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PECO Car Wash Systems selected for ‘World’s Greatest!’ television series

Screen Shot 2020-04-15 at 11.29.21 AMHow2Media, the producers of the television show “World’s Greatest!…” selected PECO Car Wash Systems to be a part of the popular television series.

PECO Car Wash Systems is a family run business and has been for over 50 years.  As a manufacturer, distributor and operator of carwashes, they understand all aspects of the business.  Their ultimate goal is to make their distributors and their customers, successful and profitable for the long term.  “We think their story is meaningful as well as educational to our viewers” said Gordon Freeman, Executive Producer of the show.

As part of the show, How2Media sent a film crew to spend time at the company’s facilities in the Detroit suburbs of Auburn Hills, Michigan, to find out what the story behind the story was with this great and growing company, and to show the “World’s Greatest!…” viewers why PECO Car Wash Systems was selected as the best in their category, and therefore featured on the show.

“World’s Greatest!…” is a thirty minute show dedicated to highlighting the world’s greatest companies, products, places and people.  Each show is a fast paced tour around the world featuring behind the scenes footage, informative interviews and exciting visuals.

This show, which recently aired, was Episode 278 and can be viewed online HERE, or on the PECO Website.


NCS Virtual Car Wash Convention facebook ad2

National Car Wash Solutions opens registration for groundbreaking free Virtual Car Wash Convention & Showroom

NCS Virtual Car Wash Convention facebook ad2National Car Wash Solutions, North America’s top car wash solution provider, will launch its Virtual Car Wash Convention & Showroom on April 9, which will provide on-going access for registrants to the show floor and education sessions over the next three months.  Due to risks associated with COVID-19, The Car Wash Show™, scheduled for early April in San Antonio, TX, was cancelled. Saying true to their mission of anticipating shifting trends, NCS quickly took action and developed a creative, remote solution to meet the needs of The Car Wash Show™ attendees and keep them engaged in the car wash community.

The virtual site will provide information for anyone who wants to learn more about the car wash business. It’s ideal for existing operators, new investors, C-store operators, and auto dealers. Participants will learn about new innovations, business strategies, and how to effectively compete in the marketplace to build their customer base back up.

Webinar topics will include relevant subjects such as: Rapid Recapture of you Customer Base; Fool Proof Financials; and Competitor Crusher = More Money.  Jim Belanger, GM Tunnel Solutions, said this about the Virtual Convention: “If you’re in the car wash business you know flexibility and innovation are key. NCS and our partners always meet our customers right where they are, and for now, they are hunkering down. We want to bring the best information from the brightest in the industry right to their home offices.”

The Virtual Convention & Showroom will maintain many of the benefits and perks of attending an in-person event including:

  • Networking opportunities with other owners and operators in a virtual ‘Social Lounge’
  • A virtual visit to the NCS Top Washers booth
  • Raffles and giveaways
  • Show promotions across all partner brands (MacNeil Wash Systems, Ryko Solutions, TSS Car Wash Services, Vacutech, and Clean Touch)
  • Additional saving opportunities by becoming an NCS Partner in Profit
  • Meet with the NCS team of experts on the “show floor” to discuss your business needs and solution ideas
  • Unveiling of the brand new InSite Analytics Tool

Jim Belanger went on to say: “This is an unprecedented time which calls for creative solutions from leaders in the industry; we’re seeing it as a great opportunity to expand our educational reach beyond the walls of the traditional convention center.”

Click to Register for the Virtual Car Wash Convention & Showroom.

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7 ways c-stores are catering to millennials

CTM-Inbound-Blog-April2019-CstoreMillennial-FFrom the beginning, convenience stores were ready-made to serve the youth market – with a large range of products and services specifically aimed at teens and young adults with spare change burning a hole in their pockets.

The thing is, the youth market is continually evolving. Fortunately, convenience stores have proven to be quite good at evolving alongside them.

Much has been made about millennials (who prefer to be known as ‘young adults’).

Who are millennials?

Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials represent 27.5% of Canadian population.

According to 2018 findings by international research firm Nielson, millennials are the fastest growing generation in Canada. Interestingly, since 35% live with their parents, they are under-represented in the Grocery category (scoring -23% on Nielson’s fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) index compared to other Canadians. Yet they score ABOVE the rest of the nation in the Convenience category at +103%.

