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Coffee RefillsMarketing Beverages Beyond Refills
Oct 2014 - Dispensed beverage marketing programs can work harder to drive sales. When it comes to beverages, convenience store retailers really do have an edge on the competition and a real value proposition for consumers. By offering a broad array of popular brands, in a variety of flavors and package forms, at compelling price points, convenience stores truly have a beverage offering to satisfy any thirst for consumers on the go. Click Here for the complete article.

7-11 Logo Mini Wavy7-Eleven Celebrates 50 Years of On-the-Go Coffee
Sept 2014 - DALLAS -- A morning staple is turning 50 and one retail giant is celebrating the milestone. 7-Eleven Inc. became the first national retailer to offer
fresh-brewed coffee in to-go cups 50 years ago. To mark the occasion, the Dallas-based convenience store chain is offering a small-size coffee for 50 cents at participating stores from Sept. 3 through Sept. 14. The retailer is also kicking off an "Every 7th Cup Free" coffee rewards program through its 7-Eleven mobile app.
Click Here for the complete article.


Neon Coffee SignLosing Grounds...
July 2014 - These days you can get a decent cup of coffee just about anywhere. Since the rise of Starbucks created a nation of coffee snobs, many convenience stores and quick-service restaurants — once known for watery, flavorless brews — have kicked up their coffee game with higher quality beans, more sophisticated brewing techniques, improved branding, updated equipment and better atmosphere.
Indeed, competition for consumers’ hot dispensed beverage dollars is at an all-time high. How can the industry make up for that lost ground? Click Here for the complete article.


Froster mason Jar'Froster' Mason Jars - Cool Fun Drinkware
June 2014 -
Macs Canada and Circle-K US have launched a line of 26-ounce refillable 'EasyGo Drinkware' Mason Jar 'Froster' mugs with spiral fun straw! They are available at participating Macs and Circle-K convenience stores while supplies last.

Mason Jar
7-Eleven Rolls Out Mustache Straws, Mason Jar Mugs
Dallas (May 12, 2014) – It was only a matter of time. They’re seemingly everywhere – on party supplies, clothing, jewelry, candy, decals, at ‘stache bashes, in party photo booths, even on cars and baby pacifiers. Now, mustaches are on Slurpee® drink straws too, the perfect accompaniment to this summer’s new, novelty Slurpee cup – a 26-ounce refillable, plastic Mason jar mug. Both on-trend Slurpee accessories, sold separately, are made for summer fun.. Click Here for the complete article.

Hot Beverage
Seven Ways Coffee Drives Store Traffic

May 2014 - ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Coffee can be strong both in taste and in its power to drive traffic and profits at convenience stores, as retailers attending a recent CSP roundtable meeting found out.
About 100 attendees at CSP’s three-day Hot Dispensed Beverage Meeting reviewed statistics covering the importance of coffee to the hot-dispensed category, as well as the important role coffee drinker's play with market basket size. Statistics from the Chicago-based Technomic Inc. also indicate that c-store retailers make less on what they sell, but realize greater margins than with other foodservice categories. Click Here for the complete article.


Millenials Java MaturityThe Facts on Java Maturity
Apr 2014 - CONCORD, N.C. -- Forty-seven percent of millennia's drink more regular hot brewed coffee today than they did when they first started drinking coffee (versus 37% who say they are drinking more coffee drinks today), suggesting that young coffee drinkers have tended to "mature" over time, gravitating from sweeter drinks to brewed coffee as they age, according to coffee roaster S&D Coffee & Tea's new white paper, "Appealing to Young Coffee Drinkers Along Their Maturity Path." and 87% of the sample started drinking coffee (of any kind) by age 21. Click Here for the complete article.

Pantone Fall Colors
Millennials Millennials & C-Stores: The Perfect Fit?
Mar 2014 - JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- The rise of Millennials is good news for convenience store retailers because this generation likes to shop at c-stores -- and not just for the traditional categories. Millennials (those born after 1980) frequent c-stores more often than other consumers. Almost three-quarters of Millennials shop at a convenience store at least once a week, compared to 68 percent of total respondents. Click Here for the complete article. Pantone

PantonePantone Reveals Color of the Year for 2014
Jan 2014 - “While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”  Click Here for the complete article.

Web newsHow Can I Bring New Coffee-drinking Customers into My Stores?
Jan 2014 - For most coffee drinkers, the first beverage consumed in the morning is a cup of coffee. In fact 68% of them drink one cup within the first hour of waking up. This should tell you that coffee is still a growing consumed beverage in the U.S., and with 54% of the U.S. population over the age of 18 consuming coffee everyday, sales can only continue to climb. Click Here for the complete article.

APPsThe Year of the App
Dec 2013 - JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- An old adage updated to the 21st century might suggest that "an app a day makes the customer stay." While seeing a new app a day in this industry is unlikely, it seems that each month another convenience store chain rolls out a mobile app with the intentions of engaging customers and building loyalty. Click Here for the complete article.

Driving Frozen Beverage Sales

Nov 2013 -
Convenience store operators who are cashing in on frozen dispensed sales are combining new and exciting flavors with popular promotions, good equipment maintenance and a strong foodservice offering. Frozen beverages are widely regarded as a high-growth category, and convenience store operators looking for more of a good thing are complementing their traditional sets with frozen dairy beverage programs.  Click Here for the complete article.


SlurpeeStrong Growth for Frozen Dispensed Beverages
Oct 2013 - Consumer demand is surging as operators continue appealing to new audiences with new flavors and product innovations. Everyone agrees that frozen beverage sales are strong and the outlook for the category remains extremely positive for the next few years.  But the convenience store operators who are cashing in the most—and not only during the warm weather months—are the ones who combine new and exciting flavors with popular promotions, good equipment maintenance, a strong foodservice offering and a savvy understanding of social media.  Click Here for the complete article.

Coffee CupNACS Category Close Up: On The Back Burner

Sept 2013 - With sales and profits slipping, c-stores should look for ways to improve the performance of their hot beverage programs. There’s a reason convenience store operators call coffee “black gold.” With profit margins at 60%, hot dispensed beverages is one of the most profitable categories inside of convenience stores — second only to ice. But selling them isn’t as easy as it used to be.  Click Here for the complete article.

