CANADA’S CAR WASH & PETROLEUM MAGAZINE
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Shine Auto Wash expands it’s reach in BC’s Lower Mainland
Loyalty breeds sales CCentral.ca
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& EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER TAP & WASH PAYMENT NOW HERE!
SUPERIOR PRODUCTS UNMATCHED SERVICE MONDO PRODUCTS manufactures and distributes a complete line of concentrated chemicals and equipment for the car wash industry. Mondo is the largest supplier of vehicle washing chemicals in the Canadian marketplace and has built its reputation on supplying superior products at the lowest cost with unmatched service.
MONDO PRODUCTS COMPANY LIMITED www.mondo-products.com 2| | March 2018 695 Westney Road South, Ajax, Ontario L1S 6M9 | 1.800.465.5676
July / August 2018
Volume 23 | Number 4
CANADA’S CAR WASH & PETROLEUM MAGAZINE
08 ADVERTISERS Cantest Solutions Inc........................................5 Forte Products.................................................12 Furever Clean Dog Wash.................................12 Mondo Products Co. Ltd..................................2 Oasis Car Wash Systems, Inc......................15,17 OPW, a Dover Company................................. 14 Pumps & Pressure Inc......................................12 SoBrite Technologies...................................... 10 Vacutech, Inc................................................... 11 Wash Tech........................................................12 WashLinks....................................................... 10 Washworld, Inc................................................18
CONTENTS 04 Editor’s Message Commonsense security 06 CFIB Fighting for small business... and winning 07 CIPMA Smart fuelling drives change 08 More shine Shine Auto Wash expands it’s reach in BC’s Lower Mainland
16 Breeding Loyalty Over 90% of Canadian households are involved in a loyalty program. Is your car wash or gas bar in the game? 19 Product News 20 CCA Industry Forum Q1 Wash Volume Reports show strong growth
13 COVER STORY Contactless Pay New technology is pushing old style payment techniques out the door
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20 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON M4R 1K8 (416) 256-9908 | (877) 687-7321 | Fax (888) 889-9522 www.CCentral.ca PRESidENT, ENSEMblEiQ CANAdA Jennifer Litterick | email@example.com ViCE PRESidENT/GENERAl MANAGER, EVENTS & MARKETiNG Michael Cronin | firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial EdiTOR, CSNEWS CANAdA Jane Auster | email@example.com
Commonsense security Every year the world’s community of computer hackers and digital industry insiders gather at The Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. At last year’s event Billy Rios, a global expert on emerging threats related to industrial control systems, and Jonathan Butts, committee chair for the IFIP (International Federation for Information Processing) Working Group on Critical Infrastructure Protection, stood to tell the audience that devices from our home appliances to complex industrial systems could be easily compromised through their web-based software. The Internet of Things (IoT) is now becoming pervasive and the threat to systems is real. As a demonstration, Rios and Butts showed the vulnerability of car wash sites to exploitation. They designed a scenario where a car wash system could physically attack customers. “We think this is the first exploit that causes a connected device to attack someone,” said Rios at the event. The pair gained entry to the wash control system through remote access software that permitted car wash site owners to remotely operate and supervise their equipment. According to the presentation, Butts and Rios were able to enter the computerized wash controller by using the factory installed default password (1,2,3,4,5,6) that had not been changed by the wash site operator after setup. The demonstration showed them bypassing the safety sensors on the car wash doors and then closing them on a car entering the facility. Taken further, Butts suggested that once they gained control of all the machinery inside the wash they could do further damage by lowering rollers fast and hard against cars on the conveyor. Simple solution was to change the password on the controller. Both Butts and Rios were amazed at how many times they were able to access car wash sites through the unchanged default password. There were some other issues with the manufacturer using legacy Windows software that was unpatchable and which made it easy to find security glitches. The manufacturer corrected this after the presentation made them aware of the problem. My point here is that security is serious business, and while operators fill stores and gas bar sites with expensive surveillance equipment and antitheft devices, failing to use simple commonsense measures can render many security tools useless. Good passwords are cheap. Change them often.
EdiTOR, Octane Kelly Gray | firstname.lastname@example.org ONLINE EDITOR Nikki Lockington | email@example.com TRANSLATION | Danielle Hart advErtising salEs SALES REPRESENTATIVE Elijah Hoffman | firstname.lastname@example.org SAlES & EVENTS COORdiNATOR Claudia Castro (on leave) DESIGN AND production diRECTOR OF PROduCTiON & dESiGN CANAdA Derek Estey | email@example.com PRODUCTION MANAGER Michael Kimpton | firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR | Christian Lemay AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Lina Trunina | email@example.com WEB OPERATIONS MANAGER Valerie White | firstname.lastname@example.org CORPORATE OFFICERS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN | Alan Glass ChiEF EXECUTIVE OFFiCER | David Shanker Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer Richard Rivera
Chief Brand Officer | Korry Stagnito President, Enterprise Solutions | Terese Herbig CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER | Joel Hughes ChiEF huMAN RESOuRCES OFFiCER | Jennifer Turner Senior Vice President | Tanner Van Dusen SUBSCRIPtion services Subscriptions: $65.00 per year, 2 year $120.00, Outside Canada $100.00 per year, Single copy $12.00, Groups $46.00, Outside Canada Single copy $16.00. Email: email@example.com Phone: 1-844-694-4422, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST weekdays Fax: 1-844-815-0700 / Online: www.ccentral.ca/subscribe LICENSING AND REPRINTS Please contact Wright’s Media | firstname.lastname@example.org 1-877-652-5295 CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is published 6 times a year by EnsembleIQ. CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is circulated to managers, buyers and professionals working in Canada’s convenience, gas and wash channel. Please direct inquiries to the editorial offices. Contributions of articles, photographs and industry information are welcome, but cannot be acknowledged or returned. ©2018 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying and electronic retrieval/retransmission, without the permission of the publisher.
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Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Fighting for small business... and winning At CFIB, our councellors handle tens of thousands of calls every year. They serve as a first line of defence for business owners, whether our members are being audited or have a question about regulations.
Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
About 10 years ago, we noticed an alarming trend in those calls. Countless business owners were calling about their frustrations with the high cost of accepting electronic payments – how they felt like they had no power to stand up to multi-billion-dollar credit card brands.
This was followed by a new deal we signed earlier this year, reducing American Express fees for our members by 50 per cent. Instead of paying 3 to 3.5 per cent to accept Amex, small businesses using our new deal delivered by Chase will pay just 1.8 per cent for most transactions.
Between steep fee hikes and predatory contracts, owners could barely afford credit card processing fees, but they felt powerless to refuse one of their customers’ preferred payment methods.
These exclusive rates are one of the key things we bring to organizations like the Canadian Carwash Association, which signed a group membership agreement last year. The CCA knows its members inside and out, and represents them very well on industry issues. But in dealing with issues like the high cost of payments (or tax policy or labour legislation), true strength is found in numbers, and working under the umbrella of CFIB’s 110,000 members can help. This gets small business issues on the agendas of big players like Mastercard or Amex – or, for that matter, with governments. That’s why we’ve joined forces.
So, as CFIB has done dozens of times in our 46-year history, we fought back. We worked with government and payments industry leaders to call for better treatment for small business owners, including an end to the flood of premium cards and options for merchants when fees went up. The fight was long and difficult, but several remarkable achievements came out of it. A uniquely Canadian approach – the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry – was adopted, and began to change the marketplace for the better. With the code, which CFIB proposed and first drafted, merchants gained some power in their dealings with card brands, banks and payment processors. The Code also provided a dispute-resolution platform and undid some of the damage caused by unfair contracts. The code has been amended to cover new technologies, and was joined by another positive move from the credit card companies: Visa and Mastercard reduced their fees by about 10 per cent for all merchants and froze their average fees for five years. Those two crucial victories for small business owners led us to a landmark announcement in 2017. Last year, my association was able to sign a first-of-its-kind deal with Mastercard, giving our 110,000 small business members access to the same rates that some of the largest merchants in Canada pay. That meant a 12.5 per cent cut on most transactions, and up to 22 per cent on premium card sales. Priceless!
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In addition to the lower rates they’ll now pay on many debit and credit transactions, members of the Canadian Carwash Association also gain a powerful tool: a voice in our legislative positions. We take our cues directly from our 110,000 members, who tell us what issues are top of mind for them, and what policies would allow them to succeed. They also tell us, through those same calls that sparked the credit card issue 10 years ago, what daily challenges they face. Whether that’s a hydro bill that doesn’t make sense or a difficult HR issue they can’t solve alone, we can help them navigate any issue and let them get back to running their business. We’ve come a long way since the credit card fight got started back in the late 2000s. But there are dozens of other issues they face: an onerous regulatory burden; rising payroll taxes; shifting labour laws in many provinces. And as payments continue to evolve, more work will be needed to protect the interests of merchants. Just like the early days of the credit card fight, we’re fighting for businesses on those issues. And when the next one flares up, we’ll be here for them. Just like we always have been. OCTANE CCentral.ca
Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association
Smart fuelling drives change They say if you don’t innovate, you get left behind. In essence, you become ‘yesterday’s story.’ With this thinking front of mind, we are facing a critical time for the retail petroleum marketing sector. Governments, more than ever before, are focused on reducing emissions on a national level, and phasing in fuel alternatives and zero emission vehicle mandates coupled with attractive tax incentives. While some are making prophecies about the demise of retail petroleum marketing in the coming decades, don’t be so fooled. The time is now for the sector to step up and demonstrate its leadership in sustainability and innovation.
Jennifer Stewart, President and CEO, Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association
And, this is what we’re doing. As a sector, we are committed to being the voice for independent petroleum marketers, and are working to change public perceptions than can, at times, be negative. One example of this positive direction is a program launched by the Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (CIPMA) in partnership with the Canadian Fuels Association (CFA) and the Canadian Convenience Store Association (CCSA), called Smart Fuelling – a consumer education campaign aimed at reaching the consumer at the gas pump to educate them. This program, as many do, came to rise at a time of great importance for our industry – when government regulation and policy development were seemingly hyper focused on the petroleum sector. Shifting public opinion away from the perception that retail outlets are simply a product of big oil and not invested in helping Canadians reduce their carbon footprint was critical to the formation of Smart Fuelling, its messaging and its general consumer-facing engagement.
A significant part of the program is helping Canadians realize that they don’t need to give up driving, but they can change how they drive, and when they drive, to contribute to a healthier environment. Fossil fuels will continue to power vehicles in Canada for at least the next several decades; driving smarter is one part of the solution to reduce Green House Gases (GHG). Smart Fuelling is now in place in a number of municipalities across Canada. In addition to this program, our sector is also making other important strides. Significant progress has already been made in reducing emissions at refineries, nearly eliminating sulphur in gasoline, and making vehicles significantly more efficient. We have come a long way. Reducing transportation GHG emissions is a complex challenge that impacts vehicles, consumers and fuels. Further vehicle technologies, investments in public transit, alternative fuel vehicles and consumer behaviour will all drive reductions in transportation emissions and will all play a role in a greener tomorrow. However, this change needs to be championed by leaders in industry to make sure our voice is heard, and that the innovation of our industry sectors is seen and realized. OCTANE
The genesis of the industry collaboration lies in stickers at gasoline pumps and in retail outlets, with the goal of educating Canadians on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by altering their driving habits through proactive means and measures. We wanted this at-a-glance information to be positive and tangible, with very easy and applicable tips that drivers could adopt in their daily lives.
