Industry News

SIGMA Tech Trends Workshop 2019

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By Roy Strasburger SIGMA Tech Trends Workshop 2019 Best Practice Trends—How to Manage and Leverage Your Data to Make Better Business Decisions November 12, 2019 Austin, TX— Staying on top of market evolution trends and disruptors is critical to keeping your business successful. During SIGMA’s 2019 Annual Conference November 4-6, 2019 in Austin, TX, petroleum […]

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Managing Use of Marijuana at Work

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Roy Strasburger CSP June StrasGlobal Retail Management Services

By Roy Strasburger Originally Published in CSP Magazine One of an employer’s main expectations is that staff be mentally alert and aware of the environment around them. The employee can enhance the safety of the business and the people in the store. He or she can also sense when the extra effort is needed to turn […]

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Your Competitor is Your Best Teacher

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Convenience Competitor

The tactics of using a competitor as a benchmark fall into three categories By Roy Strasburger Originally Published in Convenience Store News “THAT’S INTERESTING.” Have you ever walked into your main competitor’s shop and had that reaction? As you look around the store, you see a product you had not heard of, a promotion you […]

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Convenience Management Services, Inc. (CMSI) announces rebrand as StrasGlobal

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CMSI Announces Rebrand as StrasGlobal

StrasGlobal draws on 60 year family heritage as innovators in convenience and small format site management. Temple, TX – Convenience Management Services, Inc. (CMSI), the leading choice since 1997 for global oil brands, distressed assets managers, real estate lenders and private investors seeking a complete, turnkey retail management solution, is changing its name from CMSI […]

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The Importance of Pulling Together

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As we all know, the last month has brought devastation to various parts of our country. Hurricanes in Texas and Florida. Wildfires in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington state. Heat waves in New York and New Jersey. These natural events have had a huge impact on individuals, communities, and businesses. We operate stores in all […]

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Training Day – Every Day

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As we’ve expanded our operations over the last few months (we are currently operating sites in 9 states), I’ve been reminded how consistent training is so important to a successful operation and an engaged team.  It’s a topic that I keep coming back to on a regular basis – as you can see from my […]

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How Not to Catch a Thief

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Everyone knows that theft is a major issue in the convenience store industry.   The general public hears about robberies in the media all of the time.  Convenience stores are caricatured as easy places to rob.  Many of our stores are open 24 hours a day giving people with bad intent places to go late at […]

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Digital Needs in an Analog World

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There is not a more analog job than driving a long haul truck.  In this profession, everything is rooted in the real world.  The trucks, trailers, and cargo exist.  They are tangible.  And they go from one place to another in real time through real space in the real world. This week I am attending […]

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I’m Back!

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My apologies for my absence from the site over the last few months. 2015 was a very busy year for us.   We expanded our business by including more sites into our program through handling several “distressed” sites during foreclosures and receiverships and by adding more long-term sites with owners who want to own and control […]

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Do You Hear What I Hear? [Part 2]

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During this cycle of posts I’ve been writing about the need to stay competitive to survive in the retail world.  In the last post I started on the need to listen to a specific group of constituents  – customers, employees, and competitors – to determine what you need to do to stay competitive.  We’ve started […]

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Compete is a Verb

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In retail, every day is a new day.  With each sunrise, your competitors are thinking of ways to steal your customers and employees, take away your sales, and, in general, put you out of business.  Every day a business owner has to think of ways to move her business forward – better customer service, products, […]

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What is the Strongest Memory?

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When you think about customer service and the retail experience, what are your memories?  I would venture to guess that in ninety percent of all of your retail interactions the customer service you received didn’t make an impression on you.  Think about it, when you are outside the house you may participate in several, if […]

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Do You Hear What I Hear? [Part 3]

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We are in the middle of a set of posts that talk about how listening can help a retailer stay competitive in today’s market place.  I think that there are three distinct groups that we need to listen to.  The first is the customer.  We need to try to learn what they want from us. […]

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Do You Hear What I Hear? [Part 4]

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Over the last few posts we’ve been exploring the idea of being competitive in today’s retail market.  One of the ways be being competitive is to create or introduce new products and services to help your customers.  So the question became – where do we get the ideas we need to stay competitive?  I’ve suggested […]

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Do You Hear What I Hear? [Part 1]

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In my last post I wrote about how “compete is a verb” is one of my favorite business sayings.  The bottom line is that if you are not competing every day your business is going to be left behind. So how do we find out what we need to do to stay competitive?  My answer […]

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Are You on the Trust Platform?

