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SAN ANTONIO – Nearly 700 Corner Store managers gathered at CST Brands Inc. headquarters here this week to sample new products they could offer in their stores, according to a MySanAntonio report. The inaugural manager training session and trade show featured new items such as tequila-lime sausages drizzled with sriracha sauce, fried chicken and shrimp, hot cinnamon rolls and new frozen drink flavors.
"You have some customers that always stick to the basics. But others really experiment with the new food," Lisa Villarreal, manager of one of the chain's San Antonio stores, told the news outlet.
Since spinning off from Valero Energy Corp. in May, CST Brands has pushed to expand its foodservice and private-label programs, possibly due to increased competition from other area convenience stores. 7-Eleven Inc., after announcing plans to return to the San Antonio area in August 2012, purchased 70 existing c-stores and planned a staggered conversion schedule. Meanwhile, Susser Holding Corp.'s Stripes c-stores are favored in the region for their Laredo Taco Co. foodservice offering.
Corner Store recently began sending bottles of sriracha to its stores for customers to use as a condiment on ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs. Other new products will expand the stores' prepared food category in the future based on consumer testing, the report noted.
The event also offered guidance on how to display products to increase sales. For instance, managers were advised to place pre-packaged lime slices near imported and Mexican beers.
"Those will sell so well," said Stephanie Patterson, a Corner Store manager from Houma, La. "My store's right next door to a hotel. We get a lot of Corona buyers, and I mean a lot."