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More shine This Vancouver-based wash operator grows through innovation and automation Text by Kelly Gray | Photography by Phillip Chin
A few years ago we offered readers a story on a remarkable operator in BC’s lower mainland who was raising the bar in car wash by marrying 24-hour automated vehicle clean with self storage facilities. The operator is Shine Auto Wash and alongside Storguard Self-Storage they have grown from two sites, Vancouver and Burnaby, to a three-unit chain over nearly 10 years with the opening of their latest location in Coquitlam this past fall (2017). The new Coquitlam Shine Auto Wash location is on a three-acre parcel bracketed between major roadways with more than 165,000 passings of dedicated traffic each day. It’s also adjacent to big box
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retailers such as IKEA, Home Outfitters and Bed Bath & Beyond. With Vancouver property values hitting close to $25 million per acre, Auto Wash sites have to pay and Shine Auto Wash is making
the grade through operations that are among North America’s busiest thanks to equipment innovation, experience and visibility. With breathtaking glass and steel architecture, these sites really stand
out. Small wonder the Vancouver location is among North America’s top 1% of car wash sites with throughput around 2,500 cars on a busy day. Coquitlam is expected to be not far behind as business grows during its first year in operation. According to Paul Facciol, vice-president, Shine Auto Wash and Storguard Self Storage, it all comes down to getting control of the basics. “We did our homework up front and have been able to fine tune as we’ve moved forward,” he says, adding that their experience has allowed them to make many adjustments to the wash process that have helped make them customer favourites. For example, rather than use a low pressure detergent bath at
Vice-President Shine Auto Wash and Storguard Self Storage
the front end, cars are greeted with a high pressure rinse to take off road grime and prep the vehicle for wash greatness. The new Coquitlam location offers an express friction wash with a dual 200 ft tunnel with two 165 ft conveyors, each fed by its own stacking radius and two pay stations per tunnel. Equipment is from Sonny’s and was sourced through Canada-based WashLinks. “Bill Barber and his crew from WashLinks supplied our equipment and performed the instal-
lation and support with a highly experienced team,” says Facciol, adding that Shine also uses the services of a full-time mechanic to keep the equipment at their three sites running at optimum capacity with steady maintenance programs and innovative tweaks here and there to optimize performance. Facciol reports tunnel controllers, motor control centres and POS are from Innovative Control Systems (ICS). “We’ve noticed a decrease in the use of cash
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payments, so we’ve adopted a variety of payment options such as prepaid cards, Apple Pay and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) for fleet accounts. For example, Vancouver Police vehicles all have Shine Auto Wash RFID stickers on their windshields that allow vehicles to drive through our sites without any pay station interaction. It’s all electronic and easy for customers who don’t want the hassle of coins or bills.”
Shine also uses NEOGLIDE technology to maximize wash results. Manufactured by Kirikian Industries of Hamilton Square, New Jersey, the NEOGLIDE closed cell foam brush is the invention of Art Kirikian, a man who ran wash sites in the US for decades and sought a better clean from his equipment. His development has since earned acknowledgment from Mercedes Benz, a company that sees this system offering a better
clean than hand washing. According to Facciol, they read a report on the technology from Mercedes and were sold on the system. “Mercedes showed us that hand washing actually grinds grit into the paint surface while NEOGLIDE flings grit and dirt away from the car during its 360-degree rinsed brush rotation.” NEOGLIDE inhibits water absorption and resists grit and dirt becoming imbedded into the brush continued on page 11
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material. The result is extremely gentle on current model soft clearcoat vehicles. Environmental kindness is all part of the package. Shine uses earth-friendly soaps from Zep and its Canadian distributor ChemTec West. They also turned to SoBrite for water reclaim. “BC has some of the toughest water regulations in North America. Our system reclaims over 80% of the wash water for re-use,” he says, noting that they use computerized metering for accuracy and keep reclaimed clean water in underground storage tanks at each site as well as utilize a series of 6000 gallon settling tanks to separate unwanted particulates. Shine offers four wash packages, Bronze ($8), Silver ($13), Gold ($15) and Platinum ($18), as well as á la carte offerings such as vacuum tokens, Extreme Shine Wax, Rain X, and Tire Shine. Facciol says that the premium Platinum service is a very popular seller in Vancouver’s downtown location and a growing leader in Coquitlam.
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While the service is hitting all the right notes, the design of the buildings is also working to attract sales. “Our amazing architecture has been a solid draw for business. The glass and steel design is hard to ignore and really stands out as a great calling card. Even the stainless steel arches on the vacuum lots are impressive,” he says, noting the stainless steel Vacutech self-serve vacuum systems that contribute to both the capability and the overall design. “We are very particular with the aesthetics of each location and the overall design. Everything has to fit.” Each component of the business is collaborative. “We get lots of exposure with our storage customers stopping in for a car wash when they visit their lockers and others who visit the wash might decide to rent some storage space. There is a great back and forth here. The combination of our tremendous visibility, our high standard of building and site design, and the quality of our wash all work to create a successful formula,” says Facciol, inviting people to stay tuned for their next location coming soon to a site in BC’s lower mainland. OCTANE
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New contactless payment technology is pushing old style payment techniques out the door Text by Kelly Gray
The American Automobile Association projects there will be more than 70 million digitally connected vehicles on US roads by 2022. In a Canadian context this translates into about 7 million cars and trucks that will be fully connected to the Internet and capable of making digital payments at gas bars, car washes, parking sites, and even c-stores as vehicles join the growing list of appliances, machines, and tools that are fully hooked into the digital world in what is now known as the Internet of Everything. Ford announced this year that is working with Exxon to integrate the fuel company’s SpeedPass payment feature into its vehicles’ in-car capabilities. Currently, customers who use SpeedPass pump gas and then pay with a quick tap of the card on dispenser readers. Soon, Ford’s motor products will allow drivers to fill and leave with payment handled by cloud-based onboard systems. At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Honda showed off its new platform for cloud-based in-car payment. At the show Honda teamed with Gilbarco Veeder-Root to show
how car and dispenser communicate. With this new technology drivers pull up to fueling sites and are recognized via the on-board app. Gas is paid for automatically using cloud-based Visa Checkout. The evolution is now away from plastic cards and their EMV chips to digital mobile hosts and the security and convenience they provide. For example, smartphone technology now permits devices to be used as payment tools at pump readers and in store. Mobile hosts such as Apple Pay, PayPal and others like Visa CheckOut take care of the accounting.
Car wash has been an early adopter Car wash sites have already been using apps and contactless payment solutions to drive business for a couple of years. Currently, Shell uses an app developed by Kesseltronics Systems, a division of PDQ Manufacturing to offer service to its car wash customers. The Shell app will not allow for gas purchase (in Canada), but customers can select a wash service and pay by credit card on the app after registering through in-store purchase of a wash card. Petro-Canada offers a similar program.
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Exacta introduced their app product at this year’s ICA show. The new mobile product allows the capability for wash sites to brand the app and make it their own. Payments for subscription, pay-perwash and wash activation can be made through a user’s smart phone. Unique is the app’s customer retention capability where games, photo filters, e-gift cards and referral bonuses are all included as value added components that reward customers for their loyalty. Valet Car Wash sites in Ontario have looked to CarWash Connect for an app that combines loyalty-inspiring features with quick contactless payment options. Using CarWash Connect, Valet was able to develop its own unique app and use it to attract business. Valet’s managing partner Mike Black says credit card data and customers’ personal profiles are stored on their new app that has attracted more than 300 dedicated users since inception this year. Once payment is made online via the app, all customers have to do is show up and enter the code (sent to their phone) into the pay terminal. The idea with apps is to get away from coins and bills and let the webbased software do the heavy lifting.
Another good case in point is My Wash Pass from Oasis Car Wash Systems. With this app, customers download and register their personal information including credit card. On their smartphones customers then open the app, select the wash package and drive to the facility where licence plate readers determine the identity of the customer and tell the system to open their account and let them into the tunnel. When the wash is done the app makes the payment using the registered credit card. These apps offer easy, trackable service that also lets operators learn about customer preferences. ICS (Innovative Control Systems) is offering WashNow, a new mobile app that has a lot of capability. The company reports WashNow allows operators to sell services anywhere and at anytime, improves throughput thanks to prepaid functionality, and is a site-wide solution that can control tunnel wash, self service bays and vacuums. Mondo has teamed up with MONEXgroup to utilize MONEXgroup’s proprietary Tap & Wash solution, a product specifically designed to meet the demands of the traditional “coin carwash”. Launched at Oshawa Parkway
Tap & Wash defies a car wash’s harsh interior and uses a variety of mobile utilities Coin Car Wash in 2016, the Contactless Only (tap only) terminal is ruggedized and waterproofed to allow it to withstand the direct spray of a high pressure water jet, high moisture conditions, as well as frigid temperatures as cold as minus -20ºC. Tap & Wash has been a welcome addition to the industry’s tool chest because car wash environments are such that they make swipe and insert technologies that are inherently vulner-
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able to water damage and harsh outdoor conditions, virtually impossible to use. Tap & Wash works with mobile utilities, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as Visa, Mastercard and Interac. What started off as a pilot location in Oshawa, has now flourished into carwash installations across Canada. MONEXgroup has also been successfully utilizing their proprietary Contactless Only solution within the air & vac, parking, apartment laundry, vending and micropayment, charity, and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging industries. Their technology has definitely taken off, with over 2,000 devices deployed in 2017, and another 3,000 planned for 2018. At sites such as Valet and Vancouver’s Shine Auto Wash as well as at a host of other operations across the country, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags are another popular method of offering contactless payment solutions. Paul Facciol, vice president of Shine Auto Wash, reports that customers such as the Vancouver Police Department prepay via credit card over Shine’s app and have RFID stickers placed on windshields to allow drivers to just show up when they need a car wash. The RFID sticker allows Shine’s computers to recognize the customer and operate the gate and wash system. Exacta’s RFID program is one of the most established. Tags are fully customizable with operators able to set time and date of use as well as location. Customers can pre-pay, post-pay or subscribe to a monthly service and operators can analyze data to learn about customers and how they use the site and its services. Tags can be purchased using one of Exacta’s devices such as their EMV Cashless Teller. Cashless and contactless transactions are now becoming the norm. Customers tap and app for purchases in ever greater numbers. By 2022 there will be five billion global users of cashless technology of which many will utilize contactless payment. Is your site ready to take advantage of this major switch? OCTANE
The idea with apps is to get away from coins and bills and let the web-based software do the heavy lifting
Over 90% of Canadian households are involved in a loyalty program.