This may also be driven by a tendency to shop for what they need right now versus buying items such as milk as part of a trip to the grocery store. Nielson says this is driving frequency of visits to convenience stores.

Oh, and if you believe the myth that millennials don’t have driver’s licenses (and aren’t a primary target for your convenience store) think again. DesRosiers Automotive consultants found a rise in the number of millennials who are getting their licenses. It says financial reasons may be behind later car ownership. Yet, even those who don’t own cars are likely to use tech-based alternatives such as rideshare services.

These young adults are a valuable target demographic and here are seven ways modern convenience stores are catering to millennials.

  1. Healthier food options

To compete for today’s young customers who are more health-conscious than previous generations, the convenience industry has to think beyond junk food (pop, chips and chocolate bars) and start offering healthy alternatives. This includes fresh sandwiches, fruit and salads. Also, vegan options (once considered a fringe market) have now gone mainstream.

It is also important to consider options for those with dietary restrictions, such as dairy allergies and gluten intolerance. Research shows the global market for gluten-free products have steadily grown, and is projected to reach $4.6 billion by 2020.

The good news is that today there are a growing number of manufacturers with products that are a natural fit for convenience stores: including dairy-free, gluten-free and fat-free ice cream alternatives.

  1. Rethink your drinks

Millennials have largely driven the market for sports energy drinks, which are now a mainstay in coolers across Canada – and will continue to be in high demand. Pop and slushes continue to remain popular. Emerging drink categories to keep your eye on are kombucha and cold coffee beverages.

Surprisingly, research shows millennials are also big purchasers of milk and fruit juices.

  1. Convenience store delivery

In the age of Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, even convenience store visits aren’t convenient enough for some. So, millennials are having the c-store brought to them. As one of the few options open 24/7, it makes sense. And those with a quick service restaurant or hot food offering are that much more attractive.

Many industry voices suggest there may be a demand for more diverse convenience stores to partner with delivery services for grocery items – something that large grocery chains are rapidly adopting.

  1. Think electronic accessories

Millennials live and breathe by their mobile devices. More and more stores are introducing an expanded selection of mobile device accessories: from chargers to cases to battery packs to headphones. Some stores are even opting to carry premium brands.

  1. Not your dad’s vending machine

Around the world, vending machines are offering a sophisticated array of food and beverage products: everything from sushi to fresh meat. Such options are making their way to Canada and c-store may be a logical location due to the security and 24/7 access.

  1. E-cigarettes and cannabis replacing traditional tobacco

Between health and restrictions concerning public smoking spaces, traditional tobacco products are on the decline with this group – but do remain popular with the older demographic (so you may not want to reassign all of that shelf space prematurely). E-cigarettes and accessories are replacing these products, but fall under many of the same rules for display and security.

The newly legalized Canadian cannabis market is worth keeping an eye on, to see if opportunities emerge for convenience stores. Couche-Tard is already exploring this opportunity.

  1. A green generation expects sustainable choices

Nielson found three in four millennials are willing to pay extra for products and services deemed to be sustainable. What does this mean for c-stores? It may involve a new way of thinking when it comes to finding products with more environmentally responsible packaging (avoiding overpacked products, minimizing plastic bags, and using biodegradable cups, plates and containers, for example).

“Brands that establish a reputation for environmental stewardship among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunity to not only grow market share but build loyalty among the power-spending millennials of tomorrow, too,” says Grace Farraj, SVP, public development and sustainability, Nielsen.

The definition of convenience is changing

C-store owners can’t simply stay the course to keep up with the changing demands, expectations and buying habits of this increasingly influential demographic. Fortunately, millennials put a premium on convenience – which just happens to be our wheelhouse! Always think of ways you can take convenience to the next level.

Come see us at Booth #512, Toronto CARWACS March 3 & 4, 2020

Click here to learn more from CTM Design Services Ltd. 

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Expert tips for gas site planning

shutterstock_53294923-768x512You want drivers to come to your gas station to fuel up… without getting fed up by confusing traffic flow and congestion. That is why it is important to understand what is possible on a site and to have realistic expectations as you plan your design or expansion.

