Here comes the sun. The Great American Total Solar Eclipse

August 18, 2017

694940094001_5543989438001_5543971021001-vsLots of talk about the upcoming “Great American Total Solar Eclipse” on Monday August 21, 2017.  People from Oregon to South Carolina are lining up and making plans to place themselves in the “path of totality” for the big event and are hopefully in for an unforgettable experience.

Space.com gives us this reminder:  During totality, when the sun’s disk is completely covered by the moon, it is safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye. But sky watchers should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. See our complete guide to find out how to view the eclipse safely.  – Please follow the rules and stay safe.  Don’t let a few minutes of sun gazing ruin your life.

As people flock to the “path of totality” gasoline stations are seeing heavy volume as eclipse watchers are making their travel plans and lining up for their perfect spot in the path.   NACS reports that some gasoline retailers had ordered 20% more fuel than for their usual busy holiday weekends while others that didn’t plan ahead are now seeing shortages.

For youngsters this may seem like a first time occurrence which would be far from true. The English word eclipse comes from the Greek ἔκλειψις, ekleípō: disappearance, abandonment. A solar eclipse is the moment in which the sun disappears, abandoning the world. It’s like being forsaken by a god.

The ancient Greeks thought of a solar eclipse as an act of abandonment, a terrible crisis and an existential threat. It meant that the king would fall, that terrible misfortunes would rain down on the world, or that demons had swallowed the sun.

Yet not everyone thought of the eclipse as a horrible threat. For some cultures, the eclipse was an act of creation: The sun and moon were coupling, and would create more stars. For others, it was a random and chaotic act by a trickster or a mischievous boy, causing trouble just for the sake of it.

So wherever you are, seeing full or partial, sporting $.50 paper glasses or a cardboard box, be safe, have fun and listen to a little Eclipse by Pink Floyd while watching the slide show below!

 

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Credit to:

Getty Images, NACS Online

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/8/18/16078886/total-solar-eclipse-folklore

 


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

July 26, 2017

Back office for C-Store Cigarette Tax

As tobacco laws constantly change, getting the most value from your tobacco sales has NEVER been as important as now.  Some things we can control –  our store front, advertising, community outreach, etc.  Many things we cannot control like Tobacco purchase age.  As laws change, sales can also change.  STAY competitive with Scan Data Rebates offered by Altria and RJR.  Insight Retail Software’s team of professionals can get your store submitting data ASAP.

Call Chris @ 518 633 4111 x 108 for more information.

Don’t light a fire to your profits, make your profits grow!

I mentioned tobacco laws changing.  The latest change comes to us from Gov. Chris Christie. When New Jersey law takes effect on November 1, 2017, NJ will become the 3rd state to set legal tobacco age to 21.  Hawaii and California being the first two states to make this change.  Gov. Christie stated that “By raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, we are giving young people more time to develop a maturity and better understanding of how dangerous smoking can be and that it is better to not start smoking in the first place,”

But not everyone is happy about this change.  As Nacs Online reports:

Meanwhile, merchants are disappointed about the change, given that neighboring states will still sell tobacco products to those between the ages of 19 and 21,

WFMZ-TV reports. “It’s going to be a negative business-wise,” said Sal Cassar, owner of Towne Market in Phillipsburg, N.J. “There’s no two ways about that.”

 

Cassar estimated that customers between the ages of 19 and 21 buy around a third of his tobacco sales.

“You don’t only lose the cigarette sell, [you also lose] any other associated product that the customer was going to buy,” he told the news source.

Meanwhile, in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have increased the state’s tobacco buying age to 21, the Press-Herald reports. “I believe that at 18 they are mature enough to make a decision and I’m tired of living in a society where we social engineer our lives,” the governor said of his veto.


While some claim that states are losing huge tax money others claim that the health care savings is worth it.  There are arguments on both sides. Some say 18 is mature enough to fight for our country, it should be mature enough to buy tobacco products.  While others think this maturity is reached at the age of 21. Many believe that the age increase will not reduce younger smokers activity.
The biggest losers in this debate are the state line retail stores that will lose business to the customer that drives 5 minutes across the state line to make their purchase(s).  So hey New Jersey – give us a call. 1 store or 100, we’ll take care of you.
Bottom line – get scanning!  Get the MOST out of your sales.
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It’s summertime, it’s travel time. Tips for traveling with kids.

July 10, 2017

We are full into our summer and travel time is at it’s peak. As you travel our wonderful country  here are a few tips for success with kids.  Thank you Sarah Martin Hood for this great article.  sarahmartinhood

Don’t forget to stop into your favorite C-Stores along the way!  C-Stores are the key to successful travel!


Are your kids carrying their own weight when you travel? 