MillenialsAppealing to the Millennial Mindset
Aug 2013 - A seismic shift is taking place and every retailer is feeling the ground move. The venerable Baby Boomer generation is no longer center-stage for marketers. Although walking away from the Boomer cohort would be a mistake for marketers — they still control the majority of wealth and discretionary spending, after all — the up-and-coming Millennial generation can't be ignored either.
 
For convenience store operators, there are some significant differences between the two generations, and those should be reflected in go-to-market strategies and product selection. Click Here for the complete article.

Fueling the FountainCold Dispensed Beverages: Fueling the Fountain
July 2013 - On paper, cold dispensed beverages might not seem like a huge win for convenience stores. They account for just over 12% of sales in the foodservice category and less than 2.5% of overall in-store sales, according to 2012 NACS State of the Industry data. Two years ago, average cold dispensed beverage sales per store were less than $50,000. By comparison, average packaged beverages sales per store were nearly five times that amount.  Click Here for the complete article.

Quik TripCustomers Pick QuikTrip as most Preferred C-store Chain
June 2013 - TULSA, Okla. -- QuikTrip Corp. was voted the most popular convenience store chain in a new study by Market Force Information. More than 7,600 consumers participated in the study.
The Tulsa, Okla.-based convenience retailer was followed by Wawa Inc., RaceTrac Petroleum Corp., Speedway LLC, ARCO/ampm, Casey's General Stores Inc., Circle K Stores Inc., 7-Eleven Inc., Valero Corner Stores (now known as CST Brands Inc.) and Shell Oil Co. to round out the top 10. Click Here for the complete article.

Color of the Year PANTONE Emerald, a lively, radiant, lush green, is the Color of the Year for 2013.

May 2013 - The 2012 color of the year, PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, provided the energy boost we needed to recharge andmove forward. Emerald, a vivid verdant green, enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight as well as promoting balance and harmony. Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. Also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity, no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.
"The most abundant hue in nature, the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. "As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today's complex world. This powerful and universally-appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors."


Coffee BarDemand for Coffee Soars / Cold Sales Heating Up
Apr 2013
CATEGORY MANAGEMENT OUTLOOK REPORT 2013 -- Sales of coffee dominate sales of hot beverages, making up 83.3% of the total hot beverage market in the US. Coffee consumption is expected to increase through 2015 at an average annual rate of 2.7%, while tea consumption  is expected to increase through 2015 at an average annual rate of 3.1%, according to the National Coffee Association's (NCA) National Coffee Drinking Study.  Click Here for the complete article


Social MediaC-Stores Favor Social Media Over Other Digital Platforms
Mar 2013 NATIONAL REPORT -- Three-quarters of convenience store retailers use Facebook, and image building is their dominant strategy for the social media platform, according to a new social and digital media study conducted by Convenience Store News and Balvor LLC, a leading retail industry consultancy. That’s significantly more than the number that use digital platforms such as e-mail marketing (56 percent) and text messaging (51 percent).  Click Here for the complete article.

Coffee BarC-Stores Recapture Coffee
Feb  2013 Exclusive study shows highest sales since 2008!
NEW YORK -- The convenience channel's continued efforts to upgrade its coffee offering--considered by many the gateway to any successful breakfast foodservice offer--is paying dividends.
 
In data obtained exclusively by CSP Daily News, the convenience store industry reported its highest coffee sales in five years. A report by foodservice market research specialists StudyLogic, Long Island, N.Y., shows 2012 net coffee sales at more than $2.85 billion, placing it third in total coffee volume, behind coffee shops and burger restaurants. (Coffee sales include brewed, espresso and blending services.)
 
"This is an exciting time for c-stores," said Samuel Nahmias, executive vice president and COO at StudyLogic. "For the first time in five years, c-stores are finally growing their total hot beverage unit sales after the economy fell in late 2008. We are now back and above historical unit consumption levels. Click Here for the complete article.

The New ‘It’ Consumer
Jan 2013 Millennials are replacing their Baby Boomer parents as the power generation.

Brad Morris, senior manager of customer advisory services for Coca-Cola Refreshments, was walking through a large grocery store about a year and half ago when he spotted a young mother under 30 years old with her toddler and made two notable observations.
 
First, she was carrying a Coca-Cola product that was not yet available at the store and was most likely purchased from a convenience store. Secondly, as he tells it, Morris saw the young mother pick up a box of cereal, snap a picture of it on her smartphone — possibly reading the bar code or accessing nutritional information — and then place it back on the shelf.
 
Morris had just witnessed the new "It" consumer: the Millennial.  
Click Here
for the complete article.

HELP! Used Daily for Over 6 Years
Dec 2012 –
I am a huge fan of your "EasyGo Drinkware" stainless lined travel mugs.  I HAD 1 that I used daily for over 6 years!!!  Somehow it just disappeared.  I am interested in purchasing a mug. Looking forward to hearing from you ASAP. Thanks, Kathy Feste.
MME – We replied to Kathy that our ‘EasyGo Drinkware’ product line is available in large and small chain convenience stores nationwide.

NATIONAL REPORT:
C-Stores Driving Traffic with Coffee Promos
Nov 2012 –
Specials are brewing nationwide as convenience stores pour on the promotions to perk up profits from the coffee category.  
7-Eleven Inc.’s fourth annual 7-Election Presidential Coffee Cup Poll, which lets customers vote by picking a blue donkey- or red elephant-themed cup, is in full swing. Meanwhile, Pumpkin Spice coffee has returned to Wawa Inc.'s stores, while Pumpkin Spice cappuccino is wooing The Pantry's Kangaroo Express customers through this fall. And promotions aren’t limited to a single season.


Kangaroo Express is also enticing java lovers with its Roo Mug, a reusable Bean Street Coffee mug that debuted Oct. 3 and retails for $1.69 — the same price as an extra-large coffee. The first fill is free and refills are just 99 cents. Customers can build their own brew and share it with Facebook friends at www.beanstreetcoffee.com. Those who join The Roo Club can save even more by texting “ROOCLUB” to “THEROO” for deals like 49-cent coffee and free refill days.