Fortunately, design and engineering firms that specialize in the site and facility planning for the retail fuel sector are great problem solvers! They are professionals who bring decades of experience to your project. And they have worked with various shaped and sized lots. If there is a way to meet your vision, they will find it. At the same time, if something is simply not feasible, your design firm will be frank and upfront with you.

What will your site allow?

Three primary factors will determine what can be done on a site: the lot size, site access, and site configuration. (Municipal zoning and bylaws are a whole other conversation)

Lot size: The size and layout of a lot will determine how many structures and services you can safely fit on the lot. Parking, vehicle stacking, tanker and delivery vehicle access, number of pumps, desired facilities (eg. c-store, drive-thru, car wash) will all influence what is possible.

Site access: The proximity of the site to adjacent roadways will affect the layout. Ingress (the ability for vehicles to enter the site) and egress (the ability for vehicles to leave the site) are of primary importance. Planning will vary between a site on a highway versus one in an urban setting.

Site configuration: Your site plan will also be impacted by factors such as setbacks, utilities and right of ways.

Planning starts with vehicular access

The first thing the design team must consider is how vehicles will enter the site, navigate the site, and leave the site. Careful thought must be given to the placement of underground tanks for fueling, to ensure tanker trucks cause minimal disruption to customer traffic.

Today’s leading design firms use advanced animation software to model traffic flow. This software is integrated with the site design plans to simulate traffic movement. The design team can actually see how vehicles will move on-site: from the smallest compact car to the biggest pickup truck. Even RVs…and of course, tanker, garbage and delivery trucks! If problems or concerns are identified, the design team can revisit the drawings to come up with a solution.

This software is not only used to ensure the safe, easy flow of traffic at the pumps. It can be used to evaluate drive-thru’s, car washes and parking areas. For example, this software can determine if a two-lane drive-thru is feasible, or if the site will only allow for a single lane.

Your design team is on your side!

Well-designed sites ensure a better, safer, more stress-free customer experience – while poorly designed sites leave customers feeling frustrated and apprehensive, and can actually turn traffic away.

Your design and engineering team is committed to planning a site that balances the public need for safety with your desire for efficiency and profitability.

Click here to learn more from CTM Design Services Ltd. 

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How a single use plastics bans will effect Canadian convenience

CTM-Inbound-Blog-June2019-SingleUsePlastic-FIn 2019, the Government of Canada announced a plan to ban single-use plastics in this country by 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is a dire crisis that requires action.

“You’ve all heard the stories and seen the photos,” he said. “To be honest, as a dad it is tough trying to explain this to my kids. How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches across the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags? “How do I tell them that against all odds, you will find plastic at the very deepest point in the Pacific Ocean?”

The government announcement did not provide a detailed list of banned items. Trudeau indicated this would be forthcoming, based on scientific evidence. However, the Prime Minister did give examples of items in their sites: including several that would directly impact Canadian convenience stores.

1. Replacing plastic drinking straws

When a heartbreaking video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw in its nose went viral in 2015, it became a rallying point for a ban on single-use plastics. Starbucks and several other companies soon announced they would no longer be carrying plastic straws. It is a trend that does not appear to be waning.

In Canada alone, it is estimated close to 50 million straws are used daily. Whether a ban goes through or not, c-store owners would be wise to start looking at options: including paper, bamboo, biodegradable silicone and other materials.

2. Options to plastic cups, lids, plates, utensils and stir sticks

While cups were not specifically mentioned, all of these other items were listed by Trudeau as likely item to be banned – all of which figure quiet prominently in the average c-store operation. It is predicted there would be pressure to include polystyrene cups and plates as well.

Paper cups and plates are a logical option, as are wooden stir sticks. Products made of palm leaves and sugarcane exist. Companies around the world have even developed biodegradable, organic alternatives (some of which are edible).

3. Rethinking packaging

It has been speculated that plastic sandwich bags and plastic wrap could be included in a ban. This may affect how fresh items such as sandwiches are packaged. Disposable plastic and Styrofoam packaging may also be in the crosshairs of any ban. Expect to see paper and cardboard packaging pick up the slack.

