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Greg Lindenberg

A Spare Change Change

Rita Pollard, who co-owns Steamboat Landing in Bass Harbor, Maine, with her husband Bain, has noticed a decrease in business at the gas station and convenience store. “There’s not much going on. We’re here: we’ve got the screen up,” she told the Mount Desert Islander, referring to a plexiglass window above the register. 

Regulations allow only five customers to be in the store at a time, but Pollard said, “We’ve only reached that limit once.” In past years, Pollard said April is when things usually pick up at the small store. Comparing last April to this April, she said, “We’ve done half the business.” 

Besides the lack of customers, Pollard has noticed one other change, literally. “We have a lot of extra change,” Pollard said, referring to nickels, dimes and quarters. “A number of people won’t take it.”  

This may be because, according to the National Institute of Health, coronavirus can remain stable for hours or days on various surfaces. Pollard said the customer’s loss becomes the Hancock County SPCA’s gain, as she drops all spare change into a can she keeps on the counter. 

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Hannah Prokop

NJOY Files PMTAs for Ace, Daily Vape Products

From CSP's Angel Abcede: 

Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pushing back its deadline for premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) to Sept. 9, 2020, from its original May 12 date, a source at NJOY, Scottsdale, Ariz., who is knowledgeable about the company's internal processes confirmed for CSP Daily News that the e-cigarette maker filed PMTAs for its Ace and Daily families of products in March 2020.

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Hannah Prokop

C-Store Group Asks Massachusetts Governor to Delay Menthol Ban

From CSP's Angel Abcede: 

With a new Massachusetts law banning the sale of menthol, mint and wintergreen tobacco products set to go into effect on June 1, a local convenience-store association is asking Gov. Charlie Baker for a reprieve, given the hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic

The New England Convenience Store & Energy Marketers Association (NECSEMA), Stoughton, Mass., has sent two separate letters this spring asking for the delay. At posting time, June 1 was still the day for the ban to begin. 

Jonathan Shaer, executive director of NECSEMA, expressed concern over c-store operators who are struggling during the economic upheaval that the pandemic has caused, as well as for tobacco consumers who have to travel across state lines to get their products.

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Brett Dworski
Family Express Installs Wax Tissue Dispensers for Customers

From CSP's Angel Abcede:
 
Family Express, a 75-store chain based in Valparaiso, Ind., has been installing dispensers with disposable wax tissues at multiple points in its stores so customers don’t have to touch any hard surfaces, such as gas pumps, gas nozzles, PIN pads, touch screens, door handles, refrigerator handles, coffee machines and ATMs. Gus Olympidis, president and CEO of Family Express, said the company wanted to create a “fortified retail environment.”

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Hannah Prokop
credit: Photograph courtesy of Rutter's

Rutter’s Partners With Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

With many people forced to stay home due to COVID-19, convenience stores are one of the few outlets where those facing domestic violence can get the information they need and seek help.

That is why Rutter’s is partnering with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) to support the cause by promoting access to help on its in-store digital screens, digital screens at the pump and on social media. 

Messages on how those facing domestic violence can get help will be shown at all of Rutter’s 76 Pennsylvania convenience stores.  

Read more here.
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Hannah Prokop

IQOS Entry Into Charlotte Delayed

From CSP's Angel Abcede: 

COVID-19 concerns have forced Altria Group, Richmond, Va., to close its IQOS stores in Atlanta and Richmond, Va., as well as suspend its in-person marketing operations, officials said during an April 30 earnings call. Plans for introducing the heat-not-burn device—an alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes—into the Charlotte, N.C., market have been put on hold due to the health emergency, officials said.

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Hannah Prokop

Packaged Beverage Sales Slow in April

 

While packaged beverage sales spiked in March as people loaded their pantries amid the coronavirus crisis, trends mostly reversed in April.

For the four weeks ending April 18, dollar sales of nonalcohol beverages—except for refrigerated juice—were lower than 12-week trends, according to New York-based investment bank Cowen Inc. and global measurement and data analytics company The Nielsen Co.

See how CSDs, energy drinks, bottled water and other categories fared here.  

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Brett Dworski
How Will COVID-19 Tracing Affect C-Stores?

From CSP's Angel Abcede:
 
As the country grapples with how to effectively handle the pandemic, health officials have been suggesting “contact tracing,” or identifying infected individuals and tracking whom they have been in contact with as an important step toward containing the virus. As that preventive measure becomes more popular, how will it affect convenience retailing? Here are some thoughts from a recent webinar on contact tracing …
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Hannah Prokop

CBD Products Taking Hit at Retail Amid COVID-19 Crisis

From CSP's Angel Abcede: 

The emerging category of cannabidiol (CBD) products appears to be taking a hit from the coronavirus health emergency, according to a data research firm, with sales across all retail falling by as much as 30%. Online sales of the CBD category appear to be stronger, said Bethany Gomez, managing director of Chicago-based research firm Brightfield Group.


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Brett Dworski
Tobacco Update: Altria’s Cigarette Sales Up at Onset of COVID-19 Crisis

From CSP's Angel Abcede:
 
Altria Group, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, said its domestic cigarette shipment volume increased by 6.1% for the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year. During an April 30 earnings call, officials said the increase was primarily driven by trade inventory movements, calendar differences and consumer pantry loading due to COVID-19, but it was partially offset by the industry’s rate of decline, retail share losses and other factors.

The Richmond, Va.-based tobacco maker estimated that overall industry volumes for cigarettes declined by 2% in the same time period, but taking into consideration pantry loading due to COVID-19 and other factors, total domestic cigarette industry volumes decreased by an estimated 3.5%.

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