Even after its 2012 acquisition by Global Partners, gas and convenience store retailer Alliance Energy still maintains the legacy set by its founding father Abraham Slifka. Slifka founded the company as a one-truck retail kerosene business in eastern Massachusetts. In the 1960s and 1970s, a second generation of Slifkas, Alfred and Richard, grew the business into one of New England’s largest retailers of heating oil and gasoline. In 1996, the company began acquiring retail gasoline stations and convenience stores, leaving the third generation a healthy foundation to help expand Alliance into one of the largest fuel distributors in the Northeast.
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For retailers, where you sell can be just as important as what you sell. For nearly 30 years, Terraco Inc. has found ideal places for such retailers as Walgreen Co., McDonald’s Inc., Trader Joe’s and Target.
Based in Wilmette, Ill., the real-estate development and management company has developed more than 80 properties that span more than 5 million square feet. Senior Vice President Dan Wander notes that Principal Scott Gendell started the company in 1985 after founding another real estate firm.
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Loyalty to one convenience store is rare among consumers today with most of them out to find the cheapest gas pump or the best deal on sodas and snacks. To combat these changes from when the Lawrence family first opened Speedy Q Markets more than 50 years ago, the chain continues to add customer incentives that keep its doors revolving.
“The fuel market is always moving,” President Kyle Lawrence says. “It’s not an industry that all of a sudden one guy has got figured out and everyone will catch up. The guy that has it figured out today can’t be complacent because the fuel market is going to change drastically.”
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With more than 4,300 locations in North America and 90-plus years of history behind it, there's little doubt that RadioShack is a household name. Recognition is not a problem for the Fort Worth, Texas-based company, but intense competition in the consumer electronic marketplace and common public perceptions about its products and offerings have proven to be challenging to its bottom line in recent years.
“You ask somebody today about RadioShack, and they'd say that's where they go to get batteries or cables; they don't know the relevancy of whom we really are or what we really sell,” Senior Vice President of Store Concepts Michael DeFazio says. “Our demographic today is centered around the male consumer who grew up with the brand. We’re committed to expanding our audience to teens and young adults while continuing to serve our traditional customer.”
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For the past 37 years, Greg Parker has done more than build a thriving convenience store business – he’s established lasting relationships with both employees and customers. “Our success is because of the incredible team of people I work with,” says Parker, founder, president and CEO of the Parker Cos. “We’ve literally all grown up together, so we’re all wicked smart and incredibly hard-working. Everyone treats the company like it’s their own.”
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On Sundays, brothers Randal and Marcy LeBlanc, the owners of LeBlanc’s Food Stores, like to unwind by going into their stores, talking to employees and customers, stocking the shelves and working the cash registers. “They don’t fish. They don’t hunt,” daughter of Randal and Communications Director Brooke LeBlanc Knight says. “They just sell groceries.”
Although it may be uncommon for chain stores to have their CEO and COO working a cash register, it’s not at all unusual for the down-to-earth LeBlanc brothers. The two have expanded LeBlanc’s Food Stores from two to eight grocery stores in 15 years, serving the rural bedroom communities on the outskirts of Baton Rogue, La.
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Licensing for Europe is significantly different from licensing in other areas of the world. “What’s really different about Europe is it’s a much more complex market in the way that it consists of a large number of unique countries,” the Coca-Cola Co.’s Global Licensing Manager Marsha Schroeder points out. “Each country has their own language, as well as their own government and different terms for importing and exporting products. There are very specific retailers by country, and also there are some specific trends by country. For example, something that may work really well in the United Kingdom may not work well in France, and vice-versa.”
Read more: The Coca-Cola Co.
For Casey’s General Store, the key to success is not always sales. Instead, the relationships the company forms are most important, Chairman and CEO Robert J. Myers says. “Our business is always about people,” he declares.
“That’s our total focus,” he says, noting that this is reflected in Casey’s relationships with customers, employees and the other firms it partners with. “[It translates] into the great performance of the company.”
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