techfriendly

Greg Hendricks thought it was just a regular day when the vice president of Taylor Petroleum breezed into the Radio Shack where he was working in 1983. He asked Hendricks if he liked working with computers, which he did, and brought him on board the company's pump maintenance team. Twenty-three years later, Hendricks' technology roots

suppliers reflect on industry evolution

CSD survey finds marketing, communications and wireless technology are keys to unlocking future growth. By most accounts, 10 years really isn’t all that significant a span of time. But to suppliers of convenience stores, a decadeparticularly this past decadehas been monumental in the ongoing evolution of the c-store industry and the customers it serves. During

verification they could put a finger on

John Lofstock, Editor These are strange days at Duke and Duchess Shoppes (Columbus, OH) asmore and more customers at its Ohio stores are giving employees the finger.And it's not because prices are too high or lines are too long. Rather, it'sa result of the chain's installation of cutting-edge biometric technology. Duke and Duchess, which operates

give them what they want to give

This holiday season the name of the game is convenience. With that inmind, more and more consumers are putting an end to the frenzied shopping thattraditionally accompanies the holiday season. Instead, shoppers are opting forgift cards purchased at the checkout line at local grocery, drug or, yes, conveniencestores. Gift cards accounted for more than $17

no contact for meijer

Meijer Stores Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI) is the first supercenter chain to adda contactless card payment option at its gas pumps. The chain’s 150 stores thatsell gas will have more than 1,850 fueling positions upgraded with a Gilbarco(www.gilbarco.com) contactless card system. Theintegrated system is currently the only product certified by all three majorcard companies for

Thumbs Up for Biometric Check Cashing

Roughly 610,000 consumers are using Paycheck Secure (www.paychecksecure.com ), BioPay’s biometric payroll check cashing system, at more than 400 retail locations throughout California. To date, Golden State retailers have cashed more than 5.8 million checks, totaling $2.7 billion, through Paycheck Secure since its launch in 2001. An additional 57,000 individuals in Arizona, Utah and Nevada

next stop for first stop handheld computing

First Stop Convenience Stores has implemented Pricebook Connect fromTiva Software LLC (www.tivasoftware.com),in conjunction with barcode scanners from Socket Communications Inc.(www.socketcom.com ) toimprove the speed and accuracy of order processing and information sharing forits chain of 30 stores throughout Ohio and Kentucky. Using the handheld system,First Stop has automated its inventory management process and simplified datacollection,

the tough questions

Completing parts of the hiring process by way of Web, phone or kiosk can sidestep store-level shortcuts. Faithfully performing every part of the hiring process every time youhire someone is just smart business. The problem, however, is that some hiringtasks are unpleasant and most are so repetitive that managers may be temptedto take risky shortcuts.

training with ipod

So you’ve tried training videos, Web-based resources and clunky paper manuals. Ever considered using an iPod as a training tool? It seems that just about every kid in America—not to mention a heck of a lot of adult music-junkies—owns an iPod, Apple’s pocket-size listening device that’s doing its best to turn the Walkman into an

putting a finger onbiometrics

Some retailers now accept a new form of customer payment: the human body (or at least part of it). Most people would develop an eating disorder or some other form of neurosis if people continually gave them the finger. But not Colorado’s Bob Zenner. The more people flash him their “digits,” the wider his smile.

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

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

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

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

cobranded credit

cool

A new digital badge could help increase sales, improve the execution of in-store promotions and raise awareness of your brand. Seems like you just might need some ’stinkin’ badges’ after all. Picture this: It’s Super Bowl weekend and an adult customer comes to the register with a sixpack of Bud Light. He places the package

loss leaders

New technology convinces Town & Country and WESCO Inc. that slashing losses can be just as profitable as growing sales. About three years ago, WESCO Inc. (Muskegon, MI) implemented its "Churn Busters" program as a means of slashing turnover. The savings gained from the program—the company reduced its turnover by 50% in just one year—

cashing in on credit

Rising credit card fees got you down? Some retailers have convinced many credit customers to trade down to cash. Customers using cash or a CITGO Cash Card (above) at Larry Neville’s CITGO station in Florida receive a discount on gas purchases. Some credit-card customers aren’t too pleased, but Neville says the program has been worthwhile

dynasty builders

I distinctly remember the conversation I had with Don Zietlow the day I called to confirm Kwik Trip's selection as the 2004 Convenience Store Decisions Chain of the Year: "You will have a good time doing this story," he promised, "because you will see things here that are not being done in any other convenience

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