Is your car wash or gas bar in the game? Text by Kelly Gray
Frequency is the result of loyalty. When you have loyal customers you know who they are. When you know your customers you can give them what they want. When they get what they want, they come back for more and they trust your service menu, which means the opportunity to increase sales further. How well do you know your customers? Establishing a loyalty program is the first step is finding out who is stopping by and what their unique needs might be. Indeed, retailers of all stripes love loyalty programs because they deliver insight into customer shopping habits. Loyalty gets people to your business. What you do with them afterward determines sales.
Five examples of best (and not so best) practices in loyalty VIP lanes Make your customers feel special with a VIP subscription. The Top Gear Carwash in Stouffville, Ont. has been offering VIP lane service to a growing number
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of customers. The site has been open for about six years and today numbers more than 300 members in the VIP program. According to manager Michael Angelovski, customers use an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) sticker to access the site. “It’s a great deal for customers. VIP subscription washes are about one-third the cost of buying separately. We have been
growing business through convenience, value and attention to detail. Our VIP customers just pull up to the gate and within eight seconds they are in the wash. Then, I monitor each car via high definition camera system as it goes through to make sure each wash is perfect,” he says, adding that they work hard to earn customer loyalty and the VIP package is just one example.
Community engagement From community club hockey team support and fundraising for local healthcare projects to assisting the needy with food drives, community engagement raises a business’s profile to higher heights. Communities appreciate the support and business achieves a significant halo that translates into considerable goodwill from customers. At Edmonton-based Hughes Petroleum, an operator with 20 automatic wash sites and 250 self-service wash bays in addition to convenience stores and bulk fuel sites, they donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to organizations from the Art Gallery of Alberta and The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation to sports teams and community events. According to Darren Hughes, vice president of operations at Hughes Petroleum, giving back to the community is payback enough. However, he reports that for more than 20 years they have been partnering with Goodwill Industries, a community organization that offers job training and other services to the disadvantaged. “Out of everything else that we sell for car wash supplies, Goodwill’s Cleaning Cloths are our number one seller,” says Hughes. “It’s not charity we’re doing. It’s a good business.” Goodwill Industries’ Commercial Services produces cleaning cloths from donations of cotton and terry cloth products that cannot be sold in Goodwill’s charity stores.
Walk the talk You are only as good as your last car wash. Loyalty is earned one customer at a time. When you say car wash, customers expect their cars to be cleaned. When this doesn’t happen, loyalty is lost. For example, at a Winnipeg branded car wash location where a recent visit had the system fail to rinse detergent off the hood of the car, the clerk was unwilling to allow a second wash but agreed after seeing how bad the service was. The second wash was no better and a refund was out of the question. When the assistant manager was told there were lots of choices for car wash in the area and this banner had lost the customer’s business, she told the customer she believed they were not really obligated in any way to properly clean the car, but only offer the service as described.
There’s an app for that Convenience is a key driver of car wash sales. The more convenient the offering the greater customer loyalty will be. At Valet Car Wash, Ontario’s largest independent branded tunnel wash chain with 10 locations, they have just launched a new app to make payment as easy as surfing the Internet from the living room couch. The new Valet Car Wash app, developed using tools from CarWash Connect, is available free via places such as Google Play and the Apple Store. The app can tell users the nearest location, types of service available and cost. Promotions and special offers are built in to make the app a good value equation for customers. Credit card data and personal profile are stored
on the app, making it as easy as a one-button selection. Once payment is made, all customers have to do is show up and enter the code (sent to their phone) into the pay terminal to receive a wash. Users earn points when purchasing washes, which can later be redeemed for free washes. According to Valet Car Wash managing partner Mike Black, the company had been in discussion with the app developers for a considerable period to make sure there would be no bugs and offer their customers a seamless experience. He adds that in time the app will enable the wash site controllers to be accessed remotely and activate only when a customer is ready for a car wash. Valet offers a full slate of loyalty-building services that create greater customer frequency. For example, they feature an unlimited wash pass that starts at less than $10 a month for express and $19.95 for premium service. There are no restrictions or contract. Customers receive either a card to use at readers or RFID stickers to be placed on windshields. The unlimited wash feature is also being integrated in the wash app for even greater speed and convenience. Valet also offers Value Cards for prepaid service in three designations that can be purchased on Valet’s website.
alcohol, and alcohol-related gift cards. “We heard loud and clear that our customers want a program that’s easy to understand, simple and intuitive, and, most of all, a program that gives great value for their Petro-Points,” says Deborah Gullaher, vice president sales and marketing at Suncor. Canada’s largest gas supplier, Suncor has now teamed with RBC, Canada’s largest financial services provider, to offer value-laden linkages to their customers with an eye to enhancing loyalty to both brands. Under the new program customers can pay with any of the linked RBC debit or credit cards to instantly save 3¢ on every litre of fuel at Petro-Canada sites, and customers can use the same linked RBC cards to redeem Petro-Points. OCTANE
A winning one-two
Easy-to-use programs that people understand At Co-op locations in Western Canada customers are owners and earn profits in the form of a rebate cheque once per year. Last year members earned 6.82 cents a litre in loyalty bonuses for gas (members also earn 2% on grocery and 5% on pharmacy purchases). At one Co-op brand, Red River Co-op, 280,000 cheques were mailed last year to members for more than $23 million in annual payouts. Suncor, experiencing customer dissatisfaction with the Petro-Points loyalty program, has sought to improve its capability with features and partnerships. Now every dollar spent or litre purchased equals 10 points and 1,000 points redeemed equals one dollar off anything they sell except tobacco,
Create loyalty though great customer service and a winning program that learns about the customer’s needs.
Drive frequency by promoting meaningful services to your loyal customers.
Product NEWS PRODUCTS, EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES Your Sonny’s Distributor in BC We join Sonny’s for their commitment to share experiences by offering the best equipment and training in the industry at the lowest possible cost. Our mission is to provide quality information on new ventures, site evaluations, or car wash upgrades. With our 20 years of experience we will be pleased to guide you from breaking ground, to success and profit. Pierre Roy 604.417.9850 soleilcws.com
IoT Solutions for Automated Site Risk Management Oasis Technology was founded in 2017 as a subsidiary of Cantest Solutions Inc. devoted to Enterprise Internet of Things. Our three brilliant and robust solutions address the needs of Smart Security, Environmental Intelligence, and Personal Automation. We have over 20 years of experience in environmental testing and monitoring. This has allowed us to build smart cost-effective and durable solutions to real-world problems. All Oasis products are designed with networking, cooperative, and coordinated functionality in mind.
Never run out of propane. Ever. A partnership with MIGHTY FLAME guarantees your cylinder inventory never falls below 40% 50% full. With automatic delivery of cylinders to your retail outlet, the MIGHTY FLAME Replenish Point Guarantee promises you’ll never have to think about your supply again. GUARANTEED. The MIGHTY FLAME brand and your location – Right on the Way Home to hundreds of neighborhood BBQ grills – is the perfect propane cylinder exchange partnership. MIGHTY FLAME. Service. Quality. Delivered. 1.877.438.6444 mightyflame.com
Undercarriage Cleaner Hurricane Pro Whether it is a car, a municipal vehicle or a boat, The Undercarriage Cleaner Hurricane Pro (HURp) is built for the cleaning task. Thanks to the adjustable cleaning head users can also wash the sides of their vehicles. The HURp comes equipped with stabilizer nozzles. By adding air to the water stream this special feature generates a compact and strong water stream over a wide distance. It enables the cleaning of vehicles with big chassis clearance without pressure loss. Three big 360° casters make the HURp easy to maneuver, even on uneven surfaces. The undercarriage cleaner can be used up to 275bar with a hot or cold water high pressure pump. 844.384.1602 mosmatic.com
Aerodry Aerodry, the choice for performance, reliability with low sound levels for sensitive locations. Low amp draw reduces energy costs. High quality components for harsh environments. Systems available for types of car/truck/transit operations. Maintenance-free. Guaranteed to be neighborhood, employee and operator friendly. Aerodry, the obvious choice!. 303.438.0120 aerodrysystems.com
SUPPLIERS, WHAT’S NEW IN YOUR PRODUCT LINE? Contact ELIJAH HOFFMAN at 647.558.0103 or firstname.lastname@example.org to promote your product, equipment or service here. CCentral.ca
July / August
CARWASH CARWASH ASSOCIATION ASSOCIATION
Brad Baldwin – Mike Dietrich –
Zep VehICle CAre InC.
pArklAnD Fuel CorporAtIon
Domenic DiMonte – terry Fahey –
Crosstown CAr wAshes
Brad Goetz –
MonDo proDuCts Co. ltD.
Alex Grieve – jason kaye –
VAlet CAr wAsh
BAyVIew CAr wAsh ltD.
sean McBride –
CleAnInG systeMs InC.
kirsten potvin –
rudy van woerkom –
Auto n truCk wAsh
Mark Vella –
NATIONAL OFFICE Finance Director Karen Dalton cae operations Director Kiki cloutier Manager Membership elizabeth Tang
Q1 Wash Volume RepoRts shoW stRong gRoWth he 2018 first quarter results of the Wash Volume Report (WVR) released by the Canadian Carwash Association show that the Canadian average revenue per site tof $101,294 was 26% higher compared to the first quarter of last year. Average cycles per site at 11,874 were up 12% compared to the 2017 first quarter results while the average revenue per cycle of $8.53 was 13.4% above last year’s Q1 results. New in 2018, CCA Members now have exclusive access online to three years (12 quarters) of results by province or region. In addition, average precipitation data in millimetres has been added to the average cycles per site charts by province or region which shows the clear impact of weather on carwash operations. Undertaken for the CCA by Kent Group Ltd., a research firm specializing in the gas station and car wash industry, the WVR is AVERAGE CYCLES PER SITE - ONTARIO a national quarterly survey of carwash sites. Members of the CCA may participate in the WVR program and receive results specific to their regional at no extra cost beyond their membership fee. All CCA members can NATIONAL AVERAGE REVENUE PER SITE access the full first quarter results on the CCA website. Also available online is information on how you can add your carwash location to the WVR. 16,000
7 2 5 6 7 1 5 6 7 613
$56,268 $48,649 $45,710
on the CCA website has close to a thousand member sites on it. Is your carwash listed? Member sites are listed for free, so contact email@example.com for more information.
› The carwash search feaTure ‹
A V ERA GE P ROV INC IA L P REC IP IT A T ION
toronto, on M6s 2e4 tel: 416.239.0339 Fax: 416.239.1076
783 Annette street
Canadian Carwash Association
MILLIME TE RS
Christopher Armena –
W A SH C YC LE S
INDUSTRY FORUM INDUSTRY FORUM De DIcaTeD TO sharING KNOwLeDGe aND BesT PracTIces IN The carwash INDusTrY
ImpRoVe youR busIness skIlls thRough FRee onlIne CouRses s carwash operators and owners, you wear many hats a including customer service specialist, sales rep, chief financial officer, maintenance specialist and many more. Prioritizing your tasks every day can be a challenge. Your CCA/CFIB membership now includes access to free online courses in health and safety, compliance, people management, customer relations among others. Offered by Vubiz these courses help you understand your
requirements to be compliant with both provincial and federal regulations as well as keep your employees safe. Check out the extensive library of more than 40 online courses. Visit CFIB at https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/membersavings-benefits/vubiz. CCA members can find out more about accessing their benefits by contacting CFIB@CFIB.ca or calling 1-888-234-2232.