The growing prevalence of coffee promotions underscores the important role this hot beverage plays in today’s competitive marketplace. As industry experts explain, coffee is key to driving store traffic and increasing profits in the process.

“McDonald's has upgraded its offering and other retailers like Subway have entered the breakfast market with quality programs,” said Dean Dirks, CEO at Dirks & Associates, a consulting firm that advises the convenience store industry on foodservice issues.

“Foodservice is the differentiator for c-stores and continues to be a growth engine. That includes hot coffee, which is a top 10 category just behind candy, and a top three margin category from a profit perspective,” added Paul Weitzel, managing partner at Willard Bishop LLC, who leads the consulting firm’s efforts to provide cost reduction and profit-building solutions to the grocery, convenience, mass, drug and foodservice channels. “Coffee is a trip driver and very important for satisfying the morning on-the-go shopping occasion...If done right, coffee can be one of the most important levers for loyalty.”

Wawa is taking differentiation a step further as it rolls out a new made-to-order hot and cold espresso beverage program this year to its 600-store chain. As reported earlier by CSNews Online, the made-to-order cappuccinos, lattes, chai and other beverages are part of the chain’s latest foodservice reinvestment initiative.
The new line is an extension of the chain's smoothies and frozen cappuccinos, which launched in 2010 along with a complete coffee section reimaging. While all employees are trained to make the new drinks, there are associates designated to be the lead on making beverages for each shift. Currently, its espresso menu offers more than 22 options, in addition to the smoothies and frozen cappuccinos.

By the Numbers
Driving store visits and building customer loyalty have become essential goals as demand for gasoline and tobacco products has waned, according to the recently released Nielsen report, “Growing Appetite for C-Stores.”

“While sales trends are crucial, trip and purchase incentives are equally important,” the study stated. “Consumers will respond strongly to promotions as seen by a 14 percent growth in promoted unit sales, which is over four times the rate of growth of non-promoted unit sales.”

Coffee promotions can help meet those goals—especially since coffee already is the top planned c-store purchase. Ninety-six percent of coffee buyers know they are going to buy a cup of coffee when they enter the store, and more than two-thirds of customers buying coffee at c-stores do so four or more times per week, according to information from Willard Bishop Consulting.

Despite the growing popularity of specialty hot drinks, traditional coffee still dominates in the convenience channel. In 2011, it accounted for three quarters of all hot beverage sales, according to the Convenience Store News 2012 Industry Report. Coffee including flavored, accounted for 75.2 percent of hot beverage sales, while cappuccino/specialty coffee comprised 16.4 percent of dollar sales in the category.

And coffee’s popularity shows no sign of slowing. Daily coffee consumption soared by seven percentage points in the past year, moving coffee ahead of soft drinks, according to the 2012 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) report from the National Coffee Association.
The NCDT also revealed that total coffee consumption jumped from 68 percent to 73 percent for past-week consumption and from 76 percent to 78 percent for past-year consumption, while gourmet coffee consumption moved from 37 percent of all cups of coffee consumed in 2011 to 46 percent in 2012.

Best Practices, Improved Sales
While special prices for mugs and refills and limited-time seasonal offerings are among the most popular strategies for increasing c-store coffee sales, there is room for improvement in coffee marketing campaigns.

Willard Bishop's Weitzel, for example, believes the power of seasonal promotions remains largely untapped. “Starbucks does the best job of this and has created great seasonal demand and excitement,” he said. “Right now, most coffee programs are straightforward with standard flavors every day. I think c-stores can learn from [Starbucks’ approach] and create their own seasonal offerings.”

Leading c-store executives recognize that improved coffee programs can boost coffee sales. They shared information about their companies’ best practices at the 2012 Convenience Store News Foodservice Summit <http://www.csnews.com/article-serving_up_foodservice_insights-2973.html> , presented in partnership with Tyson Foods, in March.

Wawa, for example, focuses on customization and employs a master coffee roaster who oversees the specifications of all its roasts — an approach that facilitates the product development process within its supplier relationship, said Mike Sherlock, Wawa’s director of foodservice.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.'s Circle K stores are revamping coffee presentations, moving away from flavored coffees, and tapping into the “Make it Your Way” trend. "We're going to more robust varietal blends, limited flavors and offering customization,” Larry Brueggemier, director of foodservice development, said. Circle K is also replacing standard glass pots with soft heat containers — a move Dirks sees many retailers making because they can’t control the quality of the coffee in open glass pots.

Creating an in-store presentation that draws customers to the hot beverage section is also proving a profitable plus. Case in point: When Kwik Trip remodeled its hot beverage area and added an island-style layout, coffee sales increased 5 percent to 15 percent, depending on the store.
As Jim Bressi, Kwik Trip’s director of food research and development, stressed when summing up how to attract more coffee lovers to c-stores, "You have to make the customer believe it's a wholesale change for them.”

© 2012 Stagnito Media. All rights reserved.

‘Sox’ Ends a 6 Year Relationship!
Oct 2012
– I spoke to your customer service  this morning about my coffee cup, I have had my 20 oz. Mercury coffee cup for almost 6 years, it was a DD for Dunkin' Donuts, I have been drinking my coffee out of this cup and no other, I even took it on vacations with me. This is by far the best coffee cup ever made. Well my cat Sox who I love very much jumped on my desk and knocked it off of my desk and the outside of the cup cracked. I had coffee in another cup this AM and just did not enjoy my coffee at all. I must say that 12/3/2012 is one of my saddest day of all. Please help me enjoy my coffee again and replace my cup I will pay what ever it is. Thank you so much. Michael A., Lyndhurst, NJ  MME – We had ‘Sox’ cough up a replacement.

8 Years / 5000 Cups – Time for a cup change!
Sept 2012
I bought one of your 20 oz wood grain mugs at a 7-11 about 8 years ago. I would have to say during the 8 years I have drank 5000 cups out of
this mug. I don't see where I could order another one straight from you. Would you happen to know of anyone that is selling the 20 oz wood grain mug?
Also, one of the things I like about your mug, I can drive from Saginaw Michigan to the Ohio Turnpike, about 2 1/2 hours and my coffee would still be hot!
James Schmidt, Saginaw, MI.

