Parker’s Hires New Fuel Administrator

Portia Keene ParkersParker’s has hired a business economics expert as the company’s newest fuel administrator.

Portia Keene has been hired as Parker’s newest fuel administrator. Keene is now responsible for completing fuel contracts as well as maintaining a record of sales and fuel delivery diversions in all states where Parker’s conducts business.

A business economics expert, Keene excels at analyzing data and formulating recommendations to increase corporate efficiency and maximize financial success. Before joining Parker’s, she served as a lead consultant at Small Business Consulting in Savannah, Ga. While advising local business owners, she also conducted economic research with the Savannah Economic Development Authority and World Trade Center Savannah.

An avid community volunteer, Keene served as a patient advocate at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital and as a campus ambassador with the Peace Corps. As an undergraduate at Armstrong State University, she was a co-founder of the Resident Assistant Council and led a research initiative, in conjunction with the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, to improve the safety of cyclists. She was the recipient of the Yvonne English Memorial Award for academic achievement and service to the university as well as the Mary Foy Space Award for excellence in economics.

Keene earned a B.A. in Business Economics and a B.S. in Health Services Administration, summa cum laude, from Armstrong State University. Originally from Atlanta, she currently resides in Savannah.

Parker’s has been ranked on Inc.’s elite list of the top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for four consecutive years. Company President and CEO Greg Parker has been honored by the Savannah Chamber of Commerce as the Entrepreneur of the Year.

Parker’s currently operates 44 convenience stores across the region and employs 625 individuals throughout Georgia and South Carolina. The company, which completes more than 100,000 transactions daily, is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.


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QuickChek Redefines “Fresh Convenience”

QuickChekQuickChek customers can now use their smart phones to order, customize and select a convenient pick-up time for menu items.

QuickChek customers can now order from among the brand’s freshly prepared menu items in advance, using their smart phones, making it easier than ever for customers to get their hands on their favorite QuickChek menu items.

Through the QuickChek mobile app, consumers can now order custom-made sandwiches, including their famous grilled cheese recipes and wraps, in addition to the current mobile ordering line up of subs, salads and breakfast! Customer orders can be picked up at any of the fresh convenience market chain’s 143 locations throughout New Jersey, New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Customers are able to order between 5 a.m.-10 p.m. and select their desired pick up time. Orders will be prepared to coincide with the time of pickup, ensuring freshness and correct temperatures. “Our new mobile ordering enables us to provide even greater convenience for our on-the-go customers,” said QuickChek CEO Dean Durling. “The response has been very strong. This new service is adding to the experience our customers enjoy as they can customize their meal exactly as they like it without waiting in line.”

The company has received numerous technology implementation and innovation awards from the convenience industry as it continues to meet the changing needs and habits of today’s consumers while enhancing customer experience and loyalty. “Customers have told us that quality food, speedily delivered by friendly team members, is of the utmost importance,” said Durling. Durling also noted that consumers have been receiving coupons and messages on the company’s latest deals and promotions through the fresh convenience market chain’s app for the past year, allowing them to save money daily.

To place a mobile order, download the QuickChek app, enable location services, then tap the “Place Mobile Order” button. Select your nearest QuickChek or enter the zip code of the QuickChek store where you want to place your order from, and then start your order. Upon entering the store, customers can pick up their mobile order at the designated area, select any other items they wish to purchase, pay and be quickly on their way. This is the latest innovation from the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based company, a market leader in food services with an exceptional fresh coffee and fresh food program that features touch screen technology which allows consumers to create custom-made oven-toasted subs, sandwiches, wraps and salads.


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Tobacco Dollar Sales Remain Strong

omaha-seeks-7-occupation-tax-on-tobacco-products0Tobacco dollar sales remain strong, while actual volume sales are declining.

The tobacco industry remains in a difficult position as smoking rates among Americans continues to fluctuate. In order to combat declines in volume sales, most tobacco distributors are relying on strong pricing to maintain strong dollar sales in the category.

Cigarette Dollar Sales Driven by Solid Pricing
According to Nielson data, as reported by Wells Fargo Securities, during the recent four-week period ending May 21, 2016, all channel cigarette dollar sales increased 0.5%, marking a 1.4% increase for the recent 12-weeks and an increase of 2.4% for the recent 52-weeks. The recent dollar sales increase was carried by solid +3.7% pricing, which offset decelerating volume sales, which were down 3.1% in the recent four-week period.

“As should be expected, cigarette volume is showing signs of deceleration. As such, we continue to expect cigarette volume to be down closer to -2%, offset by solid mid-single digit pricing,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research, Wells Fargo Securities LLC.

Reynolds American Inc. Cigarette Dollar Sales Still Strong
According to the report from Wells Fargo Securities, Reynolds American’s dollar sales are 2.4% in the recent four-week period, strongly outpacing the industry’s 0.5% growth. Data has revealed that the increase in dollar sales is being driven by continued momentum in Newport. Reynolds American’s growth was driven by a strong 4.3% pricing increase, which was able to more than offset the 1.9% volume declines.

