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C-Stores

People shaking hands and text reading "Convenience Store Associations With the Best Resources for Business Owners"

Convenience Store Associations With the Best Resources for Business Owners

Convenience Store Associations With the Best Resources for Business Owners 1016 528 Sprockets

Do you ever wish you could talk to someone who had the same business challenges as you to learn how they overcame them? You can, and it’s just one of the many benefits of joining a convenience store association. They often provide c-store owners with valuable resources such as training classes for your team, insights to inform your strategy, discounts on retail solutions, and even advocacy for issues on the state or international levels. Let’s dig into which convenience store groups provide the fuel you need to grow your business.

Of course, your business is only as good as the employees you have on staff, and adding one simple tool to your hiring process helps improve retention and productivity. It instantly reveals the ideal applicants for your convenience store, enabling you to make the best hiring decisions every time.

Grow Your Business With the Help of These Convenience Store Associations

NACS

The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, also known simply as NACS, has been helping c-store owners for over 60 years. It’s the premier global trade association, founded in 1961 under the name “The National Association of Convenience Stores.” Today, NACS advises more than 1,300 retailer and 1,600 supplier members across 50 countries.

Free Resources

NACS is an exceptional source of news articles full of helpful insights, like How to Hire in a Labor Shortage and Here’s an Intelligent Way to Reduce Employee Turnover. Topics include everything from human resources to sustainability. In addition, they host various webinars, a podcast titled Convenience Matters, and a “Discovery Center” to find new products for your convenience store. We also highly recommend subscribing to the NACS Magazine; all you need to do is create a free account to gain digital access.

NACS Events

You’re welcome to attend a variety of NACS events, such as leadership training programs and convenience summits. Of course, the biggest and most popular event is the annual NACS Show (October 1 to 4, 2022). It attracts over 20,000 attendees for educational sessions, workshops, speakers, and more than 1,200 exhibitors. Check out the “Cool New Products Preview Room” and consider attending a pre-conference workshop (NACS Advanced Category Management Certification and NACS Food Safety Conference). 

Tip: Keep an eye out for the Sprockets booth (6386) on the exhibitor floor to learn how our hiring solution helps c-stores drastically improve employee retention!

NACS Membership

NACS membership pricing starts at $250 per year for c-store retailers in the U.S. Your rate depends on your annual sales figures. You’ll enjoy discounted rates for events, reports, and resources as well as members-only access to expos and education. Plus, retail members receive personal representation through their national advocacy group. (There are additional membership options available for supplier companies and members of the press.)

C-Store Associations by State

If you’d like to explore some of the more local options specific to your state, feel free to browse the list of related associations below:

REVEAL THE IDEAL APPLICANTS WITH SPROCKETS’ HIRING PLATFORM

Each bad hire can cost your c-store up to $5,000 — a cost you can’t afford during a labor crisis. That’s why so many businesses turn to Sprockets’ unique hiring solution that shows you precisely who to hire, removing the guesswork and improving employee retention by an average of 43%. You’ll be able to spend less time on the hiring process and more time on daily operations, which is crucial to running a successful convenience store.

Schedule a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring employees who will drive success for your c-store!

C-Store top match
Happy c-store owner in front of her business

4 Reasons Why You Don’t Need Convenience Store Recruiters

4 Reasons Why You Don’t Need Convenience Store Recruiters 1016 528 Sprockets

It may be tempting to utilize convenience store recruiters and hire anyone that applies, especially when you have a shallow applicant pool. While that may seem like the best solution, that tactic will only propel you further into an endless cycle of costly employee turnover. See, you don’t need more applicants — you just need the right ones. 

Save your money and reduce your reliance on applicant flow. We’ll discuss how you can grab job seekers’ attention before your competitors, identify whether or not they are a good fit, and retain your high-quality hires long-term. 

The True Cost of Hiring the Wrong Employee

At a whopping 150%, c-store employee turnover is the highest it’s been since 2012! If you want to build reliable teams who will foster a happy, productive environment, then it’s crucial to hire the right people from the start. Quality over quantity is key since one poor hire can cost your c-store more than $5,000, according to Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research. Luckily, this expense is easily avoidable if you know how to leverage the resources already at your disposal. 

