c-store

Thriving on Teamwork

Getting one store back in order in just two-and-a-half days proved to be the ultimate retail challenge. By Jim Callahan. One of my retail clients recently had to take back two failed convenience stores—that were in extremely bad condition—from a franchisee on a Wednesday and wanted them back online by the weekend. I love a

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Fast Nickels vs.Slow Dimes

When it comes to competing in the fuel business, convenience store retailers must fight to maintain their market share. By Jim Callahan. I received an inquiry from a small retailer in the Northeast recently who had lost a huge chunk of his fuel volume due to some fierce new competition. This is an issue that

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Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

While management is always on the lookout for new talent, it’s also up to employees to demonstrate that they are ready to advance to leadership positions. By Jim Callahan. As we embark on 2012, it’s time to start considering how you’re going to begin grooming team members for advancement within the company. Today’s employees are

Mentoring

Who Was Your Mentor?

As the convenience store industry continues to mature, today’s leaders have a responsibility to pass their wisdom forward. By Jim Callahan. Way back when I entered the oil industry as a bookkeeper in 1968, I didn’t have a clue how fortunate I was to have two great mentors. To be absolutely candid, I never heard

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

Delivering the Goods

Winning Over CPG Customers   According to a new study commissioned by MEI Computer Technology Group Inc., there is an increased emphasis on improving trade promotion effectiveness, as consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers look to bolster the value and return on their trade spend, and capture wallet share from consumers.   Despite the current climate,

Working to Make a Difference

An introspective look at life through the fading eyes of a genius. As our 28 year old daughter lay ill in Emory University Hospital, a wonderful second-generation Spanish surgeon knelt down and held my wife’s hands to share words of wisdom he learned from his father. He imparted to us what a great privilege it

Breakfast Battle Brewing

Bundling with Bakery Rick Lawlor, vice president of retail sales and marketing for Hess Corp., said his company began growing breakfast sales when it added an old favorite for customers who want a sweet with their coffee: doughnuts. “There are a number of ways we’ve been growing our breakfast business, the most significant being our

Selling Smokes Still Profitable

While foodservice sales are soaring, the tobacco category is still as important as ever. I heard recently that the the profit convenience stores derive from foodservice has overtaken that of tobacco. Now I’m right there with the rest of the industry in joining the deli revolution, but that does not mean that I’m ready to

Celebrate the Reason for the Season

It makes not one iota of difference whether you believe in Santa or celebrate Christmas to make a difference in someone’s life at this special time of the year. We all recognize that 2009—like no other year in the past 50—has created a genuine and critical need that provides both an opportunity for all of

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

Serving the Unbanked

As the economy worsened, the number of adult Americans without bank accounts grew exponentially—and the use of prepaid cash cards climbed to new heights as well. Directo, a company that tracks pay cards to unbanked workers, reported that the recession has sent the number of unbanked Americans soaring to about 50 million, well up from

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

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

Hitting the Customers’ “Sweet Spot”

The ability to offer outstanding service remains the industry’s biggest asset. Do whatever it takes to exceed expectations. Doing a late night check on our new Huddle House restaurant attached to a quite awesome BP travel center, I arrived just in time to tackle the concerns of a pretty tough and very tired truck driver

Mind Control: The Road to Success and Rewards

Fostering determination, desire and a great attitude in employees is what allows cashiers and middle managers to rise in senior management’s eyes. Saturday is my “honey, I’ll do it today” day. To be candid, though, my wife is much better with home repairs than me. We tackled regrouting an entire bathroom and my task was

Here Comes the Sun

As the summer selling season hits its peak, operators must hone best practices to increase market share. Gazing through my crystal ball, I see it boldly predicts summer 2009 is going to bring some very solid sales numbers, indeed greatly increased sales for much of the country.  Moreover, as you view this issue of Convenience

Things I Learned on the Way to the Convenience Store

The term “blessed” is trite but, in this case, true: My journey through the convenience store industry has seen me blessed with the friendships of so many special people. More than a few of them fit the mold reserved for greatness. I’d like to share some of the wonderful wisdom I’ve learned from them.

The Night They Burned Tobacco Down

Increases on cigarettes have put the category’s long-term viability in jeopardy. By Jim Callahan, Convenience Store Solutions I recently saw a statistic that declared tobacco was no longer king in convenience stores. While that is not yet true for most of us, it’s about to become an indisputable fact. The entire country now gets to

You Are Known by the Company You Keep

The contacts and friends you make in this industry can become lifelong confidants. This one’s personal. As the saying goes, this is not my first rodeo, but amazingly I’ve come through with very few of life’s saddle sores. Now in my 40th year in the industry, I’ve worked for some amazing people, learned many valuable

Riding Out the Economic Storm

Facing one of the most difficult financial crises in the nation’s history, convenience store operators must maximize store performance and drive efficiencies. That old axiom “fall back, spring ahead” takes on an entirely new meaning for 2009. Faced with the worst recession in more than half a century, springing ahead means fighting for survival for

Appreciate Your Antique Assets

A great source of dedication and experience, seniors can excel throughout the entire organization. Surfing through the TV channels recently, I paused to watch a few minutes of the popular Antiques Road Show program. I was amazed at the value we place on antiques in this country, how they appreciate with time. Indeed, the older

Honoring Our Past

This month begins a very special year for Convenience Store Decisions. Throughout 2009 we are committed to recognizing the leaders and innovators that have shaped the convenience store and petroleum industry and helped create this multi-billion-dollar retail sector. Legends in Retailing will focus on the challenges operators faced in the early days of the industry,

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