MME – We replied to James indicating the wood grain collection has been replaced by our popular Camouflage Mugs using ‘Next Camo ®’ licensed patterns.  These same quality mugs are good for another 8 years/5000 cups - available in convenience stores nationwide.


If an ‘Old Firefighter Mug’ Could Talk!
Aug 2012 –
Good morning! I have had one of your 32oz cold insulated hour glass shaped mugs for years.  This has become very sentimental to me because of all the fire incidents I have taken this mug with me up and down the state of California. The shape is what’s the huge plus because no matter where I have gone, the mug rides on my center fold down arm rest and never spills going around corners or on rough roads, which is about 80% of my firefighting roads I travel.
Today your EasyGo mug fell off my fire engine and the lid cracked in two. The rest of the mug is in great shape.  The lid had a screw style attachment and swivel top to allow the straw to go into the mug.  I would absolutely love to buy one of these lids, or a whole new mug if I knew where one would be located.  I’m afraid my "old' firefighter mug might be an antique too. Oh yes it’s a red mug with engraved flames above the little EasyGo medallion that was on each side too. If there is any way you can help my search I would greatly appreciate it!
Sincerely, Rick–Captain Monterey Park Fire Department, CA


Fire Fighter Mug
Team USA Logo
Helping Support ‘Team USA’ Athletes - $7350 Donation
July 2012 –
“It’s great the convenience store community came together and raised over $7000 for ‘Team USA’ from proceeds on the sale of each travel mug.” commented Steve Schlotzhauer, President of Mugs Made Easy.  “Moreover, we are happy that our ‘Team USA’ branded travel mug promotion was a success and well received by c-store customers across the country – thank you for helping support U.S. Olympic athletes – www.teamusa.org”  Helping build a great coffee experience for your customer is what we’re all about.

’Best Mug I Have Ever Had’

Apr 2012 – I purchased one of your “Mugs Made Easy” mugs, a 20 oz. Mercury mug.  I have had this mug for several years and must say it is the best mug I have ever had and I have owned many.  This mug is very sturdy and will keep coffee warm for several hours.  I accidentally dropped the mug (not the first time) and the handle broke.  I cannot find this mug anywhere and would like to purchase a replacement.  My niece even stopped at travel centers along the way to the beach and found a similar mug, but it does not come close to being the same quality mug.  Again many thanks for your assistance. Justin – Greenville, TN

Beverages Fuel In-Store Purchases

Mar 2012 – ALEXANDRIA, VA – Beverage purchases drive gas customers inside the store more than any other item, but new preferences are emerging, with consumers saying that more foodservice, more healthy options and more local involvement could all increase their spending at convenience stores, according to findings released today from the new 2012 NACS Consumer Fuels Report .

While nearly half (48%) of gas purchasers said that they never go inside the store, for those who do, they said that beverages (coffee in the morning, cold drinks the rest of the day) are a big lure, with one in four consumers (25%) saying that they regularly purchase drinks. A higher percentage said that they purchase drinks in the morning (33%), indicating that coffee is a solid traffic-driver for in-store sales. Also, younger consumers (ages 18 to 24) are much more likely to buy drinks: 43% of younger customers said that they buy drinks inside the store, compared to only 19% of those age 50 and older.
“Convenience and fuel retailers know that consumers are extremely price sensitive with respect to gasoline, and determining the link between gas and in-store purchases was a central question that NACS sought to answer in the 2012 NACS Consumer Fuels Report,” said NACS Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger. “A retailer’s gas price is clearly the primary attraction for consumers to both buy gas and shop inside the store. That is why the gross margin (the markup) on a gallon of gasoline is usually only 5% to 6% — far lower than the markup on any item inside the store — and possibly the lowest margin percentage in all of retail.”

Retailers fight to get consumers to their gas pumps, knowing that they will travel to another location for a better price, translating into both a loss in sales on gas and in-store items. A retailer’s fuel margins are razor-thin — in 2010, 67% of convenience store revenues were from gas, but only 26% of profits were generated at the pump. NACS found that once a consumer purchases gas, retailers often have several options to get them inside the store.
While beverages are the biggest in-store traffic driver, foodservice is growing in popularity at convenience stores. More than one in four consumers (28%) said that they would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely to buy food at a convenience store. One in 11 consumers (9%) said that they had eaten food at a convenience store within the past day, while 43% had purchased food from a store in the past month.
Traditional snacking items in convenience stores remain the most popular food choices — over the past year, 29% of consumers purchased chips/salty snacks and 20% purchased candy bars, but healthy options are being sought by a growing group of consumers. Over the past year, one in 11 consumers (9%) had purchased yogurt, nuts or granola, 5% had purchased salad and 5% had purchased fresh fruit. Fruit is particularly popular in the West, with one in 10 consumers (10%) saying that they bought fresh fruit.

Healthier items do not yet dominate in-store sales, but the idea of having healthy options available is very important to consumers. Nearly two-thirds of consumers (63%) say that they would be more likely to shop at a store that offers healthy options. Community engagement is also important, with 61% of consumers saying that they would be more likely to shop at a store that supported the community. Reprint from 2012 NACS Retail Fuels Report


Iced Coffee Sales Heating Up!
Feb 2012 –
Canton, MA. – As the temperatures drop, the popularity of iced coffee is heating up. According to an independent survey commissioned by Dunkin' Donuts, an overwhelming majority (84%) of iced coffee drinkers claim they are drinking more iced coffee this winter compared to last winter. And, people are turning to ice for more than just a boost to make it through a winter day, as nearly two-thirds feel that iced coffee gives them a mental edge over colleagues at work.
 
Dunkin' Donuts conducted the survey during the last week of December 2011. Polling 500 iced coffee drinkers throughout the country, the survey examines the "cold hard facts" about iced coffee consumption, and how and why coffee drinkers are warming up to iced coffee during the winter.
 
Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents say that they are drinking more iced coffee this winter than last winter. Eighty-six percent (86%) of respondents say that they are drinking more iced coffee this winter compared to three winters ago.
 
Meanwhile, 77% of respondent’s claim that iced coffee makes them feel more productive at work, while nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents believe that drinking iced coffee gives them a mental edge over their colleagues.
 
