Montague Foods Implements Fuel Rewards

Montague Foods has beenserving Michigan’s White Lake community since 1988.  They first opened their doors in the groundfloor level of the building across the street from their present location.  Their purpose was to provide the White Lakecommunity with a truly local hometown supermarket where they could purchasequality food and groceries at an affordable price.

 Due to steady growth in the customer base and demand forincreased product selection, they began to look for opportunities and make plansfor expansion.  In 2001, they built a newstore in their current location, providing their customers with easier access,an updated shopping atmosphere and a greater variety of products to choosefrom.

They recently went through a remodel of the present store sothat they could again expand their line of products in many of theirdepartments, and be able to serve their customers even more effectively.

As part of the remodel they installed gas tanks and pumps inthe parking lot to allow them to offer an additional convenience to theircustomers.  As part of the new offeringthe SMS fuel control was installed by STCR to allow them to manage bothin-store and fuel pumps, with the same system. This allows them to customize numerous options within the system toappeal to a broader customer base, while promoting shopping rewards that can beredeemed at the gas station.

IBM Executive Briefing Center

STCR hadanother opportunity to visit IBM’s Executive Briefing Center in ResearchTriangle Park, NC with some of their customers. Retail Industry Experts were brought in to present and discuss thetrends of the grocery industry.  Thepurpose was to learn more about the innovations of IBM Retail Store Solutions(RSS) and how our customers can benefit from them. 

A few facts about IBM Retail Store Solutions are:

·      Retail Store Solution established in 1972
·      2 Million + POS shipped and installed
·      65% of the Top Retailers use IBM
·      17 year Leader in POS patent (5,896 patents in2010)
·      40% of staff has 10+ years  with IBM
·      10 year commitment to service and support onproducts once introduced
·      Improvement in EFF increased about 35% whichsaves about $25/machine a year

The group was taken on a tour of the RSS Development andTest Lab.  We have always known IBMdesigned their Retail Store Solutions to exceed industry standards and foryears we’ve touted this higher standard but this brought things to a whole newperspective. 

The facility is the size of a football field end-zone toend-zone.  Half of it is filled withequipment running and diagnosing all of IBM’s Retail Software.  All customer issues in the USgo through this facility.  The other halfof this facility is where these machines are put to the physical test.  Needless to say this is reallyimpressive. 

One station had Touch Screens where gallons of water weretossed at them, while another station had these units placed under containersthat dripped gallons of water over them and still another had a pinball machinetest performed on it to ensure the screen picks up movement.  The printers are constantly printing andcutting to simulate several years of wear and tear.  The terminals are electrically shocked andexposed to extreme temperatures (-40 – 140 degrees).  Cash drawers loaded with nuts and bolts weremechanically opened and closed at various points to simulate a cashier’shabits.  Dirt was replicated anddeposited in machines to simulate years of accumulation and put into a devicethat accelerates use. 

At the end of the day we were give the special treat offseeing the infamous “Cloud” (a computing model providing web-based software,middleware and computing resources on demand). This 60,000 sq. ft. facility has advanced software analytics which allowthe facility to adjust and anticipate client data and energy workloads.

This tour was a little over an hour but what an impressionit left.  It reinforces our belief thatIBM Retail Store Solutions are the best and STCR is the right company to bringit to you.   If you are interested invisiting the IBM Executive Briefing Center please contact your salesrepresentative at (607) 757-0181.  

Is Your System Secure?

It is important to make yourstore secure from intruders.  As you knowas a store operator, you are required to follow the PCI guideline to protectthe personal data of your customers.  Oneof the many things that you have to do is to make sure that your POS softwareand hardware is updated to the level that is compliant.  This is probably the most obvious step towardthe compliancy.  However, there areseveral other areas that you need to address.

If you have an Internet connection, you are vulnerable toInternet intrusions.  The intrusion couldcome in many forms such as virus, spyware, etc. There are also more active ways that a hacker can gain access to yourcomputer.  The challenge is to stay aheadof these intrusions and it’s a never ending process. 

To secure your network, you need to have hardware andsoftware that are designed to limit access to and from your store.  A Firewall is a solution to protect yoursystem. A Firewall could be a hardware solution or software solution orboth. 

Even with all the technology to protect your system, thebest practice is to limit the Web access to business related traffic only.  Just because you use Windows PCs, it doesn’tmean you should use them like the Windows PCs you have at home.  A good rule of thumb is to “Let your POSsystem function as they are designed – to run your POS system.”

As the technology advances, so do the ways that hackers willcome up with to try to steal valuable information.  This is a never ending battle and you need tokeep up with hardware and software updates that are designed to stay ahead ofthe crooks.   As a POS systems provider,STCR is here to provide ever changing solutions to help you stay up todate.  If you have question on whetheryour network is secure or if your POS software is up to date, please don’thesitate to contact us at (607) 757-0181.

McQuade's Marketplace Wins “Green Chill Award”

McQuade's Marketplacehas been recognized by the federal government for its environmentalpractices.  The independent groceryretailer with stores in Westerly and Mystic, CT, as well as Jamestown, RI, wasrecognized by the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill Partnership forachievements in refrigerant management in the past year.

GreenChill, a voluntary program launched by the EPA in 2007,works with supermarkets to help them transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants,reduce the amount of refrigerant they use, eliminate leaks, adopt greentechnologies and environmental best practices.  According to the EPA, refrigerants used bysupermarkets, if not managed properly, can contribute to climate change andharm the ozone layer.  More than 7,000stores belong to the GreenChill Partnership, 20 percent of the supermarketindustry.  GreenChill presents annualawards to retailers participating in the program.  McQuade's was awarded GreenChill's BestEmissions Rate Award for small retailers, for use of advanced refrigerationtechnology.

Michael McQuade, the company president, said the awardrecognized the cumulative performance of his three stores.  A new freezer system was installed in theWesterly store about 18 months ago.  If aleak develops, he said, the new system can lose no more than an eight-poundcharge or one gallon of Freon.  McQuade's had just a 6 percent Freon leak rate during the last year.  Before the advent of new technology, just fouryears ago, the EPA questioned whether stores could get below a 12 percent leakrate.  A conscientious staff that isfocused on maintenance put the chain in contention for the award.