Monday, February 21, 2011

Merchandising Notes: Racks, Inventory, and Sales


Went searching the web this weekend, and came across a great website on racks and shelving for a store. The name of the article says it all, How to Choose the Best Wire Candy Racks for your Store.

There are so many different options in racking out there, but the point of the article is broken down into three major points:

As a store owner or merchandiser, you need to think about...

1.) Your Store's Environment

2.) Your Candy Products

3.) Your Usual Customers

I may be a little biased, but the merchandising team at Allen Brothers is one of the best in the business. If you'd like to arrange for a store consultation, reach out with an email to sales support at We'd love to take that boring rack in your store (see above) and make it come alive (see below)...


Friday, February 11, 2011

Followup on Jeff Allen at NBC10 -- Networking, the Name of the Game


As published yesterday, Jeff Allen, President of Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution in Philadelphia, took part in a series of interviews at NBC10 Philadelphia.

In addition to a sitdown with Tracy Davidson of NBC10, Jeff is also featured on a new and exciting multi-media forum, CEO Intronet. During Jeff's sit-down with Davidson (see picture below), the two discussed the opportunities in today's market and advice for aspiring job-seekers and future CEO's. The taped appearance for Survive and Thrive will be appearing on an upcoming NBC10 news program on February 16th or 23rd.

Check out Jeff's one-on-one interview with Patty Owens, and don't miss the opportunity to hear from a CEO Roundtable of successful business owners in the Delaware Valley! Read below on a few thoughts I took away from the day and some ideas in terms of growing your business network...

President Jeff Allen with NBC 10's evening news host Tracy Davidson

What an eye-opening experience. As a marketing enthusiast, it was incredible to hear the stories from other industry leaders throughout the day, turning their ideas & dreams into successful enterprises. And what a great opportunity for business networking, the name of the game for any aspiring entrepreneur.

When you hear the word networking, what's the first thought that comes to your mind? A shuffling of hand shakes and business cards? Maybe a friendly discussion at the counter of your convenience store or out in the aisles? Think more detailed about successful and worthwhile business marketing, and you should come up with a definition similar to the one I've started applying more and more in my daily interactions. Business Marketing is defined as the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients and/or customers. Notice I point out and highlight the mutually beneficial relationship, no mistake made there!! The focal point of the message is to seek out like-minded individuals who will benefit comparably and be more likely to work together with you in the future. It seems so simple! But how often in your daily interactions do you waste your time (pardon the blunt phrasing) with people or opportunities that can't meet the expectations of you or the person you're working with.

In the convenience store business, this thought can apply to each and every store owner or manager. During your day-to-day operations, how often do you engage in your own business marketing? Are you building relationships with your customers and the distributors and vendors? Some questions to consider:

Do you reach out to a customer and thank them for their business?

Customers will visit your store for quick service and an in-and-out experience. But that doesn't mean you can't greet those customers by name and enquire about what's going on in their lives. That type of interaction will keep them coming back to you because YOU STAND OUT!! That customer is more likely to refer you to a friend because you're not doing the same thing everyone else is doing in your line of business.

What do you do to make that customer feel like you have their interest in mind?

Have you successfully emphasized to your employees to put a name to the face of those regular customers who come in even as little as once a week. If not, do so today. But more than that, make a customer feel like you're looking out for them as well. Price yourself competitively. Even if your profit margins are lower at first, you should be able to make up for that in volume if word gets out about your great pricing. Due to today's economy, everyone is price sensitive, and having a reputation for the lowest price in your geographic footprint will go a long way.

It might sound so insignificant, but in an industry where personal interaction is so critically essential, how much or little do you emphasize your business networking. Reward a customer's loyalty, maybe a cup of coffee on the house!! Remember, you need to spend money to make money and always go that extra mile to keep your customer satisfied!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CEO & President Jeff Allen Featured on NBC10


Jeff Allen, CEO & President of Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution in Philadelphia, set to appear on NBC-10 & CEO IntroNet TV

Philadelphia, PA, February 10th 2011… Jeff Allen, President & CEO of Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution, has been invited to the NBC10 studios in Bala Cynwyd, PA, to partake in a three-part interview for the NBC10 news series “Survive and Thrive” and CEO Intronet.

The interviews will be broken into three sections: a video profile of Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution, a CEO Roundtable with Allen and other industry leaders, and finally a piece with NBC10 personality Tracy Davidson for broadcast on NBC’s Wednesday special, “Survive and Thrive.” The NBC10 programming will air either Wednesday, February 16th or February 23rd, 2011 between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. The video profile and roundtable will be available Friday, February 11, at Media outlet Convenience Store News has also linked to the story.

The video profile will cover a wide variety of subjects. Included in the topics covered will be Allen Brother’s 100 Year Anniversary and company history, a background of Jeff Allen, and a look forward at the company’s future highlighted by the first public announcement of Allen Brother’s new interactive website,

Following the video profile, Jeff Allen will sit down with CEO’s from a wide spectrum of businesses to discuss what it takes to lead a company in today’s economy. The conversation will focus on overcoming the current state of the economy from an array of angles. The CEO Roundtable will also delve into the qualities required to land a spot in the much-desired corner office.

The final segment, Survive and Thrive with Tracy Davidson, will air either Wednesday, February 16th or Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM on NBC10. The half-hour special focuses on career advice from the experts who best know how to capitalize on their professional opportunities. Jeff Allen will discuss, among other things, the keys to his success, advice for aspiring business owners, and his recommendations for job seekers in today’s challenging market.