Iced coffee drinkers also savor the flavor. According to the survey, 90% of respondents go for flavor in their beverage. The most popular choices for flavored iced coffee among survey respondents are French vanilla (30%), mocha (27%) and caramel (21%).
 
When do most people crave iced coffee? For iced coffee drinkers responding to the survey, the most popular time of the day is between 10 am and 2 pm (41%), followed closely by 2 pm to 6 pm (37%).
More than half of respondents (55%) say that they feel cooler and trendier by holding a cup of iced coffee. The percentage increases to 60% among younger iced coffee drinkers, age 18 to 24.
Dunkin' Donuts' survey also examined ways besides iced coffee that people get themselves going and keep themselves running during the winter months. Some of the top responses include:
 
Going to the gym (35%)
Planning a vacation (19%)
Watching the football playoffs (17%)
Watching new shows on TV (17%)
Receiving a tax rebate (12%)
 
“As the company that serves the most iced coffee in America, we've seen iced coffee consumption continue to rise steadily in winter months, with iced coffee now nearly as popular as the classic cup of Dunkin' Donuts' hot coffee even during the coldest time of year," said John Costello, chief global marketing and innovation officer at Dunkin' Brands. "As our survey results show, more and more people recognize iced coffee as the perfect way to gain some extra energy or a mental edge that can be so important for keeping running through the long winter days." Reprint from NACS Daily News

Why is Hot Beverage Market on the Rise?

Jan 2012 – The hot beverage market continues to grow, with over two-thirds of coffee consumption being out of home.  Don’t think that quick service restaurants haven’t noticed. QSRs have dramatically increased product offerings to include more hot beverages. McDonald’s, for one, has increased their McCafé offerings helping them increase their same store sales for 55 consecutive months. Even convenience stores are upgrading their hot beverage selection to try to compete with the quick service options.
 
Specialty Hot Beverage Operators currently make up 5% of the consumer spends in the Limited Service Market, of which over 11,000 are independent operators. Still, the market is dominated by the large chains like Starbucks that added an additional 17,000* units globally. (www.starbucks.com:  End of fiscal 2010)
 
The hot beverage market doesn’t seem exciting on paper. After all, the chance a prisoner opts for a cup of coffee as a last meal over a juicy steak is pretty slim. However, a $14.4 billion market in a declining economy is simply something manufacturers cannot, and should not ignore. The hot beverage market is one of the few markets that have shown continued growth over the past 4 years. The global market for hot beverages (coffee and tea) is forecasted to reach $69.77 billion in value and 10.57 million tons in volume by the year 2015.

According to Cathy Kearns, General Manager at CHD Expert, "We have seen independent and chain coffee shops continue to dominate new restaurant net growth in North America. The Hot Beverage market transactions have nearly tripled between 2000 and 2011 whereas the Limited Service Foodservice transactions have decreased by 7% during the same period.”

Why is Hot Beverage market on the rise?

Future growth in worldwide coffee and tea industries is expected to rely on a few key factors – quality, health and convenience.
 
Widespread awareness of health benefits associated with hot tea continues to drive the beverage to new heights of popularity.  Hot tea is one of the healthy beverages recommended by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. So go ahead and have that second helping of fries, just make sure to wash it down with a nice cup of hot tea.
 
Gourmet coffee continues to be a significant portion (37%) of total coffee consumed; indicating that consumers want to maintain coffee quality despite the economy. The constant demand for Coffee had helped it sustain extraordinary sales levels even in an uncertain economy. As the economy recovers, rising levels of affluence, consumer awareness and greater per capita consumption in developing economies, is slated to accelerate future growth.  No matter the consumer age group, coffee consumption is on the rise:
 
40% of 18-24 year olds drink coffee daily, up from 31% in 2010


54% of 25-39 year olds drink coffee daily, up from 44% in 2010

An increase in consumption among younger drinkers demonstrates strong category loyalty, which suggests a solid customer base for future growth.

Whether it is a case for our cell phones, or the toppings on our pizza we want everything we have OUR way. Ordering coffee with two creams was a thing of the 90s, I’ll take a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot latte with whip. Thanks.

Reprint from Brad Bloom - CHD Expert www.chd-expert.com

Help! – Need Flames
Dec 2011 – How can I get some flame tumblers? I purchased 10 flame mugs from a store here in Utah 10 years ago. They discontinued selling them.  I now have just one. Three were stolen by old girl friends. One was in a back hoe accident. Two were run over when I balanced them on my bumper. One I forgot on the top of Snowbird Ski Resort while camping. My brother’s daughters made two into boats at the lake until they filled up and sank to the bottom.  Now how can I get more? I like the flame mug style.      HELP!
Scott – Lehi, UT

Buzz Kill
Nov 2011 –  
Coffee is an important part of the profitable hot dispensed beverages category, which adds around $3,676 margin dollars per store per month, according to NACS State of the Industry data for 2010. Combined with cappuccino and specialty coffee - coffee accounts for the lion’s share of the category’s sales. Tea, hot chocolate and other dispensed beverages make up less than 3 percent. In 2009, coffee, cappuccino and specialty coffee sales per store neared $80,000. Download Article Click Here

Team USA Olympic
Helping Support ‘Team USA’ Athletes - MME Offers Upscale Licensed Drinkware
Oct 2011
“It’s an incredible honor to be part of the United States Olympic family, and we look forward to introducing our ‘Team USA’ EasyGo Drinkware line", said Steve Schlotzhauer, President of Mugs Made Easy. “Moreover, we are happy that our ‘Team USA’ branded travel mug line will provide proceeds from the sale of each mug to help support U.S. Olympic athletes – www.teamusa.org” Helping build a great coffee experience for your customer is what we’re all about.

