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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

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

U-PAK-IT’s Business Model Proves Successful

U-PAK-IT Corp., the third largest Louisiana-based c-store chain, features a unique business model that helps mom-and-pop stores unite to compete in an industry that often eats single stores for breakfast. The first U-PAK-IT store was opened in Winnsboro, La., in 1986. The company quickly grew when a number of neighborhood stores, faced with rising prices

Warming Up to Soup Sales

This is Foodservice 101: when the weather turns cold, consumers want warmth—often in the form of soups and hot convenience foods. Giving your consumers what they want is Convenience Store Success 101. Putting hot soups and other ready-to-go items on the menu this the fall only makes sense, and isn’t all that hard to do.

Inside Look at Store Activity

Series2k has released S2k Realtime Center, a realtime reporting module to complement its Series2K Back Office Management System. The S2k Realtime Center is a Web-based application that allows a convenience store operator or owner to instantaneously see what is going on in their store. The S2k Realtime Center pulls information from the point-of-sale system every

Family Express Debuts New Corporate Headquarters

Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Express is celebrating the opening of its new corporate headquarters. The 30,0000-square-foot facility not only features offices and a fitness center, but combines its Valparaiso, Ind., and Lafayette Ind., training centers into one  cyber training center, including a fully-merchandised Family Express store, built to scale with equipment and gas pumps. The new

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Premium E-Cigarette

Kretek International Inc. offers a new line of CIG2O (sig-two-oh) e-cigarette products. The CIG2O rechargeable water vapor cigarette was developed in the U. S. for Kretek by Spark Industries. CIG2O e-cigarettes was successfully launched in smoke shops early in 2010. The strength of adult consumer response led to the current nationwide roll out. The initial

Prepaid Services

Blackhawk Network, a provider of prepaid and financial payments products offers PayPower, a suite of prepaid products and services designed to help consumers stay in control of spending with simple and safe solutions that provide value, transparency and budgeting. The suite of products is targeted to consumers looking for alternatives to traditional financial credit, whether

NACS Showcases Cool New Products

The NACS Show’s Most Popular Cool New Products   The top new items viewed by retailers at the NACS Show include: • Disney Foodles and Crunch Pak Sliced Apples (Crunch Pak) • Ready Snax Fresh Fruit Parfaits (Ready Pac Foods) • International Delight Flavor Shots (WhiteWave Foods / Dean Foods) • f’real FRLB4 Frozen Beverage

New Look for Beef Jerky

Jack Link’s Beef Jerky has teamed with Realtree Camo to offer a “snack hunters can’t go without” promotion. Through December 2010, a selection of Jack Link’s beef steak products are available in blaze-orange-colored packaging, featuring distinctive Realtree Camo patterns. The standout blaze orange packaging adds extra visibility, while the beef steak offers hunters a satisfying

Botanical Cigar

Arango Cigar Co. offers its “Windy City” Premium Botanical Cigar, made exclusively for Arango by Drew Estate, in its Nicaraguan factory. In 1998, Drew Estate pioneered the art of vapor-infusing cigars with a wide variety of herbal, floral, spice, and other botanical flavoring essences. Today, their Acid cigars are widely recognized for these intriguing flavor

Marketing in a Digital Age

The world of marketing is fast evolving to keep pace with an influx of new technological options, and no one knows this better than Jared Sturtevant, who recently stepped into the newly created director of marketing role at Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes. In his new position, Sturtevant orders, proofs and provides artistic direction on

Environmentally-Friendly Chewing Gum

Revolymer Ltd. has launched Rev7, a confectionery chewing gum with long-lasting flavor. The product is also removable and degradable, making it the first commercially available environmentally-friendly gum. The company has studied the gum’s removability and degradability characteristics in a variety of climates. The gum can be removed from clothes using soap and water, and tests

A Moment of Sweetness

Cumberland Packing Corp. has tasked creative agency Mother New York with reintroducing Sweet’N Low to U.S. consumers by reminding people of the brand’s long history and tradition by playing up its iconic name, packaging and its most memorable color. The campaign, which includes print, outdoor and digital, will run nationally throughout 2010. Mother broke away

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

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