Summer vacations are in full swing and it’s high time the youngest travelers in your party start carrying their own weight, don’t you think? If you’re committed to traveling with your kiddos, it’s a good idea to start as early as possible and find ways for them to help out from Point A to Point B and all the adventures between. Where do you start? How do you get your littles to be helpers as you travel?

 

Make kids carry their own bag.

This may require some patience on your part, but kids can maneuver a suitcase on wheels younger than you might think. They’ll need help with escalators and trains and such, but let them try. And even before they’re able to help with a full-size suitcase, they can be responsible for a carry-on. A water bottle, book, and a snack is really all they need to carry in a small backpack. When you’re out for the day add a camera and a rain jacket.  None of it weighs much, and it will introduce them to the concept of packing smart — and light!

LAX - May 2017

Give them a job to do.

Find tangible ways for kids to be helpful. One of our go-to jobs for Colt is “Outlet Check!” Before we leave a hotel room, he’s responsible for sweeping the room and checking every single outlet for charging cords. We donate far fewer chargers to hotels since he took up this job!

Packing is tricky for kids because they’re not sure where to start. If you want their help packing, be very specific. They won’t know what to do if you say “Pack your suitcase.” But they can help if you break it down to “Lay out your swimsuit and goggles.” and give them one step at a time.

In general, be on the lookout for things they can do themselves. Let them hand their own boarding pass to the gate agent before a flight, encourage them to order for themselves off the menu, and if they have a question during a tour — have them raise their own little hand and ask. Let them be a traveler instead of just a passenger.

 

Make it a game.

Yes, they can even help entertain themselves! If your kids are collectors or writers — keep your eyes open for kid-friendly projects as you travel. One of my favorites is the passport offered by the National Park Service that lets kids collect cancellation stamps from park rangers and it gives them an incredible keepsake of their travels. (This is not just for kids! I’m actually super jealous and wish I’d started myself a passport years ago!)

Another example we discovered was at Mount Vernon last fall.  On the iPod touch that served as our audio tour guide, there was an app for Colt to play a spy game — he collected clues all over the property and answered trivia questions about the area. He was into being there anyway, but the spy game was a nice cherry on top of the experience. It kept him engaged from start to finish.

Statue of Liberty - July 2016

Give your kid a camera.

On top of the benefits they will enjoy by having their own way to document the trip, this is a sneaky way to get a fresh perspective on your destination. I have been amazed by the photos on Colt’s camera at the end of a day of sightseeing — the details he noticed and the perspective he captured. Sometimes he snaps away and other times the camera stays in his bag, but giving him the responsibility of his own camera has taught him about storytelling and even given us opportunities to talk about tourist etiquette a few times.

The earlier the better when it comes to teaching kids that travel is a fun adventure but there are ways for everyone to chip in so the trip is safe and fun for the whole group. Think of your kiddo as a fellow traveler and he will rise to the challenge.

 National Mall, Washington D.C. - September 2016

Important Information: SAN FRANCISCO BANS SALE OF FLAVORED TOBACCO, MENTHOL

June 23, 2017

The city’s board of supervisors approved the legislation unanimously. The ban will take effect in April 2018.

June 23, 2017

​SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a bill that forbids the sale of flavored tobacco products in retail stores, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The ban encompasses flavored chewing tobacco, flavored liquids containing nicotine for e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes.

“We want to enhance our prevention strategies,” Supervisor Maila Cohen, who introduced the legislation, said. “The goal of this ordinance is to keep people from smoking in the first place.

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The ban, which will go into effect April 2018, will impact more than 700 local retailers, mostly convenience stores and gas stations, that sell tobacco products. To counter the lost revenue, Cohen supports more city funding under the Healthy Food Retail program to assist small stores during the transition.

The California Retailers Association opposed the ban because it failed to take into consideration how it would affect businesses and the decrease in the amount of sales tax the city collects. “This ordinance also ignores the fact that there are comprehensive state and local laws, that anti-tobacco advocates support as a means to curb youth access to tobacco, that are currently enforced,” wrote Angie Manetti, director of government relations for the association in a June 8 letter to the board.

The ordinance would not prohibit the use of flavored tobacco in the city. The City Controller’s Office of Economic Analysis estimated that 35% of cigarettes sold in the city are menthols, which will translate into lost sales of around $50 million yearly.

The Minneapolis City Council is also considering a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes, having already prohibited the same of flavored tobacco products two years ago.

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What will Tomorrow’s Gas Stations look like? InsightRS will be ready!

May 26, 2017

NACS Online has this great article about the changing look of Gas Stations, aka C-Stores.  As the look and operations change, Insight Retail Software and backOffice™ Software changes too.  Our state of the art reporting keeps you informed of the health and operation of your business.  Inventory Control, EDI, Group Price Changes are made simple with backOffice™.  Scan Data services are an added bonus.  Our customers love to log onto their Altria and RJ Reynolds account and see $$$$.  Call to get your free money too.