The Cup That Kroc Built
Sept 2011 – Is McDonald’s stealing your coffee sales? – It’s irritating, really. Business people are told to have patience, that success often involves failure, humility, persistence and countless trips to the drawing board, right? Then McDonald’s comes along and
in less than two years, pushes the lid off our coffee programs. It’s not enough that Micky D’s ratcheted up its regular cup of joe, but the global giant had the nerve to usher in a line of frappes, mochas, lattes and cappuccinos. It even had the chutzpah to call it a café. And it worked. Download Article Click Here

 
Are Millennials Eating Your Lunch?
Aug 2011 – Six ways to build millennials trust. - The millennial generation is changing the way companies are marketing themselves, due to millennials significant population and the profound changes in how they conduct their daily lives compared to any generation before. Your goal is to build their trust in your business. Millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history at more than 50 million and they identify technology as the differentiator between themselves and other generations. Download Article Click Here

Coffee Represents a Purpose-Driven Purchase
July 2011 - HOUSTON – Getting a cup of coffee or another dispensed beverage is the single-minded mission of many high frequency convenience store visitors, and often they’ll grab a donut or something else to go with it, according to research by The NPD Group.

NPD’s Convenience Store Monitor, which continually tracks consumer purchasing behavior of more than 51,000 convenience store shoppers in the United States, reveals that 86 percent of coffee purchases are planned and 7 percent are purchased on a deal. Other dispensed beverages are also purpose-driven purchases, with only 14 percent bought on impulse and 13 percent on a deal. Consumers of coffee and other dispensed beverages are high frequency buyers who represent 68 percent more visits than the average convenience store customer.

“The fact that the buyers of coffee and other dispensed beverages are defined differently than the typical convenience store visitor presents an incremental opportunity for c-stores,” said David Portalatin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD, in a press release. “If a convenience store can deliver on what dispensed beverage buyers are looking for in terms of product quality, a rewards program, and a clean and bright store, it can attract a loyal new customer base.”

Coffee and other dispensed beverages represent 31 percent of unit purchases made in a convenience store, and of the dispensed beverage consumers, 33 percent are looking for coffee, 11 percent cappuccino or latte and 3 percent hot or iced tea, according to NPD. Typically, with the dispensed beverage incremental purchases are made amounting to an average visit of $6.83. Forty-five percent of consumers who purchase their coffee between 6 am and 10 am tend to also purchase donuts, gum, sweet rolls, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, snack cakes and cookies, reports NPD.

Dispensed beverage buyers are different than average convenience store buyers, who tend to be blue-collar males, 18-to-49 years old, according to NPD. Dispensed beverage buyers tend to be female, ages 35-64, white collar, Hispanic and from larger households. Coffee buyers tend to be male, ages 45-65, a mix of white and blue collar, strong military connection, smaller households and higher income.  

“The fact that coffee and other dispensed beverages are purpose-driven purchases is a ready-made niche for any convenience store ready and willing to compete with QSRs and other retail outlets offering coffee and beverages,” said Portalatin. “If a convenience store is looking for a way in which to distinguish itself from its gasoline or other offering, dispensed beverages appear to be among the possible answers.”

Reprint from NACS Daily News  http://www.nacsonline.com


Fast, Fresh & 'Mine'
Customization, high-quality beans crucial for great coffee program

June 2011 - SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's enough to make a coffee guru weep: Customers rate the variety of coffee additives as more important that the variety of coffee. In other words, if you don't have the right creamers, your beans don't matter that much. Dan Streetman, certified lead instructor for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and director of coffee for Irving Farms Coffee, didn't weep--but he definitely winced--when pointing out that factoid in the breakout session "Recipe for Great Away-From-Home Coffee" at the fourth annual FARE (Foodservice at Retail Exchange) conference.

Citing facts and figures from a WhiteWave Foods study on coffee consumers, Streetman detailed the reasons why a quality coffee program is a must-have:
 
Coffee is the third-most-consumed beverage in the world behind water and soda.
150 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the United States every year.
Consumers average 12 coffee drinks per week.
Only 11% of consumers say they never drink brewed coffee.
One-third of coffee consumers drink it multiple times per day.
The specialty-coffee segment is growing at 20% per year.
 
Based on the WhiteWave study, consumers have three demands for a coffee offering: Make it fast, make it fresh and make it mine.

And they mean fast: According to the study, customers want to leave their car, buy the coffee and be back in the car in less than four minutes. That sounds like a tall order. To achieve that, Streetman suggested placing a coffee display close to the front of the store, or at least visible from the front, so the customer doesn't need to waste time hunting for the brew. Along with visibility, adequate, neat prep space is crucial. Forty-nine percent said they would not return if they experienced a messy or unclean coffee area. That might mean having an extra person on the floor who's in charge of keeping the prep space tidy, Streetman said.

When it comes to freshness, Streetman (pictured) said, the key drivers for consumers are "absence of negatives." And "freshly brewed" is the most important factor when having a quality coffee experience, according to WhiteWave.

Consumers want coffee that:
Does not taste burnt.
Is freshly brewed--not old, "stale" pots of coffee.
Is not watery.
To avoid these negatives, Streetman suggested that retailers brew high-quality coffee, and brew fewer roasts more frequently. Most consumers are content with four roasts: regular, French, decaffeinated and Colombian.

To brew high-quality coffee, the three most important factors are:
 
A correct coffee-to-water ratio. The "golden cup" standard set by the SCAA for the coffee-to-water ratio is 3.5 ounces by weight of coffee to 64 fluid ounces of water.
A grind to match brewing time. Normal drip brewing takes 4 to 6 minutes. If the coffee is too fine, it will increase the brew's bitterness; if it's too course, it will be bland and watery.
Good quality water (because brewed coffee is 98% water). Technically, the sediment content of the water should be 75 to 250 mg/L of total dissolved solids. Streetman stressed the importance of a good water filter; spending thousands of dollars on high-quality coffee equipment is pointless if it's going to get clogged up by unfiltered water and the minerals it contains, he said.
Coffee's flavor degrades over time, and heating it destroys its flavor. If you're brewing coffee every hour, that's reasonable, he said; anything less is "fantastic."

And now back to that creamer statistic. Making the coffee "mine" is key, 72% of participants in the WhiteWave study said. The most appealing attribute for do-it-yourself coffee is "ability to customize." A big part of that is the variety of sweeteners, creamers and syrups on the coffee bar.

"When people think about coffee, they think about creamer," Streetman said. They would rather have more choices in additives than "outlandish flavors of coffee," he said. Also, 50% would consider not returning to a location to purchase coffee based on a poor creamer experience.
 
