the ostore

Baton Rouge’s upscale LA Rouge Mart meets at the intersection of Opulence and Convenience. In 1993’s dinosaurs-run-amok blockbuster Jurassic Park, the park’screator John Hammond often repeated the phrase, “spared no expense.” Louisianaentrepreneur Muhammed S. Khan can say the same. But unlike the film, in whichbloodthirsty dinosaurs revolted and tore the island to shreds, Khan’s investmentsin

removing obstacles

As senior vice president of sales and marketing for GPM Investments LLC, Brad Chivington does everything in his power to make sure his company's 160 Fas Mart and Shore Stop stores perform at a consistently high level. And when the stores show measurable improvement

working with a net

Meticulous vendor selection and an intense focus on proper rotation comprise some of the measures retailers take to build fortresses around their food programs. With great power comes great responsibility. So said "Uncle Ben" Parkerto his web-slinging nephew Peter in the 2002 summer smash Spider-Man. Asimilar maxim applies to convenience retailers in the food business:

csd names 7eleven 2005 chain of the year

Nation’s largest chain honored for culture of innovation. Convenience Store Decisions has named 7-Eleven Inc. (Dallas, TX) its2005 Convenience Store Chain of the Year. The award recognizes convenienceretailingexcellence in marketing and merchandising, operating efficiency and severalother key areas, and is based in part on feedback from industry professionals. “We are especially honored to receive this

whos afraid of the dark

If the “Monster” Blackout of 2003 taught retailers anything, it’s toprepare for the worst. During that blackout, which affected much of the EastCoast, Ohio and parts of Canada, retailers tried to go on with business as usual—oras well as they could in the dark (see Black Knights, p. 16, Sept. ’03).And as Hurricane Katrina has

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

centralized production

Central Ohio Energy (Mansfield, OH) opened its commissary about threeyears ago. Company executives saw a need for a fresh and consistent productand couldn't pinpoint a vendor that could provide the quality it needed andbe flexible about returns. The Ohio chain operates nine locations: eight In-n-Out Marts and one Easy TripStore. The Easy Trip, which is

the key to consistency

When a particular category— say, foodservice—accounts for almost 12% of the industry’s total inside sales (which it did last year, per the National Association of Convenience Stores’ State of the Industry report), retailers will work to control it as much as possible. In fact, retailers have spent millions of dollars and man-hours to add cost

moe speeds to market

Running a convenience store business comes with its share of benefits.For Brian Bach, co-owner of More of Everything, the perks include a companycar…or van, to be more precise. The van features the logo and addresses of More of Everything's two locations,as well as logos of key vendors who helped Bach and business partner Cory Churchillpay

wheelindealin

Oregon retailer More of Everything caters to captive audiences in area shopping malls. It also attracts droves of race fans with exclusive and collectible items. Brian C. Bach’s passion for all things NASCAR came gift-wrapped with his DNA. His father, a photographer, freelanced for the Los Angeles Times and covered NASCAR and Indy races at

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

phat threads for mickey ds

To make its uniforms more appealing to employees, QSR king McDonald's is preparingto invest $80 million in new duds that could put employees on People magazine'sBest-Dressed List. A report in Advertising Age says the chain has had serious discussionswith design moguls Russell Simmons, P. Diddy and Tommy Hilfiger, among others,to develop uniforms that riff on

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

dealmaker

Rick Klyczek is what you'd call a NOCO "lifer." He started working for New York's NOCO Energy Corp. right out of school as an assistant manager in the company's NOCO Express retail division. He quickly moved up through the ranks to become store manager and then district manager before moving into various executive-level positions at

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

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

ad it up

Digital advertising networks boost the top line by funneling traffic from the great outdoors to inside the store. How to consistently transform gas customers into insidethe-store customersremains one of the great mysteries of our time. Retailers have tried a batteryof techniques— instore promotions with banners, advertisements blastingfrom overhead speakers, static ads on pumptoppers and streaming

insurance assurance

Lawsuits and fraud investigations targeting the soon-to-be embattled insurance industry have retailers reconsidering the coverage they pay for and from whom they buy it. Until it became the subject of billion-dollar fraud investigations,the mere mention of “insurance” would cause many retailers’ eyes to glaze overwith disinterest. But today, with criminal charges pending and millions of

irving keeps the promise

Irving Oil developed the ’Irving Promise’ as a guide to reinforce the importance of doing whatever it takes to simplify the lives of its customers throughout its network, including its newly reimaged Bluecanoe stores (see Making Over Mainway, p. 18). Irving Oil developed the “Irving Promise” as a guide to reinforce theimportance of doing whatever

making over mainway

Irving Oil’s Mainway stores make way for BLUECANOE, an uncommon concept driven by best-in-class service, an intense focus on fresh foods and a unique sense of humor. People don’t pay much attention to washroom signs. But at IrvingOil’s new Bluecanoe stores, the signs are tough to ignore. Tim Guen, senior brand manager for the Portsmouth,

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

fired up

Barbecuing brisket wasn’t anywhere on Rudolph Aue’s agenda in 1929, when heopened his one-pump country store in the tiny community of Leon Springs, TX,just a few miles west of San Antonio. In fact, it wasn’t until 60 years later,when Aue sold the operation, that the pit was first lit. The buyer was restaurateur Phil Romano,

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”

pilot takes control

Pilot Travel Centers adapts to its growth by streamlining its payroll and human resources systems. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. As Pilot Travel Centers grew to 50 c-stores and 262 travel centers in 40 states with 14,000 employees, it became imperative for the company to streamline its payroll and human resources processes. Explosive

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