Wells Fargo Securities revealed the contribution that each of Reynolds American’s brands were responsible for:

  • Newport: Dollar sales up 4.2%. Newport has also gained share momentum with 44 basis points of share gains.
  • Natural American Spirit: Volume sales up an impressive 24.7% with steady pricing.
  • Camel: Dollar sales declined 0.4% on -4.8% unit volume and a tough year ago sales growth comparison (+3.6%). However, pricing remained resilient at +4.6%.

Altria Group Cigarette Dollar Sales Increased
According to Wells Fargo Securities, Nielson data revealed that Altria Group cigarette dollar sales increased 0.2% in the recent four-week period, with Marlboro retail shares showing stability, despite a tough year over year comparison.

Wells Fargo Securities reported that Altria cigarette dollar sales continue to be driven primarily by pricing (+3.1%), partially offset by soft volumes (-2.8%). Marlboro dollar sales were relatively flat on +3.2% pricing and -3.3% volume. Marlboro market share held steady on a sequential basis at 47.3%.

Imperial Tobacco Group PLC Dollar Sales Continue to Decelerate
Wells Fargo Securities reported that Nielsen data revealed that Imperial Tobacco Group has continued to post significant volume declines, including -6.2% in the current four-week period on top of -1.5% last year and -3.7% in the April period. However, Nielsen is still missing two SKUs. Weak volumes continue to be driven by sizeable volume declines in its top cigarette brands, including -2.8% Winston, -1.0% Kool and -7.9% Maverick.

Smokeless Tobacco Dollar Sales Trends Reflect Healthy Category Shifts
Nielson data revealed that smokeless tobacco dollar sales grew 4% this period, which is a marked decline from a high of 8% in December, reflecting continued shifts back into combustible cigarettes by a generally stronger adult tobacco consumer, according to Wells Fargo Securities. Data showed that Altria’s Copenhagen brand outpaced Reynolds American’s Grizzly, with Copenhagen market share, increasing 240 basis points year over year to 34.7% versus Grizzly’s increase of 20 basis points to 25.6%.

Electronic Cigarette Dollar Sales on the Rise
Wells Fargo Securities reported that Nielson data indicated that all channel electronic cigarette dollar sales have taken a turn for the better, increasing 3.2% in the recent period. This increase was driven entirely by distribution gains by Altria’s MarkTen XL, as all commodity volumes (ACVs) on non-liquid refills increased to 6.7% from 4.5% month over month, and kits/accessories increased to 5.6% from 3.4%. However, despite this recent turn, overall, electronic cigarette pricing continues to show year over year declines, reflecting the difficulty in capturing SKUs of the evolving vapor category and proliferation of vapors/tanks/mods (VTM) and refills, which tend to have lower retail prices.

Reynolds American Is Dollar Share Leader for Electronic Cigarettes
Nielson data revealed that Reynolds American’s VUSE maintained its dollar share leadership in electronic cigarettes at 36.1% versus 19% for Blu, its nearest competitor, according to Wells Fargo Securities. However, Altria was the big surprise posting a 9.8 point gain in dollar share to 16%, reflecting a 5.6 point month over month gain by MarkTen XL to 15.5% on strong distribution gains in two of its largest SKUs.


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Starbucks Takes the Reigns of the Cold Coffee Market

starbucks iced coffeeStarbucks is heating up the competition in the cold coffee market, just in time for summer.

Starbucks Corp. has laid the foundation for a new “cold bar” of coffee and espresso products, with the introduction of a new line-up of cold beverages. Affirming the company’s investment in the cold coffee category, this new menu focuses exclusively on a portfolio of cold coffees, following the great success that was encountered with the nationwide launch of Cold Brew last year in all company-owned U.S. stores.

The company has plans to bring handcrafted vanilla flavor to the original Cold Brew coffee. Additionally, Starbucks will debut a handcrafted Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice espresso beverage, along with Nitro Cold Brew in select cities.

“For over forty years we have perfected the craft of roasting and brewing the finest hot coffee and while we have always offered our customers new options in cold coffee, nothing will compare to the pace of flavor, craft and brewing innovation we will see in the next few years,” said Starbucks chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz. “The opportunity to create an entirely new cold coffee experience is limitless and our customers are already telling us that they want to meet us on this journey as cold coffee is now becoming a go-to drink.”

In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015, Starbucks reported a 20% increase in their overall iced portfolio after the introduction of Cold Brew in its retail stores and Nitro Cold Brew is currently the second highest selling beverage at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle. According to industry experts, U.S. iced coffee consumption has grown by 75% in the past decade and Cold Brew sales grew 338.9% between 2010 and 2015.

