ALEXANDRIA, Va. –Hartford, Connecticut, officials want to curtail 24-hour retail operations in their city. Starting this month c-stores and groceries that want to serve customers between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. must apply for an overnight permit.
Local government concerns about around-the-clock businesses are not a new issue for convenience stores, and according to Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, NACS offers tools to help operators build strong community relationships and enhance their stores’ image before concerns become an issue.
“The 154,000-plus U.S. convenience stores are part of the fabric of almost every city and town across the country,” Lenard said. “At NACS, we offer tools to help educate stakeholders about the contributions that convenience stores make to the communities where they operate. One of the most important is the NACS PR Toolkit. It’s a step-by-step strategy for seeking zoning approvals, but the recommendations apply to any situation. The Toolkit is online so NACS members can access it easily.”
There are more news sources today than ever before. Literally millions of people post to social media every day of the week. It’s important for retailers protect their message and information they want to convey about their store operation before a crisis occurs.
“Social media doesn’t necessarily mean the Internet, radio or TV. It means how people communicate or however your brand can be in a story,” Lenard said. “You know your business better than anybody else, so make sure you tell your story. If you don’t, someone else may and you may not like the results.
“When you own the conversation about your own business, you may attract more customers,” he added. “And it may curtail regulations and legislation that may not factor in how your business operates.”