CCa membeRs beneFIts pReFeRReD CReDIt CaRD pRoCessIng anD payment Rates
DRIVe FoR suCCess:
annual golF touRnament anD netWoRkIng eVent The annual canadian carwash association golf tournament is inching closer and closer! Join fellow carwash owners and operators as well as industry suppliers for 18 holes of golf, networking and dinner. The 2018 tournament will be held at Blue Springs Golf Club in Action, Ontario on Thursday, september 13th, 2018. The day begins with players teeing off at 10:00 a.m. and ending with a dinner which includes raffle prizes. Be sure to register your foursomes early. for sponsorship opportunities, contact the National Office at 416-239-0339 ext 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a CCA/CFIB member, you can receive industrybest rates for credit card payments and processing through CHASE with no contract, no cancellation fees, and CFIB support with any issues you might face. If you arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t with CHASE, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re are still eligible to receive CFIB member preferred Mastercard rates through your current provider, simply by calling them to ask about the deal and providing them with your CFIB membership number. One CCA member estimates he will save over $4,000 in credit card processing fees annually with this new benefit.
Full seRVICe CaRWash FoR sale In WInDsoR cca is advertising a modern two-year old automatic full-service carwash with detail bay and wax bay with soft cloth polisher for sale in windsor, ON. The carwash is located in an expanding commercial area with high traffic count and close to highways. It is an efficient operation with high customer satisfaction. sale price includes land, building, equipment and business. contact Mark at email@example.com or 519-796-3760 for inquires. CANADIAN CARWASH ASSOCIATION CANADIAN CARWASH ASSOCIATION
NOMINATE ONE NOW! see page 4 for details
DOLLARS R A L L RE O D TO S
CO NV ST ENIE OR NC E E Also inside
Dustin’s Convenience’s homemade delights JULY / AUGUST 2018 CCentral.ca @CCentral360
Build sales and have a little fun with fireworks
C U STOM CONT EN T
All the benefits of dairy products in an on-the-go flavoured water More and more Canadians are looking for on-the-go nutritional sports drinks. Just in time for summer, biPro, a brand carried by Agropur for its protein products, innovates with its water which contains 20g of protein per bottle of 500ml, offered in lemon, berries and orange flavours. An all natural protein water
biPro proposes protein waters which stand apart from the competition with an all natural very short ingredient list.
• 20g protein per bottle of 500ml
• Only 90 calories per bottle of 500ml
• Without artificial ingredients or gluten
• Lactose free
Protein water for consumers in search of durable energy
Snacking is a popular way of life amongst millennials. This influential public is constantly searching for healthy food which supply durable energy to sustain its active lifestyle. In the single serve category, this innovative product will please millennials, young professionals and athletes. Choice ambassadors
biPro is lucky enough to be able to count on exceptional athletes to represent the brand, as ambassadors:
Mikaël Kingsbury – 2018 winter Olympic Games gold medallist Quebec acrobatic skier / World Cup’s largest victory number record holder / Twice World champion / 2014 Olympic silver medalist
Benoît Huot – One of Paralympic Games most decorated athlete with 19 medals
Brandon Ingram – Los Angeles Lakers NBA player
biPro protein waters are choice additions for convenience stores such as yours, eager to follow the health wave and be recognized as health food destinations.
Be ready, biPro protein waters are landing in
New style nutrional drinks are peeking Canadians’ interest more and more and offer convenience stores an amazing growth opportunity. This category represents $10M or 30% of total volume generated. Compared to last year, the category has dramatically grown by 249% only in convenience stores2. Indeed, 45% of consumers are looking for sport drinks containing only natural ingredients, 22% wish to consume dairy based protein sport drinks while 21% of them are more interested in concentrated powder or liquid products which can be diluted in water3. 1 Stéphane Bastianetto, Guarana, PasseportSanté.net, April 2011. 2 Nielsen Strategic Planner, NAT XNFLD ALL CHANNELS, 52 Weeks ending August 19th 2017 (GB + DR + MM + GM + WC) 3M intel Canada, Energy and Sports Drinks – Canada, August 2015.
Natural caffeine in orange protein water Besides its 20g of protein, the orange protein water contains 100 mg of natural caffeine originating from Guarana extract, which is the equivalent of a medium size coffee cup. This seed from a fast-growing bush helps with alertness, cognitive performance and to fight fatigue.1
P R O T E I N WAT E R 20 g protein | only 90 calories | 0 g of sugar Without artificial ingredients or gluten | Lactose free
A healthy on-the-go snack
All the benefits of dairy products in a flavoured water
In addition to its 20 g of protein, the orange protein water contains 100 mg of natural caffeine originating from Guarana extract.
% of consumers are looking for sport drinks containing only natural ingredients -Mintel Canada, Energy and Sports Drinks â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Canada, August 2015.
Available in July 2018
Now accepting nominations!
Do you know a Star Woman in Convenience? Are you one yourself? Convenience Store News Canada is ready to recognize innovative women making a difference in our industry. To win a Star Women in Convenience Award, nominees must be demonstrating innovation, leadership and a commitment to the convenience retail industry in Canada. A jury representing the convenience industry will select the winners, who will be announced on ccentral.ca in September and featured in the September/October issue of Convenience Store News Canada magazine. Deadline to nominate: August 1, 2018
NOMINATE NOW! CCentral.ca/StarWomen Platinum Sponsor Presented by
EDITOR’S MESSAGE 20 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON M4R 1K8 (416) 256-9908 | (877) 687-7321 | Fax (888) 889-9522 www.CCentral.ca PRESidENT, ENSEMblEiQ CANAdA Jennifer Litterick | firstname.lastname@example.org ViCE PRESidENT/GENERAl MANAGER, EVENTS & MARKETiNG Michael Cronin | email@example.com Editorial EdiTOR, CSNEWS CANAdA Jane Auster | firstname.lastname@example.org EdiTOR, Octane Kelly Gray | email@example.com ONLINE EDITOR Nikki Lockington | firstname.lastname@example.org TRANSLATION | Danielle Hart advErtising salEs SALES REPRESENTATIVE Elijah Hoffman | email@example.com SAlES & EVENTS COORdiNATOR Claudia Castro (on leave) DESIGN AND production diRECTOR OF PROduCTiON & dESiGN CANAdA Derek Estey | firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION MANAGER Michael Kimpton | email@example.com ART DIRECTOR | Christian Lemay AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Lina Trunina | firstname.lastname@example.org WEB OPERATIONS MANAGER Valerie White | email@example.com CORPORATE OFFICERS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN | Alan Glass ChiEF EXECUTIVE OFFiCER | David Shanker Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer Richard Rivera
Chief Brand Officer | Korry Stagnito President, Enterprise Solutions | Terese Herbig CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER | Joel Hughes ChiEF huMAN RESOuRCES OFFiCER | Jennifer Turner Senior Vice President, Innovation | Tanner Van Dusen SUBSCRIPtion services Subscriptions: $65.00 per year, 2 year $120.00, Outside Canada $100.00 per year, Single copy $12.00, Groups $46.00, Outside Canada Single copy $16.00. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1-844-694-4422, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST weekdays Fax: 1-844-815-0700 / Online: www.ccentral.ca/subscribe LICENSING AND REPRINTS Please contact Wright’s Media | email@example.com 1-877-652-5295 CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is published 6 times a year by EnsembleIQ. CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is circulated to managers, buyers and professionals working in Canada’s convenience, gas and wash channel. Please direct inquiries to the editorial offices. Contributions of articles, photographs and industry information are welcome, but cannot be acknowledged or returned. ©2018 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying and electronic retrieval/retransmission, without the permission of the publisher.
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The fight for $$$ Who’s winning in the war for consumer dollars – c-stores or dollar stores? And are they vying for the same customer? These are certainly questions that must vex a lot of convenience retailers who find themselves staring across the street at a Dollarama or seeing a “Coming Soon” sign for a new discount neighbour.
Dollar stores are all about commodity sales. But many c-stores are selling customer service along with goods. There’s no denying the power of the dollar store. I live around the corner from the granddaddy of them all, Dollarama, and it’s packed to the rafters with “stuff” – and people buying the stuff. It’s both convenient and conveniently priced, appealing to families, consumers watching their budgets, and those who just like a deal. But what dollar stores, at least those I’ve visited, lack is character, “personality,” and the personal touch. Convenience stores may not be able to compete on price alone against their dollar store competitors, but they do boast a number of great advantages. Today’s c-store is evolving. While for many c-retailers fuel is still an important consumer traffic driver, increasingly there are more features attracting loyal shoppers. As CCSA’s president Satinder Chera told writer Will Ashworth, “...
you’re starting to see the advent of food services. So, you’ll walk into a convenience store now and you can buy chicken wings, pizza, and hot dogs, and that’s something that’s a reflection of our competitive advantage over other retail industries.” Plus, more and more c-stores are embracing foodservice that goes beyond even these popular items – think freshbaked bread, healthy salads, patisserie-quality and made-to-order specialty desserts. I don’t see these items turning up in any dollar store I’ve ever visited. And then there’s the personal touch factor. Dollar stores are all about commodity sales. But many c-stores are selling customer service along with goods. So how do c-stores up their competitive advantage? Many are introducing or boosting their rewards programs. Others are making strategic price cuts or offering more promotions. And many savvy c-retailers are testing the waters with foodservice. As c-store veteran Bruce Kennedy told Will Ashworth, “Success in today’s convenience store industry is: Keep up to date, be aware of the change, make necessary changes. Keep everything convenient: image, access and product mix. Grow with demand. Be aware of customer needs.” Sounds like a formula for success. ◗
Jane Auster, Editor standard
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July / August 2018
CANADAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S #1 COFFEE & TEA
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July / AUGUST JULY August 2018 Volume 1 | Number 4
Agropur Dairy Cooperative...........................2-3
05 Editor’s Message The fight for $$$
The Canadian Coffee & Tea Show....................6 Conagra Foods................................................. 11 Convenience U CARWACS Show - Calgary....17 Ford Motor Company Canada........................ 14 Hershey Canada Inc.........................................13 ITWAL Limited................................................20 JTI-Macdonald Corp......................................33 MTY Group..................................................... 27 National Smokeless Tobacco Company.........26 Scandinavian Tobacco Group Canada............31 Star Women in Convenience............................4
08 The Buzz Cross-Canada round-up 10
M oney Matters Let’s make a deal - or not!