Just in time for summer, this expanded core “cold bar” menu available in participating stores in U.S. and Canada will now include:

  • Cold Brew: Handcrafted to be cold from thoughtfully selected beans, slow steeped for 20 hours, creating a balanced and smooth Cold Brew coffee with hints of citrus and chocolate.
  • Cold Brew with Vanilla Sweet Cream: Starbucks slow steeped Cold Brew topped with a float of house-made vanilla sweet cream.
  • Nitro Cold Brew: Nitro Cold Brew infuses the existing Cold Brew recipe with nitrogen to deliver a smooth and creamy sweetness you can both see and taste. Available in major cities across the U.S. later this summer, starting with Seattle, Portland, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • Traditional Iced Coffee: Freshly brewed Starbucks Iced Coffee Blend served chilled and lightly sweetened over ice.
  • Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice: Made with the rich, full-bodied espresso you love that’s been chilled and mellowed with a touch of milk and lightly sweetened.
  • Caramel Iced Macchiato: A combination of the rich, full-bodied espresso with vanilla-flavored syrup, milk and ice, topped off with caramel drizzle for an oh-so-sweet finish.

Recipes for cold coffee beverages are developed by Starbucks coffee and research teams, who taste hundreds of cups of coffee to ensure the right blend, roast and brewing method in order to create the perfect flavor profile. This process mirrors how Starbucks teams create new and limited offering hot coffee and espresso beverages, including the introduction of the Flat White in 2015 which drove sales growth of the Starbucks espresso category that was higher than it had been in the three years prior to introduction.

Starbucks ethically sources 99% of its coffee from more than 30 countries around the world, ranging from beloved favorites like Pike Place Roast to limited availability, small-lot coffees sold exclusively as part of its high-premium Starbucks Reserve brand.


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BURGER KING Introduces WHOPPER Meal Deal

2for10WhopperMeal_webreadyBURGER KING is heating up the competition this summer, as two can now eat a full meal for only $10.

BURGER KING has officially launched its new meal deal, the 2 for $10 WHOPPER Meal deal. The offer will be available at participating BURGER KING restaurants for a limited time.

The WHOPPER sandwich is made with 100% beef with no preservatives, fillers or additives, and flame grilled to give it that summer barbecue flavor. The 2 for $10 WHOPPER Meal promotion comes with two WHOPPER sandwiches, two small fries and two small drinks.

“Our flame-grilled Whoppers made with 100% beef have been bringing people into our restaurants for more than 60 years,” said Alex Macedo, president North America, for the BURGER KING brand. “This unbeatable offer gives friends and family a new reason to come in this summer and share a delicious meal at an amazing value.”

The WHOPPER sandwich is a 1/4 pound of savory flame-grilled beef topped with juicy tomatoes, fresh lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles and white onions on a sesame seed bun. The meal is completed with thick-cut, salted French fries and the refreshing beverage of the guest’s choice.


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Dunne Manning Acquires District Petroleum

hy millerMatrix has announced the successful sale of District Petroleum and related entities to Dunne Manning. 

Dunne Manning Inc. has officially closed on its acquisition of District Petroleum Products Inc. and its related entities. The transaction was advised by Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc.

District Petroleum, headquartered in Huron, Ohio, owns and operates 22 Hy-Miler convenience stores and distributes and transports motor fuels to branded dealers and marinas throughout Ohio.

District Petroleum was founded in 1951 by a group of Sandusky, Ohio industrialists that needed fuel and lubricants for their factories, boats and airplanes. District Petroleum eventually made the decision to contract with Shell Oil Co. for all of its petroleum needs, and in the early years operated as a small jobbership, distributing gasoline to a few dealer-operated locations, as well as selling fuel oil to home heat customers and lubricants to industrial accounts. With gasoline marketing beginning to change with the advent of self-serve gasoline and competitive street pricing, the Hy-Miler brand was born in 1976. Hy-Miler then became the name of the convenience store chain as new stores were added.

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to District Petroleum, which included valuation advisory, marketing of District Petroleum through a customized, confidential, structured sale process and negotiation of the transaction. The transaction was co-managed by Spencer Cavalier, managing director and Thomas Kelso, managing director and head of the Downstream Energy & Retail Team. Sean Dooley, vice president, and Christian Klawunder, associate, also advised on the transaction.

“This was a tough process; bittersweet. I could not imagine attempting to navigate these waters without the knowledge and support of Matrix and their team of professionals,” said Scott Stipp, president of District Petroleum.

“Mike and Scott Stipp, along with their chief financial officer, Timothy Donnelly, and vice president of retail, Gary Gockstetter, have built a very strong company over the decades, and we were honored to advise the shareholders through a complex transaction that resulted in a highly successful exit from the industry and the monetization of significant family capital,” Cavalier added.

Russell Rosler, Frank Zonars, Kristin Watt and Theodore Smith of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, served as legal counsel for District Petroleum.


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