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In my last blog I wrote about the sharing community – how technology is allowing us to share or borrow under-utilized things (cars, bedrooms, lawnmowers, etc) through sites such as Uber and Airbnb.  My point was that technology, rather than isolating us as we become more and more involved with our computers and smartphones, is […]

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The Smart Phone: Friend or Foe

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Over the last two weeks I’ve posted thoughts about how the smart phone is creating a revolution in retail transactions and ways that the smart phone can be used to provide more convenience to the customer.  Although it is still too early to tell what the industry standard will be for both of these uses, […]

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The Smart Phone: Speed of Service

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We are in the middle of a series of posts on how smart phones may affect your business.  My last blog was about mobile payment systems. The next one will be about showrooming.  This one is how we can use smart phones to speed up customer service in regards to food service. You’ve been in […]

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The Smart Phone as Mobile Wallet

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Over the next few blogs I’d like to share some thoughts on smart phones and how they may affect the convenience industry.  This isn’t going to be about social media and the advantages/disadvantages of getting your message out to phone holders or the need to engage with them on Facebook, Twitter, or the dozens of […]

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Teamwork or Superstar?

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I must admit that I’m not much of a professional basketball fan.  But, being a native Texan, I couldn’t ignore the NBA finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.  As I’m sure you know, San Antonio won the series four games to one. The recent contest has created a great sports metaphor […]

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Are You Going to Have the Summer Time Blues?

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Summer is upon us.  The sun is out, summer vacations have started, and the American dream of swimming, bar-b-ques, and outdoor fun is in full swing.  It’s not too late to make sure that you are ready to maximize the opportunities that the summer season has to offer. Traditionally, summer has been the peak time […]

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NACS State of the Industry 2014

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About three weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 NACS SOI Summit held in Chicago.  It is an event sponsored by the National Association of Convenience Stores and CSP Magazine.  The annual Summit brings together the leaders of many of the country’s most progressive convenience retailers to hear about how the industry […]

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The Hardest Cut

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I attended the NACS SOI conference two weeks ago (more about that in next week’s blog).  While there I had a conversation with another business owner.  During the conversation we talked about the ups and downs of owning and, more importantly, being responsible for the life of a company. It is often easy to think […]

Roy's Blog

Announcing the CMSI Staffing Package

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As I mentioned last week, we are using this space last week and the next two weeks to introduce some new CMSI programs that we are very proud of. Last week we debuted our CMSI Accounting Package and you can read more about it on the blog post below. Today, we are pleased to announce […]

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More Profits Through Smaller Sales

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I was in a convenience store in an economically depressed part of Houston recently.  It was well run store  – a wide variety of products stocked on the shelves, clean, and attentive customer service.  But you could tell from the outside of the store, the surrounding neighborhood, and the customers that walked through the door […]

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Pot in the Workplace

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With the recent legalization by Colorado of the retail sale of marijuana and the upcoming legalization in the state of Washington, the question of pot in the work place is surfacing again.  The issue first came up with the approval of the sale of medical marijuana in the 1996 in the state of California.  The […]

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How Healthy Should Food Be?

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I recently read an article called “How junk food can end obesity” by David Freedman (published in the July/August 2013 issue of the Atlantic magazine) that got me to thinking about what “healthy food” really means and how it relates to what has been called an obesity crisis currently affecting the United States. In his […]

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Technology vs. Jobs

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The Economist magazine (January 18th edition) recently had a major article about whether new technology will replace workers.  We’ve all heard the stories and have seen the movies about robots and computers replacing humans in the work force.  In these scenarios, the displaced worker either becomes the billionaire owner of a tech start up or […]

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Better Productivity Through Education

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Over my last few blog posts I’ve been musing on the technology revolution that is currently taking place and how it may affect jobs in the future.  To summarize my thoughts so far: technology is increasing worker productivity which means that fewer workers are needed to make the same amount of stuff.  Those workers who […]

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Minimum or Living Wage?

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There is a lot of discussion going on at the moment about whether the minimum wage needs to be raised.  Currently the Federal minimum wage is $7.25.  Some states and cities have enacted their own minimum wage standards with the highest currently being $9.32 in the state of Washington and $10.74 in San Francisco, respectively. […]

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My Time with Mandela

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Okay – I will admit right up front that I have never met Nelson Mandela. As you no doubt know, Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013, after a long illness.  This week the memorial service for Mr. Mandela was held in South Africa.  Tens of thousands of people, including dozens of world leaders, […]

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How to Compensate for Falling Gasoline Sales

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Recently, I mentioned that one of the trends in the convenience store industry is that total fuel sales are falling.  We are selling fewer gallons of gasoline each year.  This obviously has a huge impact on the revenue stream and profitability of a convenience store that sells fuel. As this trend continues, convenience store operators […]

