of the Hampton Oil Co., which later changed to Krause Gentle Corp. In the 1970s, the co-founders wanted a name that would

Employee-Owned and Profiting

Huck’s Mission Be the preferred convenience store that is a primary destination for: • Total Customer Focus • Happy, Friendly Owners • Always Fresh, Quality Food and Drinks • No Worries, Quality Fuels at Competitive Prices • Karing for Kids • Squeaky Clean Restrooms In 1960, two friends, Bob Martin and Frank Bayley, formed a

7-Eleven Continues Reinventing Convenience

7-Eleven Inc., the world’s largest operator, franchisor and licensor of convenience stores, was named Chain of the Year in 2005. The stores got their iconic name in the 1940s because they were open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., which was considered extended hours in those days. By the ‘60s, lifestyles were changing, and consumers

Valero Rises to the Top

At a Glance: Valero Energy Corp. Valero operates 16 refineries and seven ethanol plants stretching from California to Canada to the Caribbean. The San Antonio-based operator generated more than $119 billion in revenues in 2008 with total assets of $34.3 billion. Other company highlights include: •Number of Employees: Approximately 22,000 •Refining Throughput Capacity: 3.1 million

Couche-Tard Pushes U.S. Expansion

When Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. was presented with CSD’s Chain of the Year honors in 2007, the company’s smart, strong growth was cited as the foundation for the honor. A little more than two years later and not much has changed. The company is still regarded as one of the savviest marketers in two countries, and

Dual Branding Strategy Drives Chevron

It’s been a challenging couple of years for convenience store operators, marked by wild fuel price fluctuations and exorbitant credit card fees. Despite the adversity, Chevron stood apart as one of the premier industry leaders. By advancing its Image Refresh program at ExtraMile convenience stores, growing the Texaco brand and introducing a no-fee credit card

FDA Looks at Future of Tobacco Products

Confusion Reigns Supreme C-store operators aren’t the only ones left scratching their heads by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) first foray into tobacco regulation.During the FDA’s teleconference, Catherine Lorraine, a lawyer for the administration, said, “I just want to draw your attention to the portion of the definition of a cigarette, which specifically refers

Nice & Envied

Mission accomplished. When John MacDougall challenged his team at Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes to come up with a company mission statement, he left pretty simple instructions. “Keep it short, keep it focused and let’s be true to ourselves,” he said. The result was a concise proclamation of the chain’s commitment to the customers it

Managing the Crowded Cold Vault

When it comes to packaged beverages, what gets put on the shelves may not be what customers are looking for and, in this economy, that’s a situation retailers must avoid. Making wise, informed buying decisions is the crucial difference between boosting cooler sales and blowing a lot of hot air. From colas to energy drinks,

Employees Fuel QuikTrip’s Success

QuikTrip Corp.,  the Oklahoma-based convenience retailer, opened for business in 1958 with a single store and second-hand furnishings. Today, the chain is made up of 532 convenience stores across nine states, all of them open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The privately-held, family-owned business has approximately 10,000 employees, who reportedly enjoy their

Catering to the Community

It was 1968 when Don Lamberti purchased a Boone, Iowa service station and converted it into a convenience store, launching what would eventually grow into the thriving chain known as Casey’s General Stores. By the end of its first decade, Casey’s had more than 100 locations, plus its own warehouse. To meet its growing business

Convenience Industry Takes Center Stage

Tips, thoughts and reminders to enhance your NACS Show experience. Move over Ringling Brothers because the NACS Show is indeed “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Beyond the night life, parties, shows and the glitter of the Las Vegas lights lies, by far, the best and most comprehensive trade show and conference in the industry for

FDA Clarifies Tobacco Ban

Flavored products including cigarettes, RYO and loose tobaccos and rolling papers are no longer legal in U.S. stores; administration said it would look at “little cigars” and similar products on a “case-by-case basis.” The smoking lamp on the majority of flavored tobacco products sold in convenience stores has been extinguished, but the ruling has ignited

How to Achieve and Maintain ADA Compliance

Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect in 1992, it has dramatically improved the lives of disabled individuals by working to make all public places in the U.S. both accessible and hospitable to those with disabilities. But even though the ADA has greatly helped in achieving a better quality of life

Are Your Underground Storage Tanks Safe?

Convenience store operators who don’t know state regulations concerning underground storage tanks (USTs) from a hole in the ground had better learn more about what’s in those holes and what the government is both offering and expecting from them. Federal mandates requiring a significant increase in biofuels production, for example, have spurred an increase in

Cultivating Customers Through Loyalty

Customer Commitment The biggest hurdle some retailers face when implementing a loyalty program is getting customers to notice the many benefits. When Mid-State Petroleum launched its loyalty offering last November company Vice President Tony Perez launched a promotion to give away $10,000 in rewards at each of his locations. New customers received a $5 reward

Opportunities Abound

The NACS Show is my annual reminder of just how much innovation exists among the many talented retailers and suppliers I communicate with every day. I expect this year’s show—amazingly the 14th of my career—to be one of the most interesting I’ve ever attended. While the event has so much to offer, a black cloud

Vendors Help Prepaid Prosper

Prepaid services are revolutionizing the way customers do business today. From unbanked customers to students and others looking to reduce their outstanding debt, prepaid debit cards and bill pay services offer customers a payment solution without the drawback of monthly interest charges. Retailers agree that choosing a vendor that will work with your chain to

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