Cold Fusion

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Don’t Forget the Fountain

With its recent conversion to the Circle K convenience store brand and purchase by an affiliate of Sunoco Inc., Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores, Richmond, Va., has made an effort to better align its cold-vault and fountain-drink strategies.

With its 100 Days of Summer promotion, the chain of 300 convenience stores launched several promotions that focused on drinks—packaged and fountain—as a “total refreshment” category, according to category manager Ruth Anne Lilly.

“We really focused on the Polar Pop brand on the fountain [when we rebranded to Circle K],” Lilly said. “So there was a conscious effort to get people to convert from the cold vault to the fountain,” where margins are larger.

Another promotion included two-for pricing on many key packaged-beverage segments, including energy drinks, sparkling waters, iced tea, bottled water and carbonated soft drinks. The effort was launched in conjunction with a cleanup of the cold vault that included removing all point-of-purchase materials from the cooler doors and replacing it with custom shelf tags produced by GSP signage.

A third promotion, dubbed Take One for the Road, pushed the packaged/fountain drink collaboration further, using POP at the fountain (immediate consumption) to encourage customers to grab a packaged beverage (future consumption) as well.

“These programs are easy to execute,” Lilly said, “and bottom line, our total refreshment business is up 27%.”

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