Reprint from CSP Daily News, July 1, 2011 - by Jennifer Bulat http://www.cspnet.com

Coffee consumption helps prevent Alzheimer's disease: Study
May 2011 - University of South Florida researchers have found that consumption of coffee prevents the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease.  According to the study, caffeine boosts the blood levels of a critical growth of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF) protein, which is usually decreased in patients suffering with Alzheimer's disease, reports medindia.net.
 
The researchers conducted a treatment on Alzheimer's mice and normal mice, which showed caffeinated coffee increased blood levels of GCSF.  Although the study was performed in Alzheimer's mice, the researchers gathered clinical evidence of caffeine/coffee's ability to protect humans against Alzheimer's, which they are planning to publish soon.
 
The study states that average American drinks 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day, considerably less than the amount the researchers believe required to protect against Alzheimer's disease. The researchers believe that moderate daily coffee intake starting at least by middle age (30s - 50s) is required for reducing the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease, while starting it even in older age appears protective from the disease.
 
University of South Florida neuroscientist and lead author of the study Chuanhai Cao said," Caffeinated coffee provides a natural increase in blood GCSF levels and the exact way that this occurs is not understood."
"There is a synergistic interaction between caffeine and some mystery component of coffee that provides this beneficial increase in blood GCSF levels," Cao added.
 
Reprint from DBR http://hotdrinks.drinks-business-review.com

Loyalty Not the Name of the Game Among Coffee Drinkers
Apr 15, 2011
- Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's can still count on a large percentage of loyal coffee drinkers, but recent research found that "roamers" still rule the roost. CustomerDNA, a marketing and research consulting firm, recently conducted a benchmark survey of the shopping habits of more than 15,000 quick serve restaurants. Its report, "QSRdna", found that 41 percent of Starbuck's customer visits are from customers who can be described as "loyals" who do not frequent any other coffee/breakfast chain during the average month. However, the report also found that 53 percent of customers can be described as "roamers" also visit either Dunkin' Donuts or McDonald's during the average month.
 
Similar patterns emerged at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's. Dunkin Donuts counts 42 percent loyals and 53 percent roamers; McDonald's had the most loyal customers with 62 percent visits by customers who do not visit either of the other two during the average month, according to the report.
 
"The significance of these patterns became clear when we found that the roamers purchased a hot beverage and/or breakfast nearly twice as often as loyals," said Dave Jenkins, CustomersDNA's co-founder. "During the average month, loyal customers of each of the three chains visited their favorite store 6.7 times, while the roamers averaged 13 visits per month. Capturing more of these sometime-customers to is key to winning the coffee/breakfast battle."

Reprint from Convenience Store News – Foodservice Retailing.

LEAK PROOF BY DIVINE INTERVENTION?
Mar 2011 - I wanted to share a story with you regarding my travel mug.  This morning, March 24, 2011, I was getting ready to leave my garage for work, with a stop at the dog groomers on the way.  One of my dogs decided not to get in the car so I placed my coffee mug on the roof of the car so that I could assist my stubborn dog into the car.  After doing so, I backed out of the garage and proceeded up the street in front of our house when I heard a bang, clunk, clunk sound coming from the car roof area.  I than remembered that was the location of my travel mug; no traffic was coming so I stopped the car and went to retrieve my mug.  To my surprise, not only was the travel mug intact after its summersault off the top of my car, the lid was still in place, and I had not lost one drop of my morning cup of coffee.  Great product!  Keep up the good work. - Respectfully, Pastor John S. Weyant

REPLACEMENT LIDS AVAILABLE ON EBAY.COM
Feb 2011 – Just sending this email to thank you for the great product you make.  The EasyGo 20 oz. Sabre Tumbler is one of the best mugs I have ever had, other than a few other EasyGo handled mugs I've used in recent years.  I really do like the 20 oz. Sabre Tumbler which I have had for about a year.  It works perfectly in my vehicle I drive to work (about 100 miles a day) and in the side pocket of my laptop backpack which I carry 1-2 miles per day.  Unfortunately, I recently broke the lid on my mug....no fault of your product but rather of me when putting backpack into car.  I knocked the lid off and didn't notice until I was backing up my car and ran over the lid.  Unbelievably from the top it looked OK but the bottom did not fair well with plastic crushed which the rubber gasket goes on and gasket tore making the mug unusable with the lid. I would like to see if I could get a replacement lid or check on cost of getting one.  I have not been able to find anyone locally that has this mug or even another brands that is this size which will work for me. If possible I would like some info on a replacement lid. Thanks, Jason - Jasper, IN

INTRODUCING OUR NEW ‘SIGNATURE COLLECTION’
Jan 2011 – Our Upscale Drinkware‘s high perceived value and quality make $3.99 / $4.99 and $5.99 retail price points a great deal for your customer. Add in a First Fill Free’ sticker option and POS ‘refill savings’ program – know your customer is doing the math and figuring out their new travel mug purchase will pay for itself within weeks. First Fill Free savings + Daily Refill savings = a free mug over time.  Along with advertising dollars well spent!  Who would of thought a travel mug has this much value – well our customers do so when that 10-15 second ‘Travel Mug Moment’ happens give us a call. Helping build a great coffee experience for your customer is what we’re all about.

NEW 2011 CATALOG
Nov 2010 – Our new EasyGo Drinkware ‘Travel Mug Moment’ catalog offers over 50 drinkware styles from 12oz to 24oz / desk top to car cup friendly / double wall insulated to single wall stainless water bottles. Along with our new edition ‘Gourmet Collection’ catalog that features specialty coffee retail designs and sizes. MME has been creating drinkware solutions for over 15 years - so call today for an updated catalog.

‘Takes a lickin and keeps on sipping’
Oct 2010 - I purchased a couple of your mugs locally about 5 -10 years ago and they have been the best coffee cups I have ever purchased. They have fallen off my truck going down the road, run through the dishwasher always, and beat up on jobsites and they will probably out last a Timex or a Bic Pen. Please let me know how or where I can purchase more.
Richard – Jacksonville, Florida

NACS Tradeshow ‘Travel Mug Moment’
Oct 2010 - The NACS Show (National Association of Convenience Stores) took place October 5 to 8 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. It is ranked as one of the 50 largest annual trade shows in the United States with nearly 22,000 representatives of the global convenience and petroleum retailing industry turning out, including 1,400 international attendees.  There are 144,541 convenience stores in the United States — one per every 2,100 people. Cumulatively, their $511 billion in sales are similar to competing channels that are often thought of to be much greater, including restaurants $580 billion and supermarkets at $556 billion in annual sales.
 
