PROFILE

Steve Montgomery

President, b2b Solutions, LLC

Steve is president of b2b Solutions, a consultancy that specializes in working with retailers and suppliers in the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry. He has over 30 years of experience in top management positions in both entrepreneurial and large corporate business environments within the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry.

After beginning his career as one of its franchisees, Steve served as President and Member of the Board of Directors for Dairy Mart Corporation. He then held the positions of General Manager for C-Stores and Manager of Convenience Retail Strategies and Programs for Amoco Oil Company.

He led Amoco’s efforts to develop and roll out their state of the art Split Second concept and to consolidate their various direct retail operations into a single entity. While at Amoco, he was also a member of its Retail Systems Steering and Facility Design Coordination Committees.

Steve has been actively involved with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) since 1976. He is the only person to have been elected to its Retailer Board and Supplier Board of Directors.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural and Food Economics from the University of Massachusetts, and a MBA in Marketing from W. New England University. He currently serves as member of its International Business Advisory Board.

Steve is a frequent contributor to articles on the convenience retail/petroleum marketing industry and is a frequent speaker at industry functions. He has worked with NACS as a Program Director and Program Moderator on topics ranging Foodservice to the Non-Traditional Competitors.

b2b Solutions retail clients have ranged from single store operators to large multinational firms. These include such companies as Chevron USA Products Company, Crescent Oil Company, Exxon Company, USA, LG-Caltex, Lekkerland (Switzerland) Ltd., Mobil Oil Corporation, Murphy Oil USA, NACS, Pride Convenience, Inc., and Shell Canada Products Limited. Supplier clients include Coca-Cola USA, Food Concepts, Inc., Harmonic Systems, Inc., Kraft Foods, MGC Communication, Inc., and Westec Interactive.

Other Links from Steve Montgomery:

b2b Solutions, LLC Web Site

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  • Posted on: 02/22/2021

    Do grocers need to get better at planning for weather-related disasters?

    Generators may keep the freezers and cases running but they won’t keep them full. Given the nature of the events in Texas the best supermarkets could do was to attempt to fill the stores as full as possible and then refill them as soon as possible. With supply chains based on typical purchase patterns it might not have been possible to overload the stores. I'm not sure of the lead time they had in Texas -- delivery trucks are generally are fully loaded and on tight schedules. I expect the lessons learned from this event will be applied should another disaster occur.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Walmart gives workers a raise and weighs in on the minimum wage debate

    Walmart is moving the affected employees’ total compensation to a more immediate timeframe. Getting a quarterly bonus may mean a nice check when they get it but getting the extra money in each paycheck allows them to plan better. It has the added benefit of being a defined amount rather than a bonus whose size isn’t known until it is received.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2021

    Should retailers just say ‘no’ to Instacart?

    The short answer is it depends. It depends on the retailer's desire and capability to replicate the information systems that Instacart already has in place. Working with Instacart is easy. Creating your own system and adapting your fulfillment model is not. The one advantage to doing it in-house is the retailer maintains a direct relationship with the customer. This may not seem that important now but will when we are able to exit the pandemic. When we do, Instacart is not going to go away. It will take the information it has gathered and use it to create its own source of product and compete with its former customers.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    Best Buy's move may be a good one financially gives the impression of being coldhearted. The publicity around the move may not sit well with the current and potential customers base, but I doubt that the number who will stop buying from Best Buy will make a significant dent in their sales.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2021

    Should retailers ask workers to return to their offices?

    The determining factors for many companies will likely be what industry they are in and the type of work the employees do. There may be some companies who will require employees to return to their offices/places of work full time, but I expect that the hybrid model will endure and be the most popular. A question is, will employees want full time remote if they are asked to accept a lower pay rate because they elected to work in a lower cost of living location?
  • Posted on: 02/10/2021

    Does Walgreens’ nursing home experience portend a slow retail recovery?

    We are at an interesting point in the vaccination process. Many people are working hard to secure a vaccination. Some have even resorted to scamming the process. While this is occurring, polls keep reporting that some segments of the population are saying they won’t get vaccinated when they get the opportunity to do so. My hope is as they see more and more of the population being vaccinated, they will realize their concerns are unfounded and when given the chance they too will get vaccinated.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2021

    Will retail pharmacies be the cure for America’s ‘vaccine deserts’?

    The addition of retail pharmacies as vaccination centers will certainly help in the vaccine deserts but they by themselves are not the cure. Many of these vaccine deserts are also retail deserts. They will need to be augmented by other locations who can manage the requirements necessary to handle the vaccines and the issues surrounding the actual process administering them. All of this assumes they can get a sufficient supply.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    Are retail customers liable to sign off on liability waivers?

    IKEA’s issue with furniture tipping over is widely known. I can see the rationale for asking people to sign a waiver, but a far better solution would be to design the furniture to be less likely to tip over. I have yet to be asked to sign a waiver to enter a store and but if I were my first thought would be the retailer doesn’t trust the preventive measure they have in place and I would find another store.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2021

    Is Kroger justified in closing stores over a hero pay ordinance?

    There is the financial reality and the optics that Kroger has to address with these locations. If the stores were underperforming and at best marginally profitable, they may have faced closing at some point. As the pandemic has done for some, many things that mandated extra pay accelerated the timetable for their closure. That is the financial reality. The optics are that for a major chain to close two locations in one community that mandated extra pay for essential workers is not good. Will it make them look like good guys? Never going to happen. Closing a store anytime does not make a retailer look good. People may understand the closure but at the very best they will be neutral.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2021

    What happens if Amazon warehouse workers vote to unionize?

    I helped grow a retail company from 35 locations to 1,200. Our chairman's mantra was, if you want good people threat them good. Worked well for us.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2021

    What happens if Amazon warehouse workers vote to unionize?

    Workers don’t vote to form a union, they vote against management. In this case the underlying issue seems to be performance expectations. I am in no position to determine if the company’s expectations are justified or not, but given that this is not something that just recently happened, Amazon was negligent if they were not listening in terms of attempting to address this issue. Should the workers join a union, Amazon will certainly work to address any performance grievances workers have at its other warehouses.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2021

    Can a volunteer-run grocery store successfully work through the pandemic?

    There is no question that COVID-19 changed the rules for all grocery businesses. Those that relied upon volunteer labor were the hardest hit. The good news is that people wanted to shop closer to home. As essential businesses they faced fewer restrictions on being open. The bad news is that because workers were volunteers, they were not classified as essential workers. Restrictions are being slowly lifted but the concerns remain. However even if the stores follow all the current safety guidelines I expect recruiting and retaining volunteers will be harder.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2021

    What does GameStop’s wild stock ride mean for retail?

    The short answer is nothing. Typically, the stock’s price has to do with the market perception of the value of the company. In this case it was a game for those who drove the stock price up. One for which many will pay a hefty price.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2021

    Not every retailer is sold on curbside pickup

    Expect all of them to continue post pandemic to different extents for different retailers. Population density will also have a definite impact. My bet for the trend with the least impact will be live streaming. I expect customers will want to get back into the store to see and touch what they are buying.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2021

    Will vaccine reluctant Americans slow the retail comeback from COVID-19?

    Many of the doubters are taking a wait-and-see approach. As they realize that the vaccines are working, and side effects are minor they will be far more likely to seek vaccination. What this means for retailers is the current reality will be with us for some time. As has been noted in other discussions, once customers found they could use alternative purchases process rather the going into the store, many are going to continue to do that even when they feel comfortable going back to shopping in stores. I expect it will be some time before “retail therapy” comes back.

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