12 The “internet of convenience” Retailers need to embrace tech advances
28 COVER STORY C-stores vs. dollar stores The fight for consumer dollars
15 Quick Bites (Food) safety in numbers 18 Blast off! Build sales, and have a little fun with fireworks 21 Mel’s sells Where everybody knows your name 24 Dustin’s dishes Homemade delights
32 Snapshot Confectionery – Let your consumers know you have their cravings covered 34 Backtalk 7 questions for T.J. and Jessie Sheehan of Enniskillen General Store
July / August 2018
THE BUZZ CROSS-CANADA ROUND-UP
People, places, news and events
Three flagship Shell locations in the Greater Toronto Area are now serving up a full Freshii restaurant experience, while 25 stations are selling more than 20 onthe-go menu items from the healthy food chain. For other GTA customers, Shell is providing the option of placing a mobile Freshii order for fast delivery right to their front door.
Toronto Police have also issued a warning about a new twist on the CRA telephone scam. While the urgent, often nasty, fraudulent call remains unchanged, victims are now being asked to pay with Bitcoin. Bitcoin machines are becoming commonplace in corner stores and victims have discovered once they pay fraudsters with cryptocurrency there is no way to trace the money or recover their funds.
ATMs attractive to thieves If you’re thinking that having an ATM is good for business, police in southwestern Ontario are asking you to think again. Since January 2017, 58 stores in several communities, including Waterloo and Hamilton, have been hit by robbers driving through the front entrance, wrapping a chain around the ATM, and heading for the hills. According to police, resulting damage to stores can hit $250,000 and ATM replacement is roughly $10,000 in addition to the loss of business while the store is closed for repairs.
| July / August 2018
Let there be … liquor Nearly two-thirds of adults in Nova Scotia and PEI surveyed by the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association support the sale of beer and wine in c-stores. “In many ways this is no surprise to us,” association president Mike Hammond told reporters. “What is particularly notable is that almost 60% of survey participants identified as being non-drinkers expressed some level of support for retailing beer and wine in convenience stores.”
unfolds Up in smoke Convenience store owners in Ontario are gearing up for an increase in tobacco taxes – on the heels of a $4 hike per carton implemented earlier this year. Despite pressure from c-stores, the provincial government is holding firm that a carton of cigarettes will increase by another $4 in 2019. Such increases deal a severe financial blow to convenience stores by fueling the demand for cheaper illegal cigarettes, according to the Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association, the largest organization of independent convenience stores in the province.
C-stores poised for greater success
Convenience stores have a unique advantage at a time when brickand-mortar retailers are struggling in North America. They are ﬂexible and adaptable, traits that owners should capitalize on as new technology arrives and the needs of customers change. This is the heart of the message Doug Rosencrans, general manager of 7-Eleven Canada, told participants attending the 15th annual Ontario Convenience Stores Association Race Is On Gala.
New Smoke-Free Ontario Act The Ontario government celebrated Canada Day by implementing new legislation that regulates the sale, supply, use, display and promotion
of both tobacco and vapour products. Under the new Smoke-Free Ontario Act, convenience stores must put all vape products behind the ﬂaps similar to tobacco products and cannot place an additional in-store sign beyond the three already allowed by law.
Minimum wages increasing in Canada Effective October 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Manitoba will increase 20 cents an hour to $11.35. The Ontario government is poised to hike its rate to $15 an hour ECK CH Y A in 2019, P following
an increase earlier this year to $14, up from $11.60. Other provinces are also raising their rates. Nova Scotia’s minimum wage, for example, increased this year by 15 cents to $11 an hour, and New Brunswick’s hourly rate rose to $11.25 up from $11.
AND THE WINNERS IS Congratulations to Tobin’s Convenience in Labrador City, to date the only store in Labrador that has been given the governmental green light to sell marijuana, once federal legislation is enacted. The familyowned store (also the only retailer in Labrador with a bitcoin machine) is one of 24 in the province that have been authorized to sell cannabis. One licence is still available in central Labrador, but so far there are no tokers, er, takers.
Save the dates August 30 | Convenience Store Day September 25-27 | Halifax, NS CCSA/NACDA National Convenience Industry Summit https://nacda.ca/program/
Photography by Tirachard Kumtanom
October 17-18 | Calgary, AB Convenience U CARWACS Show http://calgary.convenienceu.ca/ October 24 | Halifax, NS Retail Convenience Awards Gala Atlantic Convenience Stores Association http://theacsa.ca/events/retail-convenience-awards/
July / August 2018
by Mike Jaczko and Max Beairsto
Let’s make a deal - or not! This should have been the happiest of times. Would-be c-store owner John was the winner of a bid for a new c-store, and he was excited to settle in and get working. The tendering process had been tense, but John was confident he had paid the right price after consulting with other owners and colleagues, and he believed his “multiple of earnings” balanced both the chances of winning and affordability. But John overpaid, and upcoming regulatory changes could cause him to struggle servicing his debt load. This potentially devastating acquisition error can be traced back to his research and over-exuberance. Despite good intentions, he overestimated the market price, and his data were unreliable. Also, blinded by the prospect of ownership, he did not reflect on the value of the business, only its price. In other words, John paid what he thought he had to, not what he should have.
Determining market price Assuming the financial statements were normalized correctly and reconciled to the retail reports, there was still a lack of reliable data with which to derive the market price. You may not need “n = 30” data points, but you will still need a substantial number for significance. Furthermore, your aggregate data must be on similar c-retail types. The multiple of earnings derived from a collection of c-stores from different regions, with different formats, is unreliable. Always consider who has provided the information as well and ensure that exaggeration has not entered the equation.
elements: an accurately forecasted income stream and the quantification of risk. Utilizing a capitalization of earnings formula (where value equals the income stream divided by the risk rate), higher risk equates to a lower value. Keep in mind that with less projected income stream confidence comes higher risk. Quantifying risk is not straightforward, but it can be accomplished through a thorough and careful examination of factors that would cause material harm to the business. To successfully acquire a c-store, you need to collect adequate information from reputable sources, understand the regulatory environment and sources of revenue, utilize trusted professionals, and be wary of irrational enthusiasm. ◗ Mike Jaczko is a portfolio manager and partner of KJ Harrison, a Toronto-based private investment management firm serving individuals and families across Canada. For more information, email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Max Beairsto, MBA, CVA is a certified valuation analyst and business intermediary with Enterprise Valuators, an Edmonton-based valuation and business sales advisory firm. For more information, email: email@example.com
Determining the value The value of the c-store requires careful analysis and extends well beyond an accurate normalization. Deriving the real value of a convenience retail operation requires two additional but critical
Illustrations by Freepik.com
In the stock market, investors refer to an “efficient market” concept, which suggests that it is impossible to “beat the market” since all participants have access to all relevant information with which to determine price.
In retail acquisitions, there is no such efficiency; there are no databases, websites or tables to use as a reference to gain the relevant information. Market price, therefore, is quite difficult to predict, but acquirers have a much greater challenge: gaining enough knowledge to determine the inherent value. So, unlike the markets where the stock price incorporates the intrinsic value, the market price of a convenience retail operation – as hard as it is to determine – can vary widely from its value.
| July / August 2018
#1 MEAT SNACK¹ IN THE U.S. IS NOW IN CANADA!
COME L E W E YOU’R
is one of the fastest growing categories in Canada showing growth in gas and convenience channel specifically.2
Canadians are % of already aware of Slim Jim
with the brand having comparable levels of awareness to other leading Meat Snack brands in Canada.3
LEGENDARY, BOLD, MOUTHWATERING,
MEAT STICK GOODNESS
GiANT 24 X 28g
MONSTER 18 X 55g
Original Mild Tabasco
BEEF & CHEESE 18 x 42g / Mild
Edgy personality makes SliM jiM
BIG WITH 12-17 YEAR OLD GUYS
NO OTHER MEAT SNACKS BRAND EFFECTIVELY TARGETS THIS CONSUMER DIRECTLY. Source: ¹ IRI 52 Weeks ending 01/21/2018. ² Nielsen Convenience Track. National C&G Latest 52 Weeks Period Ending August 19, 2017 vs August 20, 2016. ³ Usage and Attitude Study, Meat Snacks. November 2017 Base: All respondents (N=415)
The “internet of convenience” Retailers need to embrace tech advances Text by by Talbot Boggs
Advances in technology are going to reshape convenience retailing in the future in virtually every area of the business from product offerings, the way customers search and pay for what they buy, the vehicles they drive and the ways stores promote themselves. In a digital world of incredible competition for people’s time convenience retailers need to develop a story to grab the attention of customers, draw them into the store, make them feel secure, and give them ideas and products that simplify their lives, marketing guru Tony Chapman told attendees at the Convenience U CARWACS show in Toronto. There are some “must have” technologies that retailers need to be competitive today. Tap payment solutions provided by POS suppliers and banks are fundamental in today’s market, Russell Large, director of retail services for the Convenience Guru, said. Decide on how and where your customers will pay for products – at home, in the car or in the store – and decide on the level of interaction you want to have with them through app-based purchases and tap-based payment systems. Create a store that makes it easy for customers to find what they want and have visually-driven products that integrate with their mobile devices and lifestyles. “Customers have lots of options of where they buy products and how they pay for them, so offer payment choices,” Large said. “Online ordering and in-store pickup are driving technology. Retailers that can accommodate them will drive new sales through a growing customer base, retain these customers by offering app-based payment technology, expand product offerings and sales through online ordering from
| July / August 2018
their local convenience site, and create a loyal customer base driven by updated applications and ease of use.” The evolving trend toward increasingly connected automobiles is bringing new challenges and opportunities to convenience/gas locations. “Consumers increasingly are bringing their digital life into their vehicles and bringing their vehicles into their digital life,” said Scott Negley, director of global products, development and hardware with Wayne Fuelling Systems. “The use of media and how we connect with our customers at the pump are improving all the time and becoming more personalized.” E-commerce systems on the forecourt are available which enable operators to know customers’ preferences even before they get out of their vehicles, helping them tailor ads, in-store promotions, loyalty programs and other offerings on large-format high-definition screens, improve the speed of transactions and enhance the overall shopping experience. Technology is even affecting consumers’ smoking choices. IQOS is an electronic device from RBH which heats specially-prepared and blended tobacco heat sticks to release a nicotine-containing vapour with tobacco flavour but without burning the tobacco. The vapour has significantly reduced levels of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke.
“Educating the public requires people with specific training to explain and demonstrate the product, but I see c-stores playing a role in providing equipment, refills and add-ons to support consumers in the process of switching,” said Peter Luongo, managing director of RBH. Convenience and gas retailing will continue to evolve with the growing use of electric vehicles and new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition. By 2040 a third of cars sold around the world are expected to be electric. As battery technologies improve and reduce charging times, c-stores likely will become destination charging locations. AI devices like Alexa, an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon, and facial recognition technology, will help customers make lists, order products, participate in loyalty programs and allow operators to know their preferences and shopping habits, all through multiple smart devices. Don Longo, editorial director of Convenience Store News (U.S. sister publication), said c-stores need to embrace the “internet of convenience” by being nimble, entrepreneurial and focusing on high-quality foodservice, which is growing and can replace the shrinking smoking category. ◗
Introducing NEW HERSHEY’S GOLD Sweet meets salty, creamy meets crunchy. Introducing new HERSHEY’S GOLD, a velvety creme with a hint of caramel combined with crunchy, salty favourites like peanuts & pretzels. It’s a delicious new way to experience Hershey. You’ve had milk, white and dark flavours – now it’s time for GOLD.