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Thanksgiving 2013

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It’s hard to believe that it is already Thanksgiving again.  It was about this time last year that I started down the tricky road of blogging.  Frankly, it is a lot more difficult than I had imagined.  Coming up with topics that are relevant and (hopefully) interesting can be daunting.  And timing and consistency is […]

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A World Without Gasoline

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A common theme through most of the convenience store conferences that I have been to this year is that the total amount of gasoline being sold in the United States is on the decline.  This doesn’t seem to be temporary trend but, rather, the harbinger of the future of gasoline retailing. Analysts attribute the decline […]

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Speed to Market

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As you may be aware, the FAA recently ruled that personal electronic devices such as e-readers, mp3 players, tablets, computers and smart phones could be left on during the take off and landing of aircraft instead of only being used above 10,000 feet.  Cell phones would have to be in “airplane mode” and laptop computers […]

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So You Want to Run a Healthy Store?

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Over the last two posts I have been exploring the idea of convenience stores offering healthier alternatives to their customers.  The basic thought process is that 1) there is a growing trend in health conscious consumers due to either lifestyle decisions or the obesity crisis and 2) having healthy alternatives in our stores helps our […]

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The Importance of Appearance

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As I am writing this post I am sitting in a downtown coffee shop.  I’ve been reading lately that the background noise at the typical coffee house is just the right level to promote creativity but not enough to be distracting.  Since I need all the help that I can get, I thought I would […]

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The Retailer as Curator

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Think back to the last time that walked into a museum.  As you walked through the gallery you were surrounded by pieces of art or artifacts.  Just by looking around, you could tell that every item was selected for a particular place and reason.  It offers something special in the context of why the visitor […]

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Customer Loyalty Goes Both Ways

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Almost every time I’ve been in a conversation and the subject of customer loyalty come up it inevitably focuses on making customers like us.  “We want a customer loyalty program so that our customers will come back to us and not go to our competition,” an industry executive told me a while ago. I admit, […]

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When Bad Things Happen by Good People

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The biggest disappoint that I ever face is when someone betrays the trust that I have put in them.  It happens, not all the time, but occasionally, on a personal and business level. A large part of the issue is that I inherently believe in the goodness of people.  Everyone is honorable until they prove […]

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Remembering Margaret Thatcher

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As I write this I am on a plane returning from London.  I’ve spent the first part of the flight reading the British newspapers about the passing of Margaret Thatcher who died yesterday at the age of 87.  As I am sure most of you know, Mrs. Thatcher was the Conservative Prime Minister of Britain […]

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The Worst of Times and the Best of Times

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We have recently been involved with the take over and operation of a ten store chain in the Midwest.  As usual, when we are involved in what we call a “distress” project, it is a very anxious time for the store employees.  Life suddenly becomes filled with uncertainties and anxieties.  Questions ranging from employment to […]

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Life on the Front Line

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In my last post I wrote about the stress and anxiety that store staff go through when CMSI is brought in to take over the management and operation of their stores.  At CMSI, we bend over backwards to make sure that the staff at our contract management sites have the most comprehensive support that can […]

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Call in the Smoke Jumpers!

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It takes a special kind of person to work as a CMSI transition crew. What typically happens is that we get a call from a client saying that they have a retail operation (one site, ten sites, 250 sites) that is in trouble and they need our help to contract manage it until they can […]

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Social Media And The C-Store

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the NACS Leadership Forum in Miami.  I think the Forum is one of the best programs that NACS puts on as it brings retail leaders from the c-store industry together with suppliers in an atmosphere of thought provoking conversations and presentations.  Last year I […]

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What is Leadership?

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In my last post I mentioned that I had attended the 2013 NACS Leadership Forum in Miami a couple of weeks ago.  In that blog I wrote about social media and some of the presentations I had seen at the Forum.  But I thought that today I would address a more basic questions that is […]

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Looking Around the Corner

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My last post was about the ethical and moral obligations of retailers during natural disasters.  My view is that it is wrong to take advantage of the unfortunate situation of others to raise prices or gouge.  We have a responsibility to our customers to treat them fairly and with respect. This doesn’t mean that difficult […]

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A Light In The Darkness

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The battering that that northeastern part of the United States has been taking over the last few months (Hurricane Sandy, the recent blizzards) have been sad to read about and devastating for many of the folks directly impacted.  People have died, homes have been lost, and property destroyed.  Frankly, it is so difficult to imagine […]

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Welcome!

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It is my pleasure to post the initial entry on the CMSI blog.  We are a company that has been around for quite a while but are just now getting into blogging.  Since this is our first post, I thought is would be good to set out our initial hopes and dreams for our blog […]

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Who are we?

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I want to take some time to talk about who we are and what we do.  I know that you can find out more about us in the Services tab at the top of the page but I thought it would be good to introduce ourselves in more informal way. Hi!  Our name is Convenience […]