Alon Emerges

Alon USA At a Glance: Alon USA is a Dallas-based independent refiner and marketer majority owned by Alon Israel Oil Co. Ltd. It was formed in 2000 when Alon Israel purchased the downstream operations of Atofina Petrochemical. Today, Alon owns and operates the Fina fuel brand and Southwest Convenience Stores LLC (SCS), the largest 7-Eleven

Driving New Profits

Fleet Card Facts There are an estimated 650,000 fleets in the U.S. for a total of nine million vehicles. Currently, fleet cards are the fastest growing segment of MasterCard’s business. Most fleet cards offer valuable and robust reporting/management tools The tools can track mile-per-gallon variances, driving patterns, fuel purchases, calculate various tax exemptions and more.

CITGO Chooses FleetCor

Fleet Card Facts There are an estimated 650,000 fleets in the U.S. for a total of nine million vehicles. Currently, fleet cards are the fastest growing segment of MasterCard’s business. Most fleet cards offer valuable and robust reporting/management tools The tools can track mile-per-gallon variances, driving patterns, fuel purchases, calculate various tax exemptions and more.

Creating Loyal Customers

Faced with rapidly escalating costs, cutthroat commodity pricing and broader competition, the time is right for convenience stores to adopt more aggressive loyalty marketing programs that will attract new customers and reward existing ones. For nearly 80 years, loyalty and frequent shopper plans have proven to be highly effective promotional and brand-building tools for businesses

Express Rewards

Looking for a new tax accountant? How about a local bakery? The search may be a little easier—and more lucrative—thanks to the highly successful loyalty marketing program at Express Convenience Stores. The 19-store Wisconsin-based chain, which is operated by US Oil Co. Inc. and has units from Oshkosh to Green Bay, launched its GoFor Rewards

How Rutter’s Stays on Top

There was a time not long ago in this industry when bigger was always thought to be better. Fortunately, the folks at Rutter’s Farm Stores knew better.  With 52 stores in five Pennsylvania counties, Rutter’s focus has never been on reckless expansion simply for the sake of having a larger store count. Rather, its has

Somebody IS Watching

In an age of cameras on nearly every street corner, toll booth and ATM, the coming of interactive audio and visual systems at retail is hardly a surprise. What may surprise some, however, is the way in which such systems can transcend security and provide what some might suggest amounts to a whole new layer

Hess Strikes Deal with IBM

Hess Corp., operator of more than 1,350 convenience stores in 14 states from Massachusetts to Florida, has chosen IBM Cognos BI to deliver a full range of business intelligence capabilities across its marketing and refining organization. Looking to deliver unified access to critical information in its downstream operations, Hess executives decided to standardize its performance

Get Them Where They Shop

Your store is a great place to advertise. The customer is already there and receptive to making a purchase. You have the ability to control the environment and the number and types of messages you communicate. And today you can choose from more media formats than ever before—everything from simple signage to video and digital

Analyzing Scan Data

Market basket analysis and its offshoot, affinity marketing, continue to follow the usual c-store industry adoption pattern: cautious expansion, mostly among the bigger chains. But the potential payoffs could be enormous. That said, like most new technologies market basket requires commitment at the top, beginning with more expensive software matched with an appropriate point-of-sale (POS)

Creating Loyalty Among Thrifty Customers

Retailers throughout the country are aware that with the current economic downturn, customers are often trying to find the most cost-effective deals. But industry leaders are relying on innovative solutions aimed at getting their customers decent deals while creating brand loyalty. Fuel retailer loyalty programs work similar to loyalty programs in other industries, according to

Technology Driving Safety and Cash Management

Safeguarding c-stores and the people and property in and around them is getting easier and more economical thanks largely to incremental advances in a variety of technologies. Among them: safes that do more, software systems that communicate better and electronic eyes that see more. Theft and mayhem of all types, from gas pump drive-offs and

Technology: Plural Platforms Top Priority

Today’s c-store retailers want technology platforms that will allow them to manage fuel brands, foodservice operations, remain PCI compliant, easily access data and help improve customer service simultaneously. Sound like a tall order? It’s really not, said Jenny Bullard, chief information officer of the Jones Co., which owns 177 Flash Foods stores in Georgia and