Following the tapings, the interviews will be available publically beginning Friday, February 11th, 2011 at and The taped appearance for “Survive and Thrive” will be appearing on an upcoming NBC10 news program on February 16th or 23rd.

About Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution

Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution, a leading distributor for convenience stores and beverage outlets in the Mid-Atlantic region, is a primary distributor of candy, beverages, snacks, health & beauty supplies, tobacco, grocery, and refrigerated and frozen products. Headquartered in Northeast Philadelphia, Allen Brothers is a third-generation family owned company celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. With annual sales ranking in the Top 30 nationally, Allen Brothers is also ranked in the Top 10 nationally in sales per warehouse square foot.

In addition to over 1,200 convenience stores, Allen Brothers also services gift shops in hotels and hospitals, liquor stores, drug stores, country clubs, supermarkets, grocery stores, superettes, and schools. The century-old family owned business employs over 80 employees.
Allen Brothers’ headquarters is located on the corner of Front and Erie Avenues in Philadelphia and stretches over six acres. The company campus houses a state-of-the-art facility which accommodates its corporate offices as well as a warehouse and refrigerated and frozen food facility. Allen Brothers’ location allows them to effectively service every county of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and DC with next day delivery.

About CEO Intronet

An industry original, CEO Intronet is the first private vetted social network designed exclusively for CEOs and owners of operating companies. CEO Intronet is the brainchild of a group of successful CEOs and serial entrepreneurs who realize the vital need for a private, secure, and trusted means for sitting CEOs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Managing Partners, and other chief decision makers to connect with each other across geographical, industry, and association boundaries.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Keys to Capitalizing on Convenience: Part One

With over 100 Years of dedicated service, the team at Allen Brothers Wholesale has a true passion for the wonderful world of convenience retail. Over the past century, we've developed thousands of relationships with store owners and operators, manufacturers and vendors, and the in-store shoppers. It is through these relationships that we have uncovered many of the secrets for success in the convenience store setting.

Interactive is the key word. This blog is geared to the many faces of convenience retail, and we will pass on what we've learned to you through our writing. But we also want to hear from you!! Whether you're an independent convenience store owner, a franchisee store operator, or a member of a corporate conglomerate, the information and insight you possess is invaluable. At Allen Brothers, we always want to learn more!!

The goal of the blog is simple. We want to create a highly interactive social medium for the store owners, store operators, consumers and shoppers, product manufacturers and vendors, and the team at Allen Brothers Wholesale. By capitalizing on the shared experiences that tie this group together, we can all benefit. And remember we want our blog and our website,, to be a fun and enjoyable!

Today's blog is the first of a multi-part series geared toward maximizing store potential. All of our blog postings are efforts in "IN-Lightenment," the sharing of INsight, INformation, and INstruction. The title of the blog says it all, "The Keys to Capitalizing on Convenience.”

In today’s post, we’ll be taking a look at the single most important element in the world of convenience…


Choosing a location for your store and maximizing its potential is the most important factor in the convenience store equation. Assuming that you have already established your store, you know how critical location has been to your success. There are numerous factors to consider when discussing location, not just the street or intersection. Take, for instance, the following concerns:

A.) Population - It is important to choose a location with a substantial population nearby to support your business. If people have to travel a longer distance, they are more likely to go to a major supermarket for a shopping trip. It is also a good idea to look into an area's projected population growth.

B.) Competition - The common misconception for convenience store owners is that their competition is mostly from other convenience stores. While this can be true in urban environments, it's also important to consider the competition coming from supermarkets. Check the local market you're considering to see if it can support another operation.

C.) Overcoming Competition - If you've picked out a location but there's heavy competition, that doesn't mean you can't have success. You'll just have to be more creative and diligent. One major way to establish your credibility is to establish your cleanliness. Promote your sanitary environment and be sure to maintain a sterile store. Too often, customers walk in the front door and are so turned off by the appearance that their first visit is also their last.

Another way to drive people in your doors rather than out of them is to encourage customers to make use of your restroom facilities. If a customer is willing to spend their hard-earned money in your store, you should certainly be willing to allow them to utilize your bathroom. If you want to establish a collection of “regular” customers, make each and every visitor to your store feel as appreciated as possible. Remember to always keep in mind the long term goal of your store. Step outside the box. The common reputation for convenience store owners is a love for cash. Make your reputation a love for customers!

D.) Traffic - Impulse purchases make up a good percentage of convenience store sales, so high volumes of pedestrian and vehicle traffic passing your store is critical. Location near schools, parks, sporting facilities and other businesses with increased traffic is preferred, but not required.

E.) Overcoming Lack of Traffic - If you don’t have a steady stream of traffic by your store, make a trip to the busiest section of your surrounding area and invest in signage and flyers to notify customers where they can find you. Convenience is crucial, and you need to make it your responsibility to make the process as easy as possible for your current and potential customers. The key is getting people in the store the first time, making the experience satisfying, and cultivating the customer into a habitual visitor to your store.

We've looked into the first of a sequence of key factors that determine a store's maximum profitability. Obviously we don't have all the answers, and that's where you come in.

Now It's Your Turn

1.) Store Owners and Operators - What did we miss? How have you found ways to either take advantage of your desirable location or overcome location-related obstacles? Are you in a heavily populated area with consistent foot traffic and little competition, or have you had to work a little harder to get those customers in the door? How have you kept your customers, and what do you think of an open door policy regarding public bathrooms? Come on, don’t be bashful of your success!

2.) Product Manufacturers and Vendors - In your daily travels, what type of efforts have you observed store owners partaking in regards to their location?

Come on everybody, let's hear from you!!