New merch tools available to drive impulse sales.
Available September 2018
CREAMY CRUNCHY SALTY SWEET GOLD
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2018 SUPER DUTY
by Darren Climans
(Food) safety in numbers
In the ancient world, it was believed that celadon dishes possessed an important and magical quality - splitting or breaking when they came in contact with poisoned food. Sadly, the dishes used in foodservice today can’t be relied on to tell food handlers when they are working with unhealthy products.
lems commonly identified in foodservice inspections (see pie chart on next page):
Manager indifference toward proper food safety practices
Keeping hot/cold food at correct temperatures
Food safety certification and food safety training
Safety is a concern permeating all operations that work with food. While we tend to focus on restaurant and grocery (witness the recent Romaine lettuce scare), c-stores getting into foodservice are not immune to outbreaks of foodborne pathogens.
Proper handwashing practices
Inadequate food handler knowledge
Food contact surfaces protected from contamination
Poorly designed kitchen facilities and insufficient standard operating procedures
C-store foodservice on the rise Risk is always tethered to reward. While foodservice can be a boon to your c-store operation, in a world of open social networks, the downside risks of violating health codes and/or consumers being affected by foodborne illness are highly significant. Many of the food safety problems faced by restaurants are potential minefields for c-stores with foodservice offerings, too. Witness the “Top Ten” prob-
Sanitation plan and cleaning schedule Dishwasher procedures Pam Mandarino, an environmental health officer in Vancouver, conducted an extensive food safety study (2017) which analyzed inspection report data on temporary restaurant closures and food handling violations in British Columbia. The study cross-referenced findings of similar studies conducted in the U.S. Mandarino concluded that multiple factors, and not just food safety knowledge, affect safe food handling practices. Below are some of the factors she found that influence safe food preparation practices: Time pressures
Is technology the great saviour? What role can technology play in terms of securing food safety for your operation? Nanotechnology may yet prove to be the true 21st century “celadon” by providing high-barrier packaging materials, stronger antimicrobial agents, and a host of sensors to detect and expose trace contaminants, gases or dangerous microbes. One of these new and promising applications is using engineered water nanostructures (EWNS) to almost entirely de-activate harmful microorganisms on food surfaces.
July / August 2018
THE “TOP TEN” FOOD HANDLING PRACTICES THAT CAUSE FOOD POISONING 3% Cross-contamination 3% Use of leftovers 4% Unsafe source
Make equipment handling courses mandatory, including an annual refresher so staff understand correct operation and cleaning of all equipment.
Rehearse your food handling procedures. Don’t wait for a crisis to happen, be prepared to respond.
5% food or ingredient
Maintain a cleaning checklist, posted prominently for kitchen staff.
Ensure your equipment is cleaned and sanitized.
Improper hot holding
Work with your cleaning equipment supplier to recommend best products to use in the kitchen. A lot of suppliers will come in and train your staff.
11% Source: BC Centre for Disease Control (2009), Ensuring Food Safety Writing Your Own Food Safety Plan - A Guide for Food Service Operators.
Work the relationship with your local health unit and ask if they’ll help with training.
Inadequate reheating for hot holding
For now, and in the absence of the Nano-cavalry, your vigilance, monitoring, and attention to processes are the best bets to circumvent a food safety crisis.
Tips to stop food problems before they begin Food handling
dure for everything: canned goods, produce, meat, dairy. Constantly do checks of the food in your fridges and ensure they’re set at the proper temperature. Reheat foods properly. Ensure correct handling of fresh produce, for instance not leaving it standing in cold water.
Label and date your products when you receive them or when you prepare them.
Understand proper food storage temperatures and storage.
Consider hiring a licensed cook with responsibility for ongoing staff training.
Rotate your food products (ﬁrst in, ﬁrst out). This should be standard proce-
Make sure all staff take a food handling course.
Stay on top of food safety issues. The CFIA (http://www.inspection.gc.ca) publishes regular updates on foodborne issues along with the latest acts and regulations. Food manufacturers publish regular bulletins on their products, and many distributors also send out food safety alerts. Sign up for Restaurants Canada’s National Food Safety Training Program (https://campus.foodsafetymarket.com/ mod/page/view.php?id=656), offered across the country. Z Darren Climans is a foodservice insights professional with close to 20 years’ experience partnering with broadline distributors, CPG suppliers, and foodservice operators. His practice is to understand issue-based decisions by taking a data-driven approach to strategic decision making.
MYTHS and TRUTHS about FOOD POISONING NOT TRUE
A food with enough pathogens to make you sick will look, smell or taste bad
A food with enough pathogens to make you sick may look, smell or taste good
Really fresh food cannot make people sick
Really fresh food can cause food poisoning if it is not properly handled
Only dirty kitchens can make people sick
Even clean kitchens can make people sick
Properly cooked food can never cause food poisoning
Food poisoning can occur even when foods are properly cooked
Source: BC Centre for Disease Control (2009), Ensuring Food Safety Writing Your Own Food Safety Plan - A Guide for Food Service Operators.
| July / August 2018
Win back customers’ and employees’ trust
Carefully (and promptly) pinpoint the source of the problem: - Employee error? - Vendor mislabel ingredients, causing an allergic reaction? - Foods delivered/stored at unsafe temperatures?
Emphasize how/why their loyalty is so important Vow to earn customer trust again Talk about actionable steps to prevent recurrences Realize that actions speak louder than words—so do what you’ve promised to do
Leadership Counts Stay calm. While it’s upsetting (and terrifying) to be in a crisis situation, remain calm while recovering from the incident. When facing a serious issue, the owner should be the spokesperson. Speak authoritatively about the incident and clearly explain plans to resolve the problem.
Manage Communications Honest, timely, authentic and apologetic messaging. Describe the situation, how it happened. Use social media wisely. Monitor social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and respond to negative and/or erroneous comments. Stay positive and solutions-focused. Don’t get defensive and don’t get sucked into negative message spirals. Put forward solutions-focused plan to prevent recurrences.
Train (or re-train) staff on food safety protocols Be certain that everyone is knowledgeable about food safety - Preventing cross-contamination and cross-contact - Properly prepare allergy-friendly meals - Take temperatures of specific foods - Reading and being aware of ingredient labels
Following on from the crisis plan Maintain clear, consistent messaging Engage and involve all stakeholders - Employees - Knowledge centres - Vendors - The media - Health inspectors Source: Francine L. Shaw is President of Food Safety Training Solutions, Inc.
OCTOBER 17-18, 2018 BMO CENTRE
REGISTER FREE ONLINE USE PROMO CODE: CSN
! ff o t Blas How to build sales, bring in repeat business, and have a little fun with fireworks
Text by Nikki Lockington
Jaki Parker is the home centre manager at Boyle Co-op in Boyle, AB. When people in her community want to purchase fireworks, they know exactly where they’ll find the best selection. Parker works with BLAST-OFF Fireworks to ensure she’s got the best and brightest fireworks available. We asked Parker and Matt Bialek, president of BLAST-OFF Fireworks, to talk about the fireworks category: How does the fireworks category perform in the c-store sector? Matt Bialek: We’re finding that people expect fireworks to be part of the product mix in the c-store channel. The c-store channel is perfectly positioned to capitalize on consumer fireworks demand, as this channel tends to have
| July / August 2018
the longest operating hours, and the clientele visiting c-stores is less price-sensitive and more impulse-oriented. How do you decide which fireworks to carry each year? Jaki Parker: I go through Blast-Off’s flyers when I receive them and earmark anything I think would be enticing to my customer base. I give my sales rep a dollar base to work within, and she creates an order based on what has sold
well for me in the past, and what new items she thinks will sell well in the current season. What does the fireworks category add to your bottom line? JP: We have repeat customers who come in two to three times a year to purchase $500-$1,000 at a time in fireworks. In our village we have three other
a single Fireworks Family Pack that retails at $99.99? What regulations must c-store operators be aware of when selling fireworks? MB: This is an area we aggressively work on with retailers. We maintain a database of regulations for our customers, publish an annual update to broad-scale regulations in a publication called the BLAST-OFF Fireworks Client Toolbox™ and we conduct follow-up investigations related to regulations throughout the year, pushing new findings live to our customers via Twitter, and through The LaunchPad – our client e-newsletter.
to change it with every season! During special occasions (Canada Day, May Long, Labour Day, etc.), I build large floor displays in front of the tills and in the front entryway to encourage impulse buys. This category brings in repeat business. It’s something I would never consider dropping, and every year I give it a bit more floor & shelf space to increase the impulse sales. ◗
Are there special safety checks that retail staff must follow? MB: If we distill things down to a few points, retailers should ensure these checks are in place with their fireworks program: 1) Are you working with a reputable fireworks importer? Legitimate importers carry significant liability insurance and inventory only products meeting the certification of the Government of Canada. 2) Are you able to retail fireworks within your community? We have a team that specializes in regulatory compliance. We do the homework for our retailers, determining if a particular location can sell fireworks, when they are able to sell these products, and how to apply for these permissions, if necessary.
locations that also sell fireworks, but with the surrounding lake communities, we all seem to do pretty well in sales. We started selling fireworks in the early 2000s, and since then we’ve profited just over $20,000 with just over $44,000 in sales. MB: Given that fireworks are an extremely high-margin category – with 100% profit or more – this is a product category that c-store retailers should look at if they desire a quick and easy boost to their bottom-line profitability. Think of it this way: How many bottles of pop or bags of chips would you have to sell to generate the margins you would earn through the sale of
3) Where are you storing the fireworks? It’s imperative that fireworks be stored properly in any retail setting. Loose products must be stored in a fashion that limits access, while family packs can be stored anywhere on the retail sales floor. 4) Who is buying these fireworks? Just like with tobacco, fireworks are an 18+ product. How do you prepare for special occasions when you know your customers will be looking for fireworks? JP: Special occasions are my bread and butter! I’d have to say 80% of my sales are done over four or five weekends. BLAST-OFF provides me with posters for in store as well as a large banner for my fence. They provide me this POP free of charge, which allows us
Jaki Parker’s tips for a successful fireworks category: 1. Check, check, check. Check and then check again so you’re fully informed and educated when it comes to local firework regulations and bylaws.
2. Get merchandising.
Build prominent displays two weeks before major holidays to get into your customers’ minds. Let yourself stand out as the only choice for their firework needs.
3. Make it easy.
Keep the fireworks accessible; ability to touch, see, and feel them makes it easier for a customer to justify an impulse buy.
4. Have fun with it!
Get a staff member who is a little silly and extroverted and have them drive your fireworks category. Encourage them to demonstrate (via charades if they have to) how the firework patterns differ. Get staff and customers excited!