Too Costly To Count

Fuel prices flirting with the $4 mark are causing problems for thousands of rural fuel dealers whose pumps can’t count that high, the Associated Press reported. Fuel equipment suppliers are reporting a surge in demand for fuel equipment that allows older fuel pumps, which use mechanical reels instead of digital readouts, to display prices up

Manage a C-Store, Xbox-style

Pulling a page from the blockbuster videogame SimCity, Asian videogame maker Nippon Ichi Software has developed “Combini 200X,” a videogame where users can manage their own convenience store, Wired.com reported. The game lets players become owners of a chain of convenience stores, which are called “kombini” in Japanese and usually written as “combini” in English.

Secure Your System

MasterCard announces that more than 40 million credit card numbers belonging to U.S. consumers have been accessed by a computer hacker and are at risk of being used for fraud; however, company officials can’t say how long the confidential information has been missing. A disgruntled technology employee cracks his former company’s computer system and destroys

ATM/POS Systems

TOP PERFORMERS Triton Systems PaySpot Inc. MoneyGram HONORABLE MENTIONS Western Union Chase/Paymentech ATM and point-of-sale (POS) systems have helped convenience retailers gain a competitive edge by providing news service and enhanced convenience. Thirty-five key decision makers representing 5,250 stores selected Triton, PaySpot Inc. and MoneyGram as the top performers in the ATM/POS category. Honorable mentions

Technology

TOP PERFORMERS Gilbarco Veeder-Root Verifone Inc. Professional Datasolutions Inc. (PDI) HONORABLE MENTIONS Dresser Wayne FACTOR Inc. The convenience store industry continues to drive innovation and developing new retail technology systems has been no exception. The 53 chains representing 7,950 stores that participated in CSD’s Brand Preference Study identified Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Verifone Inc. and Professional Datasolutions

Retailers Salute Their Leading Suppliers

espite the much-ballyhooed growth of chains like Walgreens, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Wal-Mart, it is convenience stores that remain an important daily stop for the nation’s busy consumers. As a result, convenience stores represent a powerful sales opportunity for product and service supplier companies. CSD set out to find the industry’s top performers as identified

RFID: Not Ready For Prime Time

A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag is like a barcode on steroids. A barcode printed on a cracker box may indicate that the box contains crackers and possibly identify the manufacturer, while an RFID tag carries a serial number that distinguishes that particular box of crackers from all others in the world. Although some companies

Empowering Customers

Self-Service Gift Cards Paul Burel, director of marketing strategy for U-Scan, Fujitsu’s self-checkout line, said gift cards are a good option for c-store operators “because it’s convenient. It’s the kind of point-of-presence transaction to generate that last-minute gift that someone needs to get.” Going with a self-service gift card program is “really not an add-on,”

What’s Cooking?

Speed, ease, safety and energy savings—those are the challenges that convenience store operators face each day as they serve fresh foods, both hot and cold, to on-the-go eaters with deadline-driven lives. Fortunately, innovations in foodservice equipment are helping them meet the needs of this demanding customer base and do it better than ever before. Jerry

Bypassing the Interchange

Alot has changed on the credit card fee front since last year’s NACS/Convenience Store Decisions Webcast, but retailers are still faced with the daunting challenge of finding creative ways to bypass the high interchange fees that plague the c-store industry. The industry’s efforts to battle these fees is getting attention, fostering the hope that real

Technologies to Watch: Google and VoIP

Two of the most impressive technologies on display at last November’s NACS Show promise to enhance the convenience value proposition for customers and storeowners alike. The first of these comes to the marketplace courtesy of a strategic partnership between Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Google. It will allow customers fueling their vehicles at stations using Gilbarco’s Encore

Dealing with a Data Landslide

There was a time not so long ago when a vendor would roll boxes of product into a convenience store, plant them on the floor, flash an invoice for the cashier’s signature and then leave with the expectation that the store would sell the product–at least, some of it–by the next delivery date. Thanks to

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