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TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Independent and small-chain retailers from the southern tier of New York State gathered yesterday, Dec. 3, for the first-ever “Building Blocks for Neighborhood Retailers” event, held in the Hudson Valley and sponsored by the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS).
The event featured nearly a dozen free workshops for owners, operators and managers of convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, bodegas, newsstands, smoke shops and college stores, as well as a product sourcing exhibit area.
One of the best-attended workshops at the conference was basically a beginner’s primer on how to operate a convenience store. Attendees to the “Convenience 101” session were provided with a checklist of the myriad details and procedures that need to be followed to keep a c-store business humming.
“Retail is detail,” commented presenter Rick Theilig, general manager of CPD Energy Corp., which operates more than 200 convenience stores and gas stations in the Tri-State area.
While Theilig noted that there are many reasons a new business may fail, he said the four pillars of success are: safe, clean and friendly stores; inventory management; environmental compliance; and training.
In an afternoon session headed by Convenience Store News Editorial Director Don Longo, attendees were provided with single-store owner sales and performance data against which they could benchmark their own businesses. Longo also walked attendees through five case studies of how independent retailers competed successfully against larger chain competition, citing recent cover stories from Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner magazine.
Other free workshops included:
- Maximizing Your Lottery Program
- Making the Candy Category Even Sweeter
- Managing Gas Station Environmental Compliance
- Risks and Rewards of Money Services
- Preserving Your Right to Sell Tobacco
- The Generator Mandate: Your Options
- Strengthening Tech Ties With Suppliers
NYACS President Jim Calvin was pleased with the event and described it as a “building block” for future regional events.
The inaugural “Building Blocks for Neighborhood Retailers” conference was co-sponsored by CSNews for the Single Store Owner, Altria Corp., McLane Co. and Swisher International Inc.