at their fingertips

Huck’s Food & Fuel (Carmi, IL) is no stranger to big ideas. The company’s latest brainstorm has the chain saving on phone calls made from stores to regional and district managers. It’s also getting operations staffers more involved in the decision-making process surrounding competitive gas pricing. A little more than a year ago, Huck’s President

drivethru goliath

This natural descendant of the c-store intends to offer everything from lottery tickets and liquor to groceries and fast food—all in a drive-thru format. Stephen Beardsley wants to out-convenience the c-store industry. Beardsley is president of AutoCart LLC (Las Cruces, NM), a company that plans on building a $13 million to $18 million “Drive-Thru Supercenter”

in the q

Anchored by Starbucks and other powerful food brands, Canadian Tire’s ’Q’ concept could have a dramatic effect on the retailing landscape north of the border. Canadian Tire Petroleum has sold gasoline since 1958, but even the company’s president will admit that its traditional convenience store offer has been less than imaginative—until recently. Canadian Tire Petroleum’s

payback with interest

Are you boring your associates right out the door? Trim turnover by keeping employees stimulated. Which item on the following list of job benefits is most important when it comes to keeping great convenience store employees on the payroll? Money Recognition Respect Interesting Work If you answered money, recognition or respect, you’re dead wrong. Although

keep on truckin

Carrying on a local college tradition has given New York retailer Albert Smith new menu items and a new generation of grateful customers. In the 28 years Albert Smith has operated the Shortstop Deli (Ithaca, NY), he has never gotten a hug from a customer. Sure, his patrons appreciate that the coffee is fresh, that

firstclass foodie

Trend-setting fuel marketer Bill Knight serves up ’chef-crafted meals to go’ at his amazing NexStore MarketPlace in one of South Florida’s most affluent locales. The birds living in the lush foliage adorning the NexStore MarketPlace in South Florida’s affluent Boca Raton community couldn’t have it much better. Thrushes and mockingbirds look happy and well fed,

cobranded credit

Building Fanatics at Retail

A decade ago, RJ Reynolds took a journey to the center of its Doral brand, located its DNA, and began rebuilding it from the inside out. For convenience retailers, there is much to be learned from the example. Flash back to that infamous Friday in 1993, when Philip Morris took swift and dramatic action to

numbing the sting

Due to a zero-tolerance policy Terrible Herbst instituted about three years ago, George Philpott has had to witness the termination of an hourly employee that served the company for 18 years, as well as a store manager that worked there for seven years. He’s seen some good people leave in tears after violating the stringent

staying fresh

New technology helps retailers focus on freshness and maintain the power of their brands. It wasn’t long ago that convenience stores were stuffed with nothing but pre-packaged foods with a long shelf life. That’s not the case today, as consumers have dictated what matters most: convenient products with freshness and quality. That, after all, is

bars of gold

For these two retailers, chocolate bars had an exceptional year in 2004. Based on early results, they expect the segment’s performance to only sweeten in 2005. When the convenience store industry tries to breathe new life into a sluggish category, one of the first suggestions often made is to reduce price. But when it came

a holy grail for tobacco

Seeking better ways to manage the cigarette category as a means of securing more gross profit dollars? A ’six-step’ analysis may help uncover hidden profits. Even though the “same firms” database of CStoreXchange (CSX) shows that 2004 cigarette dollar sales may approximate 1% more per store versus 2003, when you factor in tax and price

is krispy kremed

Key changes in the rungs of Krispy Kreme’s corporate ladder raise both optimism and doubt regarding the once-infallible brand’s long-term prospects for the c-store channel. For one-time Wall Street darling Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., the dough may yet rise again. The board of directors for the North Carolina-based donut maker, which had been making headlines

meat marketing

In search of a truly unique foodservice offering, NOCO Express found a hometown partnership that really ’beefed up’ store sales. There’s a delicacy that originated in Buffalo, NY, called a Roast Beef on Weck sandwich. It’s a hot roast beef sandwich where the meat is aged three to four weeks in a cooler and hand-carved

paying a premium

Healthcare costs are on the rise nationwide. Self-insured Sheetz takes a committee-based approach to curtailing healthcare expenses. During the past five years, businesses across the country have seen health benefits costs jump an average of 14% per year. As a result, companies are making tactical moves to help stop the bleeding, so to speak. Whether

spoons and toons

Cereal ain’t just for breakfast anymore. A new concept called Cereality caters to all customers and all dayparts by recreating a cherished childhood experience. Starbucks may soon have competition for consumers’ "third place," after home and the office. Near the University of Pennsylvania campus in downtown Philadelphia stands the Cereality Cereal Bar & Caf, an

walmarts small mart

Might the world’s largest retailer take a run at operating convenience stores? Absolutely. By Michael Bergdahl Imade a presentation at the National Association of Convenience Stores’ 2004 annual conference in Las Vegas last October. My speech centered around my book, What I Learned from Sam Walton: How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World.

wawa gets booked

Wawa Inc. (Wawa, PA), which today operates more than 550 convenience stores in five states, is the subject of a new book from Arcadia Publishing (888-313-2665; www.arcadiapublishing.com). The book spans parts of three centuries in detailing Wawa's evolution, beginning with its origins in the early 1800s as a manufacturer of cast-iron water pipes and stove

hot stuff for 2005

Next month rings in a new year, bringing with it plenty of never-before-seen product innovations. The low-carb fad that swept the U.S. market in 2004 sparked the launches of more than 3,100 new food and beverage items through late November. But the trend has begun to wind down, leaving the door open to new developments

human resources

Gain a tax break There are thousands of dollars in tax credits available to small-to medium-sized businesses for hiring people that are more difficult to employ or for locating businesses in areas where the government wants to revitalize economic growth. Only one in 800 businesses actually claims the credits they are due, leaving $4.2 billion

productsservices

Charge and protect Seven million people became victims of identity theft in 2003—an 80% increase versus the prior year, according to the research firm Gartner Group. Further research shows that 55% of Americans plan to use the Internet to buy "stuff." Next Estate Communications (www.nextestate.com) provides prepaid debit card programs through i-Gen® Free & Clear™,

cashing in on credit

Rising credit card fees got you down? Some retailers have convinced many credit customers to trade down to cash. Customers using cash or a CITGO Cash Card (above) at Larry Neville’s CITGO station in Florida receive a discount on gas purchases. Some credit-card customers aren’t too pleased, but Neville says the program has been worthwhile

foodservice

Coffee gets its legs Adding disposable beverage transports to the lineup can give a jolt to the industry's leading gross profit margin category—hot dispensed beverages— while reinforcing a retailer's brand image. Such bulk transports, pioneered by vendors like LBP Manufacturing (www.lbpmfg.com), enable customers to take multiple cups of coffee—10 to 12 per fill-up—on the move,

whats the big idea

Stuff your stocking with ideas for making more money in 2005 by Kate Buczko, Associate Editor, and Bill Donahue, Editor New ideas are the lifeblood of our industry. They give our stores the opportunity to grow and adapt to market conditions, and expand into virgin territory. The editors of CSD have compiled some of the

fuel marketing

Miller Oil nets higher fuel margins Three years ago Miller Oil Co. had been taking a beating at the pumps. The market had inverted for nearly three months and Miller's fuel volume was, pardon the pun, in the tank—a 10% to 15% decline per year over a three-year period—due to competitors pricing below cost. The

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