July / August 2018
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Where everybody knows your name (and your coffee order) Text by donalee Moulton Photography by Aaron MacDougall
July / August 2018 Mel’s Enterprise Inc., 21 Vice-President
“There’s so much more at Mel’s!”
For the East Coast convenience chain, these words constitute more than a catchy slogan. They are a way of doing business. Mel’s has nine locations, eight on Prince Edward Island and one in Truro, N.S. At most of them, customers can find a place to gas up, grab a quick bite, and pick up milk and more for the next morning. But the approach to meeting customer needs is not cookie cutter, says Jeff Doucette, vice president of Mel’s Enterprise Inc., in Charlottetown, PEI. “Every location is different. You need to customize.” At some locations, for example, customers can dig into a steak and cheese sub from Mr. Sub. At other stores, Thai Express will dish them up a golden noodle bowl or it will be a freshly baked muffin from Country Style Coffee. “We don’t paint Mel’s with the same brush,” says Doucette.
Customized service starts even before the Mel’s banner goes overhead, he adds. “We’ll do our due diligence. We’ll go into the community.” The team looks at traffic patterns and the neighbourhood’s purchasing needs. They might even conduct a survey for direct feedback from shoppers. Social media is also a great tool – it lets Mel’s listen directly to customers. This insight enables the company to open and operate outlets that serve a specific community and make residents in those communities loyal customers. One store, for instance, might feature more grocery options. Another might sell diesel fuel. One store even offers customers the option of filling up an empty container with furnace oil.
Customization is key “You want to have as many offerings as possible. You have to be a one-stop shop. Customers want to get their fuel, their coffee, their lottery ticket,” he adds. Customer satisfaction is about more than well-stocked shelves, however. “They are always looking for good customer service,” says Doucette. “They want to get in and out quickly and safely, but they want customer service.” Mel’s is happy to deliver. It starts with outstanding frontline service, says Doucette. “Many of our employees are long term. They know customers by name. They even know what they like in their coffee.”
“You want to have as many offerings as possible. You have to be a one-stop shop. Customers want to get their fuel, their coffee, their lottery ticket...”
| July / August 2018
Getting that staff buy-in for service above and beyond requires ongoing communication. Monthly meetings are held with managers, who, in turn, connect with staff at the store level. “Our managers are part of the planning process,” says Doucette. “They are part of promotions. They are on the frontlines. Engagement is a powerful tool.” Feeling welcome is an important way to draw customers into the business. At Mel’s, they also get a chance to save money, win prizes and feel special. It might be halfprice baked goods during Happy Hour at Country Style or the opportunity to win a prize. A big prize. “We’ve given away cars, snowmobiles, ATVs and Harleys over the years,” says Doucette.
The convenience store chain has been doing that since owner Dan MacIsaac purchased Mel’s in East Royalty. Once a fruit stand and later a gas station, the old service station gave way to a new Petro-Canada, but the name was retained. MacIsaac rebranded gas stations he already owned and new locations came on stream. One thing hasn’t changed, however: Mel’s promise, that “customers still get so much more when they shop at Mel’s.” ◗
Focus on the little things. Think small and you’ll reap big rewards, says Mel’s VP Jeff Doucette. “Make sure your store is clean, safe and easily accessible.” Be part of your community. Consider doing fundraisers with the local fire department or even sponsoring a local sports team. Engage staff. Employees are the face of your store – and its heart. If they feel part of the business, customers feel welcome. At Mel’s, notes Doucette, “staff and managment never walk by a piece of garbage. They take pride in where they work. We all lead by example.” Develop partnerships. “We always tell our suppliers we are looking for partners, not someone to just provide a product or service. We are in this to grow the business together.”
Snapshot Opened: Dan MacIsaac has owned gas stations for more than 25 years and continues to look for opportunities to grow the Mel’s brand in PEI and the Maritimes.
Locations: Eight locations in PEI including the Montague Petro-Canada and the North River Shell. One location in Truro, N.S.
Drink up: Mel’s East Royalty is an agency outlet for the PEI Liquor Control Commission. At some stores, you can also treat yourself to a cup of freshly brewed, freshly ground coffee from Country Style.
homemade delights Text by Mark Cardwell Photography by Chantale Lecours
Virginia Standup is proud of the personal stamp she’s put on her busy convenience store on the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake, just south of Montreal.
| July / August 2018
She doesn’t sell alcohol or untaxed tobacco, for example, leaving those products to other independent retailers in the 8,000-member First Nations community. Instead, she and 11 employees focus on making and selling the hearty soups, sandwiches and other fresh food items which account for 80 per cent of store traffic and sales and also make Dustin’s Convenience such a popular place. “Breakfast is our busiest time of day,” says Standup, who also runs a local catering business. “But we also get a lot of people in here at lunchtime for our daily specials and salads and fresh banana bread.” Most food is taken to go at the lunch counter, which is located in the centre of the store and separates the kitchen from the shelves of c-store items and a long row of refrigerators with fresh food and drinks along the outside wall – a novel design that Standup thought of and stuck with over the objections of beverage reps. Other customers prefer to eat their meals at the half-dozen tables and chairs and in front of a television set up at the front of the store, which fronts Highway 207 – known locally as Old Malone Highway – a two-lane road that serves as Kahnewake’s main street. There’s also a drive-thru window in the kitchen that Standup installed a few years ago to better serve mobility-challenged Mohawk elders.
“They love our food and we love them,” says Standup, who worked 11 years as a nurse’s assistant at the reserve’s hospital. “Everybody here knows and looks out for everybody else.” That caring nature is evident in the smiles, hugs, good-natured ribbing and out-loud laughter that ebbs and flows as customers come and leave her store, saying “Ó:nen” (goodbye in Mohawk) as they go.
From nursing to convenience It’s also a big reason Standup got into the c-store business in the first place. She was hampered by an arm injury and trying to raise two kids while juggling shift-work schedules with her husband Craig, a peacekeeper on the reserve who retired in 2010 after 25 years of service. Standup ended up quitting her physically-demanding hospital job in 1997 and bought a coffee and donut shop in a small nearby strip mall called Mohawk Plaza. “They had a few grocery items, but I developed that more,” recalls Standup. “And that’s where I started making sandwiches and stuff.” She says her potato and macaroni salads are her bestselling food items, especially during the barbecuing summer months. “We go through 10,000 containers between April and October,” says Standup. Her traditional meat pies are equally popular among Mohawks. “The Mohawks
in Oka come here to get them, and that’s a 45-minute drive,” she notes. Six years ago, Standup bought a lot and built her current store on the site of an old house she tore down. On a whim – or maybe for good luck? – she kept the front door from that house and installed it in the back store of the new building. The back store also houses a churchrun food basket service started by Craig’s late father Orville that delivers canned and packaged foods plus $30 in food coupons to 80 families on the reserve every month.
Virginia and 11 employees focus on making and selling the hearty soups, sandwiches and other fresh food items which account for 80 per cent of store traffic and sales
Though Standup is the sole owner of her store, her business is very much a family affair. Her sister-in-law Kelly works in the kitchen weekday afternoons, while her sister-in-law Karen comes in to cook every morning at 5. One of Kelly’s daughtersin-law, Kim, also works in the kitchen. A daughter-in-law, Brittany, makes pastries and photo- or thought-inspired custom cakes for any occasion. The store’s namesake – 21-year-old Dustin Standup, who is the oldest of Virginia and Craig’s seven grandkids – used to work there too. But he is now training to be an ironworker, a trade Mohawks are famous for. For her part, Standup says she pops “in and out” of the store daily to help out or pick up prepared food and supplies for her catering business. “It’s a lot of work and I’m always busy,” she says. “But I’m really happy with the business and proud of what I’ve accomplished.” ◗
July / August 2018
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Dustin’s top tips 1 2 3
Find your niche. Dustin’s focuses on foodservice and has found customers’ sweet spot when it comes to fresh-made favourites.
Believe in yourself and your staff. “Always do your best and give the best quality service you can.”
Be open. “We’re always there, seven days a week, including holidays.” Know your customers. “When our customers come in for breakfast we know what they like to eat and how much to give them, so there’s no waste.”
Snapshot The history: Founded in April, 1997 and named after owner Virginia Standup’s first grandchild, who was born a few months earlier, on her own birthday. Specialties: Fresh-made daily menus and fresh foods like pastas and meat pies, plus regular c-store items. Bestselling food items: Potato and macaroni salads. Dustin’s sells 10,000 containers between April and October. Trivia: CBC-TV show Kim’s Convenience touts Dustin’s as their favourite c-store. Décor: The look and feel of a small luncheon restaurant. Hours: Open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.
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C-stores vs. dollar stores
dollarS Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. and Dollarama Inc. made US$1.7 billion and $755.6 million in operating profits respectively in their latest fiscal years: Couche-Tard from operating convenience stores; Dollarama from operating dollar stores. Together, the two companies are market share leaders in their respective categories of the Canadian retail industry.
Text by Will Ashworth
| July / August 2018
Publicly traded companies Couche-Tard and Dollarama are two of the best-performing stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) over the past five years, generating 23% and 33% annualized total returns — significantly higher than the 8% annualized total return of the TSX Composite Index over the same period. As retail evolves to meet the everchanging needs and expectations of Canadian consumers, convenience stores and dollar stores continue to tweak their businesses to keep up with the industry’s rapid pace of change. Investors wonder whether either of these sub-segments of the retail industry will thrive in the years ahead. If Dollarama and Couche-Tard’s stock prices are the voting booth for investor sentiment, returns over the past year suggest dollar stores have the upper hand.
The Convenience Store Advantage According to the Canadian Convenience Stores Association’s 2017 Annual Facts & Figures Report, 80% of the $56.4 billion in revenue generated was by convenience stores that also sold gas. Almost everyone who drives a car needs gas, making the weekly visit to the local convenience store and gas station a necessity. In much the same way a movie theatre draws customers with Star Wars and then sells them $20 worth of popcorn and soda, a convenience store does the same thing. The convenience stores with the best product offerings are going to generate the most business on top of the fuel. “The convenience store industry, like any other industry, is evolving and changing. Fuel is definitely an important part of the evolution of the convenience store,” Satinder Chera, president of the CCSA, recently told me. “However, you’re starting to see the advent of food services. So, you’ll walk into a
convenience store now and you can buy chicken wings, pizza, and hot dogs, and that’s something that’s a reflection of our competitive advantage over other retail industries.” According to the latest figures from the CCSA, there are 27,239 convenience stores across the country, 65% of which are independent, with Couche-Tard, Parkland and other corporately owned stores accounting for the remaining 35%. In a country as vast as Canada, the fact that 34% of convenience stores are located in rural areas means for many Canadians, the convenience store is not just convenient, it’s essential. As Amazon continues to disrupt the retail industry, the one thing that will ensure the long-term survival of convenience stores is proximity and hours of operation. Dollarama, Walmart, Costco and other discount stores and dollar stores can’t match these two key advantages of the c-store industry.