Say Goodbye to Convenience Store Recruiters and Start…

1. Optimizing Job Postings

How can you make your job opening stand out amongst millions? Put yourself in your applicants’ shoes. Be specific, clear, and concise. Postings with 300 words or less get more applicants, according to LinkedIn. An effective job posting includes an accurate title, required skills, qualifications, company’s culture, mission, core values, and salary details. In fact, 67% of job seekers are more likely to apply for a position when a salary is included. Remember, the quality of your job posting will attract similar quality applicants.

Tip: Get hours back in your day by posting to multiple job boards at once with Sprockets!

2. Hiring for Coachability 

Sometimes, the best hires are the ones who don’t have direct industry experience. You can easily train someone to operate a cash register or prepare food, but you cannot teach them soft skills like coachability. Ask specific questions during the interview process to gauge an applicant’s soft skills. For example, you might ask “Explain a time when you failed to meet expectations. How did you persevere?” to understand how they receive feedback. It’s better to hire for attitude and train for skills. 

3. Maintaining Employee Engagement

C-stores with engaged employees are 22% more profitable than those with unengaged associates. Despite this not-so-shocking fact, 66% of workers aren’t fully engaged at their workplace, leading to a reduction in productivity and employee retention. Ensure your c-store associates feel appreciated (and engaged!) by conducting team-building exercises. Simple games like two truths and a lie instills trust and camaraderie amongst your associates. Plus, having a friend at work is proven to increase employee engagement. 

4. Predicting Applicant Success 

Top brands trust Sprockets’ solution to help them hire and retain the best applicants every time. The platform is proven to boost employee retention by an average of 43%. There’s no need for c-store recruiters because our simple one through ten scoring system (ten being the perfect fit) makes it easy to see who will succeed and stay long-term. Sprockets’ users even spend 37% less time on the hiring process, empowering them to focus on daily operations.

“I’m able to be selective instead of just taking anybody that applies.”

– Sprockets Customer

5 Convenience Store Management Tips

5 Convenience Store Management Tips 1016 528 Sprockets

Between the rising cost of gas prices, continuous supply chain issues, and the never-ending labor shortage, convenience store management is not an easy task. You’re probably burnt out trying to find a solution for everything that is out of your control. Take a deep breath because we are here to help you with what you can control. Whether you just opened your c-store or have years of experience under your belt, here are five convenience store management tips to help your business thrive. 

How to Manage a Convenience Store

1. Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, keeping up with c-store trends is a must. Regularly read credible publications like CStore Decisions and NACS Magazine. You can also listen to c-store podcasts, talk to your customers, visit other stores, and network with industry professionals at trade shows to stay in the loop! To save you some time, here are a few current c-store management trends:

  • Frictionless Technology: Top c-store retailers take advantage of the latest and greatest technology to ensure a seamless experience for their customers. Solutions like Mashgin enable c-store associates to focus on daily operations and provide guests with an instant, 22-second checkout. Say goodbye to lines and wait times! Plus, this technology provides insight on what customers are buying, so owners can make smarter decisions. 

 

  • More Food Options: Some c-stores have found success focusing on healthier, more elaborate meal options like fresh sub sandwiches for their customers. One Thronton location in Kentucky, for example, found that over 30% in annual profit came from fresh food. Similarly, a Neon Marketplace location began thinking of their c-store as a “quick-service restaurant hybrid” in order to satisfy the needs of multiple types of customers: coffee, food, fuel. 

 

“We really wanted to grasp that consumer who’s going to fill up their gas in the morning, but then they’ll pick up their order from Starbucks for breakfast, and then maybe at lunch they’ll take a trip to Panera.”

Elise Babey, Neon Senior Manager of Product Development & Supply Chain

2. Take Care of Your Employees

Like you, your employees are stressed, exhausted, and burnt out. Their mental health and well-being is crucial to your c-store’s success. Praise your employees for their accomplishments and even consider recognizing them in front of their peers. 40% of employees say that they’d put more effort into their job if they were recognized more often. Recognition makes your workers feel appreciated, leading to higher productivity and an increase in morale. A recent survey even found that 91% of HR professionals believe recognition leads to an increase in employee retention. 

In the same vein, another convenience store management tip is to offer competitive employee benefits and pay, if possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted what people want in a job. In fact, a 2022 report found that the top four reasons workers consider another position is to have better pay, benefits (in general), health-care benefit (specifically), and work-life balance. The last thing you want is your best associate to leave your c-store for better employee benefits. Gym membership discounts, child care resources, and tuition reimbursement are just a few creative ideas to ensure your employees feel appreciated. 

