rubber meets the cstore

Customers pulling in to one of Jerry Dorminey's NASCAR-themed convenience storesor travel centers are immediately drawn to the Nextel Cup car on display (above).Thanks to his racing connections (he owned his own race team in the 1960s and'70s), he's able to put an actual racecar on each property, like a shiny metalcalling card beckoning the

visionary

Jim Fiene started his c-store career as a thirdshift worker at a Speedway SuperAmerica store while studying cinematography at a Milwaukee technical college. He dreamed of one day making movies as a big-time Holywood director, but he soon realized the convenience retailing industry provided all the drama and excitement he could ever want. "I thrive

putting a finger onbiometrics

Some retailers now accept a new form of customer payment: the human body (or at least part of it). Most people would develop an eating disorder or some other form of neurosis if people continually gave them the finger. But not Colorado’s Bob Zenner. The more people flash him their “digits,” the wider his smile.

mopping upwithout the mop

They say the minute a robot can do a job is the minute a person is no longer required to do that job. Employees might not want to hear that unless it is to perform an unpleasant task like cleaning the restroom. iRobot (www.irobot.com) partnered with The Clorox Co. to develop the Scooba Robotic Floor

coffee talk

Espresso and cappuccino machines can elevate convenience stores to the same level as gourmet coffeehouses. Espresso and cappuccino are hot in more ways than one these days. Espressois an Italian-style coffee, usually made by the cup, using high-pressure hotwater forced through finely roasted coffee to create the distinct potency andflavor. Cappuccino is espresso mixed with

outfoxing the competition

Inventive car wash operators find faithful ’companions’ in pet owners wanting to pamper their pups. Most dog owners would associate the word “loyal” with their furry, four-legged friends. And retailers—specifically those with car washes—are hoping they can make the same association with all types of pet owners. While dog washes came into vogue in 2003

dailys grind

A commitment to compliance and community powers Daily’s in its quest to be Rick Hamilton had seen just about everything by the time he decided to enter the convenience retailing business. After returning home from a tour of duty in Operation Desert Storm in the early1990s, he settled in Nashville and went to work as

deliverance

Pizza delivery didn’t work out as expected for this small Carolina chain. Mike and Brad Woodie were probably the type of kids who weren’t afraidto fall off their bicycles. The two—president and vice president, respectively,of Woodie’s (Charlotte, NC)—looked at the neighborhood around their newestWoodie’s store in uptown Charlotte and saw loads of high-rise apartments, condosand

are you flushing profits down the toilet

Restrooms aren’t just another convenience for customers, especially as foodservice When VERC Enterprises (Duxbury, MA) first started offering restrooms, all the facilities had exterior entrances. It wasn’t the most convenient set-up, but the 20-store chain felt they would work just fine—until a customer brought something unusual to the attention of the manager of one of

restroom riches

Everything in the restroom is a cost center

Chew on This

Innovation in candy, gum and mints creates big opportunities and even bigger margins for space-challenged category managers. Consumers appear to be shying away from ‘intense’ or ‘extreme’ mints in favor of flavors. Convenience retailers should expect some volatility when it comes to famously unpredictable categories like tobacco and gasoline. But candy? Sweet, innocent candy? In

casework

Rotisserie chicken. Cold sandwiches. Pizza. Fresh fruit. Display cases boost the sales potential of any food item. Display cases hold and merchandise products effectively and offer customers a quick showing of the operator’s menu selections. The idea is to give Mr. Customer the opportunity to view the retailer’s fare—and increase the likelihood of him making

ice ice baby

Are you producing the right type of ice for your customers’ dispensed beverages? If so, are you producing enough of it? Having the right type of ice and producing the right amount of ice in a costeffective way are critical to maintaining profitability at the beverage center. There are two basic types of ice made

building a community

Assisting people in need customers and co-workers has become a fundamental part of KWIK TRIP’S culture. by Bill Donahue, Editor For many Kwik Trip co-workers, it’s never too cold to go swimming if it’s for a good cause. Kwik Trip is very active in its support of Special Olympics of Wisconsin. The company was instrumental

dynasty builders

I distinctly remember the conversation I had with Don Zietlow the day I called to confirm Kwik Trip's selection as the 2004 Convenience Store Decisions Chain of the Year: "You will have a good time doing this story," he promised, "because you will see things here that are not being done in any other convenience

building the a team

To hire and retain co-workers that are a cut above, KWIK TRIP offers benefits that are a world apart. by Jay Gordon, Editorial Director Every new Kwik Trip store built since 1991 is owned by Convenience Store Investments—and CSI is owned by all full-time Kwik Trip co-workers with five or more years of service. CSI

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