The Dollar Store Advantage It’s not hard to understand why Dollarama and the other major players in the Canadian dollar-store industry have thrived and grown in recent years: they feature low prices for brand name and private label products while also providing customers with a treasure hunt every time they visit. Dollar stores can be convenient and provide low prices. It’s harder for convenience stores to sell similar products at the same low prices. I recently spoke to Vancouver portfolio manager Jason Del Vicario about the dollar store phenomenon. While Del Vicario admitted that many dollar store customers are also convenience store customers, that’s where the similarities end. “[Dollarama] has a different business model catering to the same consumer as
convenience stores but one who is going there for different reasons,” Del Vicario told me. “Dollarama is infilling their own stores. They’re not acquiring other dollar stores. They’re doing things differently [as opposed to Couche-Tard’s growth by acquisition]. Their payback on their stores is two years, so their return on investment is something like 50%.” When you can get this kind of return on your investment, growing your store base organically makes perfect sense from a business perspective. A significant advantage of dollar stores here is the fact there aren’t nearly as many per capita as in the U.S. While there’s one dollar store for every 11,000 Americans, in Canada, the per capita figure is half that at 22,000 people per dollar store. That’s why Dollarama recently upped their store opening plans in Canada to reflect this lack of saturation. “For the longest time they [Dollarama] thought that the number of stores they could build in Canada before the market was saturated was 1,400,” Del Vicario said. “They’ve now upped that to 1,700.” This expression of confidence by Dollarama in Canada’s ability to absorb more dollar stores says a lot about the state of the dollar store industry in this country.
The Future Both of these segments of the retail industry have a lot going for them. As someone who writes about publicly traded stocks for a living, it really is a coin toss between Alimentation CoucheTard and Dollarama, which I believe act as proxies for convenience stores and dollar stores across this country.
July / August 2018
The Top 5 Dollar Stores in Canada by Locations
The Top 5 Convenience Stores in Canada by Locations 1,160
I recently asked three retail industry experts which business had the better future. “Both [Couche-Tard and Dollarama] might be great investments because their value propositions are quite different,” said Craig Patterson, editor-in-chief and founder of Retail Insider. “You’ve got Couche-Tard, which is about convenience, and then you’ve got Dollarama, which really goes after the price category, and then you’ve got retailers like MINISO, which is almost an in-between that keeps slightly longer hours, is a variety retailer that’s slightly more expensive than Dollarama, maybe a dollar or two, and they’ve got some higher quality items that are kitschy and interesting, and they are planning 500 stores in Canada.” It’s clear that Dollarama can’t afford to take its foot off the gas if it wants to remain one of the country’s leading discount stores. My second retail expert is Bruce Kennedy, owner of independent Kennedy’s Food Mart in Truro, Nova Scotia, who’s been around the industry his entire life. He hasn’t gotten rich operating convenience stores, but he has been able to control his own destiny, which is all he ever wanted from his career.
| July / August 2018
He’s not shy about what it takes to be successful in the convenience store industry today. “Success in today’s convenience store industry is: Keep up to date, be aware of the change, make necessary changes. Keep everything convenient: image, access and product mix. Grow with demand. Be aware of customer needs,” stated Kennedy. “We are fortunate to live 15 minutes from one of the most successful independent retail family businesses in the country, Masstown Market. Independently Great.” Interestingly, when I asked Kennedy which stock he’d buy of the two to hold for the future, he went with Dollarama, arguing that Couche-Tard’s expansion is slowing. Lastly, I reached out to Montreal native and retail expert Charles de Brabant, currently the executive director of the Bensadoun Retail Initiative at McGill University. De Brabant, who’s worked in Asia and Europe for many years with some of retail’s top luxury brands, was lured back to Montreal to be a part of McGill’s plan to build the world’s best retailing school.
“I still feel like there’s this space that the supermarkets are not positioned on, and the convenience stores just don’t do it properly,” stated De Brabant. “To offer a store that’s open until 10 o’clock at night that’s next to your house where you’re not buying chips and Coke and beer. [Somewhere] where you can get healthier options with fresh food. To me, there’s a void, at least from what I can see in Montreal.” When push comes to shove, De Brabant also favoured Dollarama over Couche-Tard as an investment. Perhaps he’d change his mind were Couche-Tard to deliver on a healthier option. ◗ Will Ashworth has written about and analyzed public companies in Canada and the U.S. for more than a decade.
Among his many comments, De Brabant observed the lack of healthy food options at Couche-Tard.
Tobacco advertising is not available in the digital issue
by Isabel Morales
Life is sweet!
Let your consumers know you have their cravings covered When it comes to food, Canadians are putting their health first. As a result, sales of items from organic eggs and bagged salad to sparkling water are on the rise. That’s not to say, however, that we don’t love a good indulgence now and then. In fact, candy is a top treat across Canada that generates billions in sales for brands and retailers who are able to appeal to the sweet tooth in all of us. Health trends and aspirations aside, we see that candy sales are growing. In fact, Canadian consumers spent $2.9 billion in the confectionery category in the last year (52 weeks ending March, 31, 2018) across all retail outlets. In convenience and gas (C&G) outlets, confectionery accounts for 5% share of total sales – nearly $313 million – as consumers pick up indulgent items to satisfy their sweet tooth.
willing to pay more for quality products. In fact, 50% of Canadians note that quality is more important than price when it comes to food, and 41% are willing to pay more for healthier options.
variety from caramel filling to nuts, wafers and nougat. As there is something for everyone, retailers and manufacturers should take note that consumers are
a genuine effort to vouch for consumers’ health goals.
M GU Total Gum
Gum Sales in the Convenience & Gas Channel Dollar Sales
Dollar Volume Percent Growth
$4,085,348 0% Consider promoting the Gum health benefits of chocolate and Sugared $1,495,647 -11% offering better-for-you ingredients Gum that may make consumers feel So what types of confectionery treats Sugarless $46,607,515 -2% less guilty about indulging. For are Canadians indulging in? Need you ask? Gum chocolate candy manufacturers, Chocolate! This rich and decadent treat remains the preference over non-chocolate, understanding and embracing smallest segment within confectionery, generating nearly $162 million in sales in attributes that are driving sales growth worth $52 million in the C&G channel, can help make better product decisions, the last 52 weeks in C&G outlets. Nonis the only one losing traction in the last improve targeted innovation, and chocolate candy items, however, aren’t far year with dollar sales down -2%. What’s ultimately, satisfy consumers’ sweet tooth. behind. Canadians purchased approximately surprising about gum is that unlike other $99 million worth of candy in the past Taking a deeper look into the candy confection categories, sugarless gum year, up 8% over the previous period, confections, sugarless candies may only be dominates sales with 90% of dollar share. indicating that non-chocolates are gaining in a fraction of sales ($2.9 million), however Gum manufacturers may benefit from popularity. Comparatively, chocolate sales they are leading growth with 10% increase increased transparency regarding their increased 2% over the last year. in the last year. With 70% of Canadians ingredients. As mentioned, a significant motivated to make healthier number of Canadians are willing to pay food choices to prevent health more for quality, so highlighting attributes Candy Confection Sales in the concerns, sugarless candy is like natural ingredients and flavours may Convenience & Gas Channel likely to see continued growth help boost sales in a struggling category. Dollar Dollar Volume as consumers make choices Sales Percent Growth As consumers seek healthier options that are better for them. Add to and continue to enjoy their treats when Total Candy that the fact that close to half $98,865,756 8% Confections they’re looking for an indulgence, of consumers (47%) are willing confectionery manufacturers need to ensure Sugared to pay more for food items $95,963,837 8% Candy their offerings remain at the forefront that don’t contain ingredients of consumers’ purchase considerations Sugarless they want to avoid, then candy $2,901,919 10% Candy through sales and marketing efforts. manufacturers who can remove Remember, life is sweet – especially with or replace undesirable ingredients some of your favourite candy in hand! ◗ will gain more brand fans as long as there’s The chocolate category is rife with
| July / August 2018
Another important part of the confectionery category is gum. The
Isabel Morales is the manager, consumer insights for Nielsen Canada.
Tobacco advertising is not available in the digital issue
T.J. and Jessie Sheehan
Enniskillen General Store
Photography by Jaime Hogge
| July / August 2018
Enniskillen General Store, founded in 1840 as a post office in Enniskillen, Ont., is the go-to spot for ice cream lovers far and wide. Known for both the size of its scoops and variety of flavours (in addition to “regular” and specialty convenience items), the general store doles out thousands of scoops over the summer months alone. After T.J. and Jessie Sheehan became the owners in April 2014, they renovated the aging building, upped the ice cream quota, and also introduced what’s become a major Ontario tourist attraction: an annual butter tart festival. As a grocery/convenience store that focuses a lot on summer treats, how do you ramp up for summer sales? We use our slow months during the winter to prepare for the next summer. We do a walk around our store and make checklists of things to repair, things to clean and replace. We start to stock up on products where we can and fill up the storage room. This way when it does get busier, we can focus on customers. Does your staffing change for summertime? Is labour ever a problem, and do you put special systems in place to handle staffing seasonally? Yeah, big time! We go from a staff of four during the winter to 21 in the summer. Each year it seems to be getting more difficult to find good staff. How do you manage the inevitable winter lull? There is always something to do. We use our social media and we do some promotions and sales in our store. We talk with some of our reps to do some promos.
Do you do anything special for the Canada Day weekend? What about other holidays? Oh yes! We decorate our store for each holiday. We put signs and banners up. We do a feature on our waffle cones with maple leaf sprinkles. On Canada day or other holidays, we get our staff to dress up in red or white. Or when the Leafs were in the playoffs, staff wore jerseys. Tell me more about the Butter Tart Festival. How did the festival come about, and are butter tarts a popular convenience item…or more a special one-off? The butter tart fest originally started five years ago. Actually, we wanted to have a “bake sale,” but I didn’t think people would come to a bake sale so we thought we would focus on butter tarts and have other baked goods available. We teamed up with small local bakeries. The first year we sold out and did very well. We had about five bakeries come. The second year, eight bakeries came with a total of 3,000 butter tarts. It was a disaster! We were sold out in 30 minutes and people kept coming.
We ended up doing a “buy 1 get 1 free” ice cream cone to say sorry for running out. Year 3 we improved big time. 12,000 butter tarts. Year 4 we sold 24,000 butter tarts, and this year – our fifth year – we will have 26 bakeries with 80,000 butter tarts! We created this fest to promote our store and to help other small businesses. They help promote us too. You obviously do a lot to stand out as a store. What have you tried that’s turned into huge successes? Anything you’ve tried that hasn’t worked out so well? We just keep trying new things. Some work, some don’t. We did an ice cream-eating contest for a fundraiser. We tried for two years and both years it was hard to get people to come out and we didn’t really raise very much money. Any plans or news you’d like to share? YES! We are expanding, opening a second location in Port Perry this summer. We’re excited, a bit nervous for this venture, but we’re going to work hard to make it work.◗