Grocery: Dairy King
How a neighborhood 7-Eleven became tops in industry milk sales
This past May, Dennis Lane’s 7-Eleven marked 40 years serving customers on Adams Street in Quincy, Mass. The decades-long streak is remarkable, and it is clear to Lane what has helped fuel it: milk.
In an era when c-store sales of milk are down or flat, Lane’s story is all the more remarkable. It underscores that the convenience channel remains ideally suited to serve a local community’s needs.
“It’s been known in the c-store industry that if you’ve got a healthy milk business, you’ve got a healthy store,” says Lane, a longtime 7-Eleven franchisee and president of the New England 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association. While he declines to share specific numbers on his milk sales, Lane says his store sells “hundreds of units” per day, and at times sells 12 times the national c-store unit average, regularly outpacing other 7-Elevens in his market. He also contends that the store leads in sales of take-home half-and-half and cream.
“It’s the traffic driver,” says Lane. “If you’ve got a healthy milk business, you’ve got traffic. With traffic comes a market basket. Milk is its own success story.”
Lane’s dairy supplier is one of his biggest supporters. According to Frank Whorfe, director of c-stores for Garelick Farms, Franklin, Mass., a division of Dean Foods and one of the largest milk brands in the Northeast, Lane simply understands the category.
“He dedicates the right amount of space to milk,” says Whorfe. “He recognizes milk as a destination item and uses milk to encourage the purchase of other items.”
While Whorfe cannot vouch for the store’s specific sales, he agrees that it is an unusually high-volume site, crediting Lane’s attention to handling—monitoring temperatures, keeping product rotated—staying on top of point-of-sale (POS) and pricing signage, and the store’s stellar customer-service record.
“He sets the standard for the way you should handle products,” he says. “Dennis is very passionate about what he does; that’s why he succeeds.”
CONTINUED: Master the Basics