3. C That Your C-Store is Clean 

This may seem obvious, but the cleanliness of your c-store can easily get overlooked when you’re overwhelmed. Your customers’ first impressions of your business should be inviting! In fact, studies show that a messy, disorganized store reduces the time customers spend shopping. Cluttered stores cause confusion, so the chances of customers leaving without purchasing anything are greater. Don’t miss out on easy sales and do your best to ensure cleanliness at your c-store is a priority. Your customers will thank you. 

4. Implement Convenience Store Management Companies

If you’re a multi-unit c-store owner or operator, consider looking into retail management companies to clear your plate. Companies like StrasGlobal and LPT provide a number of solutions that can be customized to fit the needs of your locations. Need assistance with preparing food? Training new employees? Or maybe even marketing? There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help, especially when you’re feeling burnt out.

5. Add Sprockets’ Solution to Your Hiring Process

Your c-store won’t succeed without a strong team of reliable, driven individuals. They are the foundation of your business and influence your customers’ experiences. Luckily, Sprockets’ solution is the easy, effortless way to hire and retain top-tier talent. Our convenience store management software reveals which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like your current best associates. Say goodbye to wasted time — Sprockets gives you three hours of your day back. Plus, the platform is proven to boost employee retention by 43%, on average.

A woman holding a sign and text reading "How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide"

How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide

How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide 1016 528 Sprockets

Starting a new business can be stressful, time-consuming, and overwhelming. Luckily, we’re here to help put you at ease with some top tips for how to open a convenience store. Find out what you need to know to minimize risk and maximize profits in the c-store industry. We’ll even teach you how to identify the ideal applicants so you can start off on the right foot with an all-star team of employees!

Opening a Convenience Store

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Convenience Store?

It usually costs about $10,000 to $50,000 to open a convenience store. This includes the cost of buying or renting a space, stocking your c-store with its initial inventory, and installing necessary equipment and technology. The price can vary, though, depending on the size of your store and which route to ownership you take. You can build a new, independent c-store from the ground up, purchase an existing c-store, or open a new location under a franchise brand. If you’re new to the industry, we recommend opening a franchise location so you can receive guidance, business advice, and an established customer base. Buying a franchise location is also typically cheaper and easier than building and stocking a whole new store on your own.

Are Convenience Stores Profitable?

The average gross profit margin for convenience stores can be around $450,000, making it a potentially lucrative business venture. However, keep in mind that it takes some time to reach the tipping point of making that profit after all of the initial costs to set up your c-store. Be patient, be consistent, and be disciplined about how you approach your operating plan. With any luck, you could achieve a decent profit and be able to expand to additional locations.

Tip: Consider running a food service operation within your c-store to increase profits. Despite what the general public might think about rising gas prices, c-stores only make about two cents of profit for each dollar of gasoline they sell. Maximize your profit margin by increasing food sales instead of depending on gas and tobacco sales.

What Is the Biggest Challenge Facing C-Store?

Unfortunately, there are downsides to opening a convenience store. One of the toughest obstacles facing c-stores right now, besides supply chain issues and inflation, is high employee turnover. It can be extraordinarily difficult to hire and retain high-quality c-store associates. As soon as you onboard one associate, another could be on their way out.

How Do I Hire the Best C-Store Employees?

Once you begin hiring your first employees, you’ll quickly be able to differentiate the best from the rest. Then, the key is to find more workers like those current top performers. Ideally, you’ll want to do this as soon as possible before you get stuck in an endless cycle of employee turnover. It’s time-consuming, stressful, and cuts into your profit margin due to the cost of the traditional hiring process. Sprockets’ hiring platform removes this obstacle from your path to success by instantly revealing which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like your best c-store associates.

Reveal the Ideal Applicants With Sprockets’ Hiring Platform

Any convenience store owner can tell you how difficult it can be to struggle with employee turnover. That’s why so many businesses turn to Sprockets’ unique hiring solution that shows you precisely who to hire, removing the guesswork and improving employee retention by an average of 43%. You’ll be able to spend less time on the hiring process and more time on daily operations, which is crucial when opening a convenience store.

Schedule a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring employees who will drive success for your new c-store!

A circle with personality traits and "9.1: Top Match"