4. Eliminating plastic bags

Up to 15 billion plastic bags are used in Canada each year. Many leading retailers have been charging customers for plastic bags for years (although most consumers shrug and pay the nickel). An outright ban would require consumers to change their mindset, and keep reusable bags handy. C-store may have to keep a supply in stock (a potential new revenue stream!)

5. Greater recycling of plastic bottles

The ocean is literally littered with plastic bottles. Organizations such as Greenpeace are calling for the phaseout of throwaway plastics – including disposable bottles. Water bottles, in particular, raise the ire of activists, as alternatives are easily available. Yet these bottles are easily recyclable.

While it is unclear what Canada would do, in the European Union, the focus is on increasing recycling more bottles vs. a ban – with a target of recycling 90% of plastic bottles by 2025. In Canada, it is estimated 65 million water bottles end up in landfills each year.

McDonald’s Canada takes an early leadership role

If you suppose the shift will be gradual, think again.

Following the PM’s declaration, McDonald’s Canada announced its first “Green Concept Restaurants” as part of its sustainability journey.

Their goal is to source 100% of all guest packaging from renewable and/or recycled materials. Two restaurants in Vancouver and London (ON) will serve as the testing ground for these packaging and recycling initiatives.

Initial packaging innovations will include Canada’s first recyclable paper cup for cold beverages, recyclable wood fiber lids (that actually double as a straw!), wooden cutlery and paper straws.

“Our Green Concept Restaurants are an exciting new innovation as part of our on-going sustainable journey,” says John Betts, President, and CEO at McDonald’s Canada.

“They are an example of how we’re able to use our scale for good and keep raising the bar on what it means to be a responsible company committed to people and the planet.”

According to James Downham, president, and CEO, PAC Packaging Consortium, when category leaders such McDonald’s spearhead change, you can be sure the shift will be felt across the industry as packaging companies jump to respond.

“We’re in a game-changing moment as industries across the planet evolve to offer consumers more sustainable packaging options. It’s incredible to see leading organizations such as McDonald’s lead the way to catalyze this change by trying new, innovative solutions to operate more sustainably and tend to our planet.”

An issue worth following

At this point, the Canadian plastic ban is merely a policy announcement. Regardless, consumers are increasingly choosing to support businesses that operate in an environmentally responsible manner. With juggernauts like McDonald’s staking their future on sustainability, the onus will be on the convenience store industry and its suppliers to adapt.

Click here to learn more from CTM Design Services Ltd. 

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Washroom design: From icky to inviting with CTM Design Services

5 washroom trends to drive traffic to your c-store

Modern bathrooms make a fresh impression with customers. 

unnamedUntil recently, the gas station washroom served a strictly utilitarian role. They were simple, plain, nothing flashy. Yet, with neglect, many had developed a reputation for being grungy – something to avoid except in the case of extreme emergency (particularly among female customers).

With the new focus on providing a higher-end service offering (such as gourmet coffee bars and in-store restaurants), standards and expectations have changed when it comes to the state of your biffy.  People are demanding a higher level of finishes and features – and a renewed focus on cleanliness. Operators who fail to modernize their washrooms risk flushing business down the drain (pardon the pun).

The changes we’ve seen in recent years have been dramatic. Many washrooms are incorporating touches of home. When discussing some of the washrooms he’d seen, one of our C-Store owners recently commented, “Some look like what you’d expect in a 5-star hotel.”

Fortunately, new laminate and tile finishes allow you to create a luxurious looking bathroom without the luxury price tag. That being said, we are also noticing that some owners are not shying away from elegant touches like granite countertops, framed mirrors, and even decorative waterfalls. These things have a high initial price tag but are often part of a larger image building strategy.

CTM’s design team can show you a variety of the latest countertops, cabinets, fixtures, tiles and flooring choices that can instantly elevate your washroom in the eyes of customers. At the same time, we focus on what is most important to you: a practical, long-lasting, easy to clean solution that fits your budget.

Here are five washroom trends we have noticed when it comes to your convenience store:

1. Tap handles are so 2010

Touchless technology is considered the defining feature of a modern washroom.

It was primarily developed for sanitary purposes – to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria that come from contact with taps, toilet handles, and towel dispensers.

However, as touchless technology has grown, many customers have come to appreciate the convenience and the “cool factor” of sleekly designed products such as the Dyson Airblade. Or the Bradley sink, which has a touchless tap, soap dispenser, and hand dryer build right into the sink – eliminating the need to walk around with wet hands.

