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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Convenience store operators must take the time to observe how their competitors are marketing tobacco. In most of the presentations I have given over the past few years, I challenge my participants to take the time to understand how their business is doing, but to also make sure to check on the competition. After all,

Employees may not like working holiday shifts. It’s important to remind them of the valuable service they provide to the industry’s loyal consumers.

Meeting the Demand for Convenience

  Even during the holiday season customers expect their local c-store not only to be open, but to meet their diverse needs. Every year during the holidays I have cashiers tell me that customers ask them why our stores are open on days like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Customers often remark, “It’s a

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Raising the Bar on Automotive Accessories

Car care merchandise is delivering incremental sales with the help of private labels and impulse purchases. Customers have long ventured into local convenience stores to grab a bottle of windshield washer fluid or oil for their cars. Years ago, a small display would hold a few bottles of automotive fluids in case of an emergency.

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Networking at the NAG Ideas Conference

David Johnson named group chairman as the National Advisory Group concludes its 2010 meeting focused on building profits and relationships. The National Advisory Group’s (NAG) 2010 Ideas Conference wrapped up in Charleston, S.C., offering convenience store owners a much better understanding of the issues facing small and mid-sized businesses and family-owned companies. Whether it’s dealing

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Discount Tobacco City Takes on the FDA

When a number of major tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Conwood Co. LLC, Commonwealth Brands Inc., Lorillard Inc. and National Tobacco Co., decided to take on the federal government’s ban on tobacco advertising, they were looking for one retailer to step up and join the fight. They got their wish when Frank Hinton,

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Tracking the Trends

While the convenience store industry is in a much better position to withstand the strains of the current economic recession, one thing is painfully clear. Customers are changing the way they buy goods and services and retailers must keep up with those changes to avoid becoming obsolete. A new generation of Millennials, those born between

Securing Payment Data

The SWAT Team   During its brief tenure, the PCATS Data Security Standards committee has proven extraordinarily active, holding biweekly conference call meetings that are regularly attended by as many as 50 members. As PCATS Executive Director Gray Taylor pointed out, “These aren’t single-site operators. These are people who are in charge of security for

Sealed-Fresh Foil Wrapping

Due to popular demand, Swisher International has introduced Sealed-Fresh foil wrapping on all of the company’s Swisher Sweets Cigarillos. First introduced on Swisher Sweets Wine Cigarillos, the new Sealed-Fresh packaging proved to be a huge success among retailers and customers. Expanding on that success, the new technology is now incorporated as the standard packaging for

Chai Tea Latte Mixes

Simple-to-prepare Oregon Chai Tea Latte Dry Mixes provide an alternative to coffee and are available in three popular flavors: Vanilla, Decadent Spice and Original flavor. The mixes are easy to use—just-add-water or steamed milk prep. For added ease, each package includes a serving scoop and comes in re-closable stand up bags, eliminating the mess of

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The Fight for Interchange Reform Continues

The long and winding road to controlling credit card fees took yet another turn on Oct. 12, 2010, when TCF National Bank, a subsidiary of TCF Financial Corp., filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Durbin Amendment, which was included in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, also known

Male Enhancement Pills

Kretek International Inc., U.S. distributor of ExtenZe, a male enhancement brand, has introduced new ExtenZe Plus fast acting pills in a five-pack value unit. The new bright red five-pack pills feature an easy-to-take pearlized coating and are being promoted at the same price as the current four-pack unit during introduction through the end of 2010.

CAT Scales

If you sell diesel fuel, then you need a CAT Scale. CAT Scale Co. is a public truck scale network, with more than 1,275 certified scales located across the U.S. and Canada. There is no start up cost to join. All equipment, maintenance and staff training is provided by CAT Scale Co. The network includes

Chevron Fuels Schools Promotion

During the month of September, Chevron’s Fuel Your School promotion, with the help of California drivers, raised $858,445 for schools in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. To participate, customers simply had to fill up their gas tanks at participating Chevron stations in Alameda or Contra Costa between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. Chevron then donated

