O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
October 2019

Columnist — Joyce Trent

DENVER — A Colorado-based convenience store chain is going high-tech to make check-out easier for its customers.

Russell's has partnered with Skip of Salt Lake City to use its mobile scan-and-go platform at the chain's nineteen convenience store locations in five states.

Skip's mobile check-out app will allow Russell's customers to scan items individually as they add them to their baskets, use their coupons for discounts, and take payment.

Colorado flag

"Offering a frictionless shopping experience to our customers increases the frequency of transactions. By making the shopping experience as fast as possible, we open up more shopping opportunities to our customers that are on break or just short on time. We can accommodate any shopper's schedule without disrupting our operations," explained Tom Bachrodt, Russell's Denver area regional manager.

Russell's started in 2004 and still operates mainly in Denver, with twelve locations, but also has stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Detroit. Further expansion is planned.

The chain offers snacks, sandwiches and salads, candy, tobacco products, reading materials and more.

Three years ago the chain put its toe in the high tech water by starting an unmanned Xpress store model, allowing customers in office buildings to use self-check-out in a small Russell's store.

Another chain, 7-Eleven, is said to be considering a similar mobile check-out program.

DENVER — The crackdown on the sale of nicotine products is in full throttle.

Boulder will ask for voter approval in November to levy a forty percent sales tax on e-cigarette products. The state already has a forty percent excise tax.

Boulder also banned sale of flavored nicotine products such as the controversial JUUL pods and raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21.

The move followed the state's new law allowing municipalities to levy their own taxes without losing their share of the state's tobacco tax money.

A few weeks prior to Boulder's action, Pitkin County authorities voted to put a tobacco tax increase on the November ballot municipal ballot.

If approved, the tax would take effect in January and put a $3.20 cent tax on each pack of cigarettes sold in the county. A forty percent tax would be levied on other tobacco products, such as vape pens and chewing tobacco. The cigarette tax already is scheduled to go up ten cents a year until hitting $4 a pack.

Aspen earlier this year passed an ordinance banning sale of flavored nicotine products including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vape pens.

Glenwood Springs also has approved putting on the ballot a sales tax proposal adding $4 to a pack of cigarettes and a forty percent tax on the price of all other tobacco products.

The city banned sale of flavored nicotine products and raised the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21. So did Carbondale.

Garfield County, on the other hand, turned down a proposal to put a new tobacco tax on its ballot.

DENVER — The International Car Wash Group has expanded in Colorado by acquiring four car washes in metro Denver and Colorado Springs.

The group, which bills itself as the world's largest local car wash company, purchased three sites from Wild Blue Car Wash, two in Colorado Springs and one in Aurora.

The Centennial, CO.-based company also bought one in Highlands Ranch from H2O Car Wash.

All the washes will be re-branded as Car Wash USA Express, one of three sub-brands owned and operated by ICWG. The purchase will bring to fifteen the company's locations in the state. A sixteenth is scheduled to begin construction in Brighton.

The company said current employees will be offered the opportunity to remain under the new ownership.

"We were drawn to ICWG because they made it easy to structure a deal that works well for both of us," said David Begin, managing partner of Wild Blue. "We were also impressed by their track record for integrating companies and employees into their family of brands."

From the buyer's perspective, Jeff Maize, SVP of Acquisitions, said, "These were attractive because they are very well run and successful businesses. They are also strategic to our growth in Colorado and will help us scale our business here to new heights."

ICWG says it washes more than forty million cars a year. It operates nine hundred locations in fourteen countries and has one hundred-fifty in the U.S.

HAYDEN — Kum & Go continues its march across Colorado.

Its parent company, the Chieftain Corporation, has purchased 11 commercial lots here, planning to build a Kum & Go soon. Construction is likely to start in the spring, officials said.

Traffic from Yampa Valley Regional Airport and commuters traveling to and from Steamboat Springs was a big consideration in the decision.

Hayden already has one Kum & Go, but this one would be larger.

Some residents expressed concern about possible light pollution, noise, and a surge in traffic.

The corporation said it was aware of the concerns. "It's a situation we face almost anywhere," said Neil Broderick, vice-president of Real Estate, but he said the company will take steps to reduce the effects of its presence on neighbors.

Originally published in the October 2019 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2019 by KAL Publications Inc.

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