Removing towels and containing soap to the sink is not only nice for the customers, but also make it easier for your staff to keep the washroom clean.

2. Doorless washrooms?

You’ve seen them in airports and malls… now doorless washrooms are coming to convenience stores and restaurants.

By removing doors, you eliminate the germs that can come from touching door handles. The reason owners like them is that they respect the privacy of customers, yet the airy, open design reduces loitering and discourages graffiti and vandalism.

While incredibly modern, this style of washroom design does require more space.

3. Designer toilets… designed for easy cleaning

At one time, all toilets were pretty much the same. Today we’re seeing a wide variety of designs in all shapes and sizes. For ease of cleaning, many convenience store owners are excited by new models that are wall mounted vs. floor mounted. With no base, these toilets make mopping a breeze.

Today’s toilets are also being designed to minimalize nooks and crannies: so they are easier to wipe down. A big bonus for you and your staff.

4. Divide and conquer

To discourage aspiring artists and authors, we’re starting to see new stall dividers made of scratch and graffiti resistant materials. Expect to see more options in the near future.

5. Added touches

From scent systems to candles to artwork, there are a million little things you can do to make a your washroom feel clean, contemporary and well cared for.

We’ll end with this little rule of thumb… if you’d be embarrassed to let a house guest see your washroom, you should be alarmed to have a customer view it.

Today more than ever, customers will judge you and your business on the state of your bathroom. If you don’t meet their standards and expectations, they’ll choose to go somewhere that does.

It’s one more way to design your convenience store for success.

Click here to learn more from CTM Design Services Ltd. 

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Timothy Johnson

Tim Johnson joins Greenergy in Canada as executive VP of sales

Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson

Greenergy is welcoming Tim Johnson as executive VP of sales to lead the continued growth of its fuel sales to the commercial and retail sectors in Canada.

Mike Healey, Greenergy Fuels Canada’s CEO said in a release: “Tim Johnson has over 15 year’s sales experience in the fuel industry and joins us from McDougall Energy.  He will lead a new sales team for Greenergy based out of Toronto, and work with the existing team in Saint John, New Brunswick.”

“Greenergy’s infrastructure investments, uniquely flexible supply chains and its innovative retail offer have made it a growing player in the Canadian road fuel market,” said Johnson. “The company has proven itself as a low-cost, reliable fuel supplier, and I look forward to bringing this offer to new customers.”

In business in the UK for 27 years, Greenergy is an established supplier and distributor of transportation fuels. Since entering the Canadian market in 2013, Greenergy has invested in strategic  infrastructure assets, with Ontario terminals in Concord, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Johnstown (opening fall 2019).  With both sea and rail-fed terminals and storage in the U.S. Mid-West, Quebec and Ontario, Greenergy can source product through multiple channels, which the company says minimizes dependency on any one third party provider and reduces the risk of supply disruption for customers.

Greenergy is expanding sales to the retail sector and now offers independent fuel retailers a choice of brands including Breakaway and Inver.


Tentative deal could end Saskatoon Co-op strike

UnknownA ratification vote will be held this week on a tentative agreement to end a strike by hundreds of unionized Saskatoon Co-op workers that’s dragged on for more than five months.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1,400 says the deal covering about 900 employees was reached early Sunday morning.

It followed two days of mediated talks between the union and Saskatoon Co-operative on Friday and Saturday.

Union spokesman Rod Gillies says details won’t be made public until after the ballots are cast.

The tentative agreement also covers workers in Martensville, Warman, Colonsay and Watrous who are employed in retail food, gas bar, convenience store, agro centre, home centre and car wash operations.

The workers set up pickets Nov. 1 after rejecting a company offer that included lower wages for new employees.

Both sides had accused each other of not being flexible at the bargaining table and the union had asked for binding arbitration.

The employees have been without a contract for more than two years.


Washworld

Washworld, Inc. celebrates 20 years in business

Washworld has consistently been on the cutting edge of car wash technology. As a company of car wash owners themselves, Washworld fully understands the daily challenges of running a car wash business. Read more

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Refurbish your carwash for a greener clean

Top considerations when choosing a water reclamation system. Read more