Happy Birthday Coke Zero

The Coca-Cola Co.’s most successful new sparkling beverage in a generation, Coke Zero, turns five this year. During its time on the market, Coke Zero has posted double-digit sales gains for five straight years and is showing no signs of slowing. Among more than 350 sparkling beverage brands launched since 2001, Coke Zero is one

Fusion Equipment Series

The new Fusion Series features a full line of heavy-duty equipment at affordable prices, including bottom mount solid door reach-ins, glass door merchandisers, undercounter refrigerators and freezers, and sandwich/salad prep units, including the new ‘mega top,’ featuring a deeper unit to accommodate more pans inside. Master-Bilt’s Fusion Series solid door reach-ins (refrigerators and freezers) are

Bottled Water Bouncing Back

Bottled water’s bubble may have burst the past couple of years, but retailers with private label water have done just swimmingly, and retailers are optimistic that the next 12 months will be equally strong. The packaged beverages subcategory enjoyed decades of growth, as consumers increasingly chose refreshment that fit their healthier lifestyles. From 1984 to

Specialty Tortillas

Seventy-seven percent of customers would like to see healthier items on c-store menus, according to Mintel. The Mexican Original brand from Tyson Food Service offers a full line of specialty tortillas that help meet the needs of health-conscious consumers without sacrificing flavor. Mexican Original tortillas are available in a variety of different sizes to help

New Energy Flavor

After success with its Lemon Blast, Cherry Rush and Citrus Slam Xenergy Xtreme flavors, Xyience introduced Orange Fuel to its Xenergy Xtreme lineup this year. Like other Xenergy Xtreme and Premium flavors, Orange Fuel is available in 16-ounce cans and is sugar- and calorie-free, with only two grams of carbohydrates per serving. Earlier this year,

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NACS CAFÉ Serves Up a Foodservice Education

It began with a simple, yet powerful premise: Convenience store retailers, with their great locations and high customer traffic are well-positioned to capitalize on the development and execution of meaningful foodservice programs. All they need is a solid foundation of information, support, solutions and best practices to succeed. Enter Greg Parker, president and CEO of

$3 Reloadable Prepaid Cards

nFinanSe Inc. has launch its $3 Reloadable Prepaid Discover Cards at Memphis-Tenn.-based Fred’s Hometown Discount Stores, a regional chain of stores located in the Southeast and Midwest. The cards sell for just $3 and the reload fee and monthly maintenance fee are only $2.95, the ATM withdrawal fee is an industry low 99 cents, and

Cell Phone Chargers

Hottips is the cell phone charging system that has it all. The tips charge almost all cell phones and are available as all-in-one chargers, wall chargers, or car chargers. All multi-tip chargers include the new micro USB tip, and mobile phone brands are easily identified. A bright light indicates the phone is charging. The packaging

Seizing Real Estate Opportunities

Prying Properties Loose   Important for retailers to understand is that commercial real estate today is an industry in transition. Its landscape is littered with landlords, if not desperate, than at least strongly motivated to make deals work.   “Things are tight,” said George Anderson, vice president of market analytics for NAI Global in Princeton,

New “Omlete” Wrap

Land Mark Products, which provides companies with customized food manufacturing solutions introduces the Day’ N Night Bites’ “Omlete” Wrap, a way to enjoy breakfast on-the-go without the mess. Instead of using crumbly scrambled eggs, the traditional egg-based breakfast wrap is more contained and far less likely to fall out of the tortilla. Day N’ Night

Is Your Kitchen Fully Equipped?

Where there’s successful foodservice programs, there’s efficient foodservice equipment, and in the convenience store industry, there’s foodservice everywhere. According to NACS’ State of the Industry numbers for 2010, foodservice provided the largest slice of the in-store gross-margin pie, at 26.35%, and was second in in-store sales only to cigarettes. As consumers contemplate what to eat,

Super Bowl Promotion

Diamond Foods Inc. is offering a promotion across its snack portfolio called Snack Bowl XLV. Consumers will submit applications online and encourage their friends to vote for them utilizing unique tools, such as a Facebook video application. The entrant receiving the most votes will win a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement

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