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The Indianapolis Star reports on how “a growing number of convenience outlets…are changing their look, merchandise and services to attract new customers and reclaim others from competitors such as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Sam's Club.”

As some of these major competitors have made inroads by selling gasoline at cut-rate prices, convenience stores have had to fight back – getting creative in terms of design and décor, broadening their appeal through expanded product lines, and offering products such as gourmet coffee and Web surfing.
KC's View:
The key, of course, is for c-store operators to find ways to differentiate themselves effectively, and for the entire industry to find ways to raise its game. The problem is that great c-stores stand head and shoulders above the crowd, while mediocre c-stores simply reinforce previous biases against the segment. That’s not at all unusual in any business, where the lowest common denominator often defines the category.

We wonder if real progress can be defined as when the lowest common denominator gets raised.