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

  • Posted on: 09/18/2019

    Retailers approach tech’s cutting edge with caution

    Press releases that indicate one retailer is investing in or testing X new technology are often followed by another retailer saying that they are too, or making similar statements about Y technology. In neither case is there a current need for the technology. The issue with leading edge technology is that it is far too often also bleeding edge.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2019

    Are grocers falling short in selling better-for-you foods?

    When shopping people tend to follow established patterns within a store. Having the products integrated means they do not have to seek out areas where better-for-you items are displayed. I agree with Stephen that the role of the store clerk is not to be a dietitian or nutritionist. That being said having some knowledge of the products would be helpful in pointing customers in the right direction. The store can provide more information to more customers by having the type of signage discussed in the article.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    How high will the holiday retail sales ball bounce in 2019?

    I agree with Neil. Personal decisions regarding holiday spending are based on both what is going on with the economy and how a person feels about their own finances. For example, the economy is doing great but I am uncertain about my job, or my largest stock investment just tanked, etc. Conversely if I just got promoted in a company that is doing well despite the economy my spending is likely to increase.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2019

    Macy’s elevates diversity goals

    I agree with Shep that this should not take a special set of initiatives. It should be the way it is. Unfortunately it isn’t, and the focused efforts are necessary. The practicality will vary by the goal. While it could be said that Macy’s is in control of all of the goals, they are more in control of some of them, such as reflecting the spectrum of their customers in their imagery. Others will take a more concerted effort.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    Is Amazon Go heading for a hard stop?

    I echo everyone’s sentiments regarding the cost of the locations, the technology and its maintenance. Another limiting factor is that you still need to have a way to handle age restricted sales, whether it be nicotine delivery systems or alcoholic beverages. These two categories still account for a significant portion of convenience retailer sales.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2019

    Will multistory warehouses mean faster deliveries from Amazon, Home Depot and others?

    If you can’t go horizontal go vertical. This has been true in cities for commercial and residential properties for some time. The same logic applies to warehouses when faced with the same lack or cost of properties. The “I want it now” mentality that is driving our society is not going away. Shortening the time between order and delivery has a perceived value that is not going to go away. Locating its warehouses as close to the customer as it can allows Amazon to capitalize on our need for speed.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2019

    Ace Hardware builds through acquisition in the do-it-for-me market

    Having been a franchisee and then part of a franchise organization I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of franchise systems. Ace has done a great job in establishing a reputation as a good go-to place for the service and products it provides. Like Dave I am surprised that Ace was so quick to rebrand Handyman Matters to its name plate. They have placed a great deal of confidence in the existing Handyman franchise network. Let’s hope it is justified. I do have to wonder how their existing franchisees feel about Ace now owning something that could be seen as a competitor.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2019

    Starbucks developing new store dedicated to pickup and delivery orders

    While admittedly not a fan of their coffee, I admire Starbucks' retail acumen. They recognized that not only would people wait in line behind customers who, as Neil pointed out, had to use a dozen adjectives to describe their drink, but would also do so in a drive-thru line. This new store is a great extension of the digital order and pickup process in one of their regular locations. I also agree with Neil's observation that this will only work where you have enough population density.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2019

    Target leans on vendors in trade war

    I find it ironic that the letter refers to the partnership between Target and its suppliers but then assumes their partners should absorb all the cost associated with the tariffs. The increased cost of the goods is everyone’s problem and if the goal is to have the same retail price then each should absorb some of the cost. That being said, the public is aware of the tariff impact on cost and passing some portion on to them may not be as negative as Target seems to perceive.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2019

    Social media antics cause grief at Walmart, Target, Home Depot, others

    I agree with all who have commented that this is unacceptable, and the perpetrators should be held accountable. While I am not sure of the legalities involved perhaps holding the parents responsible would curb this irresponsible behavior. I admit I find it hard to believe that if their child is a YouTube sensation that they have no idea of what they are doing.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2019

    How to make a big deal out of a chicken sandwich

    One of the things Popeyes had going for it was a customer base that already liked their chicken. The hole in their menu was the lack of a chicken sandwich which their competitors all had. The clever introduction notified their customers and made the rest of the world aware that they had finally created a chicken sandwich. It certainly helped that Chick-fil-A and others added their comments, further raising awareness of the product. Add shortages in few restaurants and you have the media buzzing.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Will Disney shops entertain guests inside Target’s stores?

    Year round dedicated space to their products. Target is hoping that it makes their locations more of a destination and gains them additional shopping trips and sales. It is true that the space devoted to Disney cannot compete with going to a Disney store, but the selected Target may be in areas where Disney stores are easily accessible. Who benefits the most? I'm not sure. Does it matter as long as both benefit?
  • Posted on: 08/23/2019

    Why is Whole Foods CEO dissing plant-based meat alternatives?

    While we often assume that there is a direct connection between what the CEO of a company believes and the actions of the company that is not always the case. Mr. Mackey expressed his personal beliefs but that does not mean he will not sell products that his customers want nor should he.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2019

    Will shoppers thank heaven for mobile checkout at 7-Eleven?

    Convenience store customers have one of the shortest shopping times of any retail format. This means the checkout time represents a disproportionate amount of the shopping experience. A number of research studies have shown their desire to have some form of technology shorten that checkout time. A recent National Association of Convenience Stores (“NACS”) study asked how interested shopper would be in technologies that allow for instant pay, skipping the line, no cashier interaction. Forty-four percent of all shoppers were interested. More importantly 65 percent of frequent shoppers were interested in technology that speeds up the checkout process. The only question that remains is what technology convenience store retailers will select.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2019

    Where is the Kroger/Walgreens relationship headed?

    This provides both companies and their customers a win. The customers get access to products from well-known retailers in locations that may be more convenient to shop. Walgreens outsourced its c-store operation to someone that truly understands the c-store customer having operated hundreds of c-stores across the country until it sold them in 2018 to the EG Group from the U.K. Kroger gains points of distribution for its products without the cost of building Kroger Express locations on what is generally prime real estate. Looking forward to visiting one when they expand the test to Chicagoland.

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