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Call Chris at: 518-633-4111 x 108

WHAT WILL TOMORROW’S GAS STATIONS LOOK LIKE?

Oil companies experiment with mobile apps, delivery and foodservice as analysts predict a future with declining demand for gasoline.Tags: Trends

May 26, 2017

​IRVING, Texas – The world’s largest oil companies are tinkering with what makes a gas station, as mobile apps, fuel delivery, alternative fuels and foodservice become more prominent and consumers look for even more convenience, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Analysts like the firm Wood Mackenzie are forecasting softening demand for gasoline as electric cars become more popular and fuel efficiency improves. Automated cars and vehicle sharing also will likely impact the gasoline station industry.

Over the next year and a half, Royal Dutch Shell will play around with adapting fuel stations to provide hydrogen, electric chargers and liquefied natural gas alongside gasoline. BP already has 50 locations with electric chargers globally, while France’s Total SA will put in 300 charging stations throughout Europe and 400 hydrogen pumps in Germany by 2023. Exxon Mobile is working on a new gasoline aimed at more fuel-efficient cars.

While many of these companies jettisoned retail station ownership recently, now some of them are opening new gas stations or revamping current ones with an eye to the emerging alternative fuel markets. For example, BP will open 200 stations in Mexico and as many as 3,500 in India in the coming years. Many of its U.K. stations have Marks & Spencer food locations too. “Fifteen years ago it was just fuel,” said Alex Jensen, vice president for BP’s retail arm in Europe. Today, half of the company’s U.K. customers stop by for food, not fuel.

Shell has a mobile app that lets consumers pay for gas with their phone and might install lockers for online order pickup. The company is also considering a restaurant concept to bolster its convenience food. Shell also began a pilot fuel-delivery service in the Netherlands, where customers can request a Shell fill up delivered to wherever their car is parked, via a company-developed app.

see NACS online article here

 

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MARS, WRIGLEY UNVEIL MORE THAN 30 NEW PRODUCT INNOVATIONS

May 24, 2017

From new Starburst and Snickers to M&M’s and Skittles, iconic candies are getting flavor extensions.

May 24, 2017

​CHICAGO – During this week’s National Confectioners Association (NCA) Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Mars Chocolate North America and Wrigley will share a unified vision of driving growth for customers through three key areas: product innovations, effective activations and selling strategies. Taking center stage at the trade show are several new flavor extensions to consumers’ favorite brands, including: Extra Chewy Mints; 5 Gum Mega Packs; M&M’S Caramel Chocolate Candies; M&M’s White Chocolate Candies; Skittles and Starburst Sweet Heat; Snickers & Hazelnut Bar; and Twix Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars.

“This year we’re launching more than 30 new products and packs that offer a range of choices to meet consumer preferences,” said Timothy LeBel, president of sales for Mars Chocolate North America, in a press release. “Our new products deliver on several key industry trends, including focusing on transparency and choice, offering the opportunity to indulge in moderation, and meeting consumers’ desire for fun and functional gum and mints, as well as new formats and flavors in chocolate. We’re tapping into consumer trends and producing surprising twists and experiences from our most popular brands.”

In addition to product innovations, Wrigley and Mars Chocolate will unveil new selling strategies aimed at driving sales for retailers. “We’re looking within and even beyond our category to not only understand what innovations will resonate with consumers, but also to truly understand the way they shop for those products,” said Edward Taylor, vice president of U.S. sales and operations for Wrigley. “Helping our partners maximize opportunities is a top priority for us and to expand on the success of our Transaction Zone Vision program, we’ll be highlighting a variety of new shopper behavior findings from our Path-to-Purchase research at this year’s show, as well as sharing online insights.”

Read NACS Online here


⇒  Are you sick of adding new products?  

Please tell me you aren’t doing this at the register or gas pump controller?

Don’t tie up your POS system with price changes and entering new products.  DO THIS IN YOUR BACKOFFICE SOFTWARE!  backOffice™ from Insight Retail Software makes the time consuming job of price changes and new product additions a breeze.  Your gas pump controller should be used to ring up SALES, not changing prices.
Group price changes and our EDI module will more than pay for your backOffice™ Software.  Give us a call today:  518-633-4112
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Just for fun – take a minute to stop and smile!

March 14, 2017

Sometimes it’s nice to step away from EMV and Blizzards and all things political to just smile.  Perhaps have a Coke and a smile.  This guy turned 11 yesterday and is in our circle of family operated business.  He’s the smartest and kindest kid I know.

 

Happy 11th to Evan Phillips.

I want to be like you when I grow up.

evan


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