The success of this year’s NACS Show goes beyond the numbers as the popularity of upscaling the convenience store ‘coffee bar’ surges.  Mugs Made Easy and our ‘Travel Mug Moment’ emphasizes the importance of capturing the consumer’s attention with a well designed, great looking upscale travel mug.
 
Introducing 8 new 16oz travel mug designs, a new double-walled porcelain tumbler with silicone lid and sure-grip sleeve and a diamond plated stainless steel water bottle – MME remains the industry leader.  So when that 10-15 second ‘Travel Mug Moment’ happens give us a call. Helping build a great coffee experience for your customer is what we’re all about.


Coffee’s Popularity Surges
Sept 2010 - Despite the country’s economic woes, hot beverage sales at convenience stores are increasing with more customers than ever reportedly trading up for high-end brews.
You wouldn’t think something as simple as coffee could prove to be so complex a phenomenon—or one so indispensable to Americans.

Turns out America can see its reflection in a cup of coffee—its economic worries, its desires for variety and small-scale luxury, and even its hopes for a brighter future. All of that swirls together inside a disposable cup they pick up at their local convenience store.

The news out of New York and London in August, however, was less inspiring. JM Smucker announced it had raised its retail prices of coffee by 9%, even as wholesale costs had just reached a 12-year high, according to the Financial Times. “With unemployment still above 9%,” the Financial Times wrote, “it is uncertain whether retailers will pass along those increases to consumers, or whether an emphasis on private label brands will increase.”

Since early June, wholesale prices of Arabica coffee have risen more than 30%, a leap that analysts and category observers believe will continue.

Still, it’s a staple. National Coffee Association (NCA) figures released earlier this year showed that more than three out of four adult Americans drink coffee daily or regularly with convenience stores a preferred destination. So while the likes of Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s are focusing a lot of their marketing dollars on coffee programs, convenience store are holding their own in this important category.

“Consumers stop to buy coffee more than they fill up their cars, providing convenience stores with a great opportunity to build loyalty and repeat sales,” NCA noted in its coffee report. The association, in conjunction with the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), found that more than 150 million Americans aged 18 and older drink coffee on a daily basis, with 65% of coffee drinkers consuming their hot beverage in the morning.

“Considering these stats, it’s no wonder that coffee is the No. 1 hot beverage of choice among convenience store customers, generating about 78% of sales within the hot dispensed beverages category,” said Don Montuori, publisher for Packaged Facts, a marketing research firm.

Packaged Facts found in 2010 that upscale coffee sales continued to be strong because consumers consider them a relatively inexpensive luxury.

“With the advent of the so-called ‘Great Recession’ in 2008, the central question facing the coffee market was whether a product that saw sales growth through upscaling could continue to progress in the face of a severe economic downturn,” Montuori added. “By and large, the answer is yes. Even if marketers must now scuffle for every percentage point of sales growth they get.” While the shift to upscale and specialty coffees diverges from overall trends of the economic downturn, “they interact with each other as customers circumvent cheap ground coffee, and instead make tradeoffs to stay within budget while indulging in premium beverages.”


Presentation and Offering
Given that coffee is such a high-growth category that represents strong profit potential, it should be no surprise that the industry’s leading retailers are focusing a lot of effort to solidify their offerings. More often than not the program begins with studying what customers want.

“To me, coffee is about presentation and offering,” said Jerry Weiner, vice president of foodservice for Rutter’s Farm Stores in York, Pa. “That’s what it is. You create price/value, and you don’t have to get into these hot price battles with McDonald’s. In this market, over the past year they were promoting all cup sizes for just 69 cents— and then they went to $1 for any cup for the balance of the colder months. A lot of the competitors here went down into that valley to try to compete with them, and I just was not going to go there.”

Instead, the 55-store chain took a different approach, finding ways to add value proposition. “We wanted to get the price/value in the consumers’ minds, and that’s where the triple rewards came about,” Weiner said. “That proved to do the job, and of course now we’ve expanded that.”

Selling coffee effectively, Weiner insisted, is about visual presentation. “I’m constantly looking at ways to enhance the visual and make sure that we have a rather extensive offering, which I’m a big believer in.”

Both product and condiment offerings must be sizeable. “I think we’ve reached an era of customization in which people really want to have it the way they want to have it. It’s not just light and sweet anymore,” Weiner said. “They want to really add a lot of things to their coffee, and it isn’t just about having sugar and Sweet n’ Low. It’s long past those days.”

In order to differentiate your coffee program from your competitors’ and enhance your overall brand image, you need to be aware of and capture the emerging trends, said veteran foodservice operator and consultant Arlene Spiegel, president of Arlene Spiegel & Associates in New York City. Guests value, and will pay more for, products that clearly showcase these attributes:

• Quality, as evidenced by its single origin.
• Mindfulness, such as fair trade considerations.
• Occasions, which can be anytime during the work day—the key reason why the brew program must always be served fresh.
• Community. Some companies have found strong sales spikes when they tie in community programs, such as donating a quarter to a local food bank for
   every cup of coffee sold.
• Health. Chains like Quick Chek and Rutter’s regularly advertise they use only fresh, filtered water in their coffee programs.

Furthermore, bundling coffee is a proven motivator for consumers. “Coffee needs to be positioned as a reward and piggy-backed with a great baked goods offering,” Spiegel said.

Community, as Spiegel defined it, can prove a major part of the blend. Throughout 2010, 7-Eleven has been collecting what will end up being more than $2 million to charities via its Coffee Cup with a Cause campaign. The charity-focused coffee campaign includes limited-edition 20-ounce coffee cups designed by entertainment and sports celebrities nationwide.

Customers are encouraged to fill those cups with any 7-Eleven hot beverage with the knowledge that proceeds will benefit the charity of the featured celebrity’s choice. According to Rita Bargerhuff, the chain’s chief marketing officer, the program “allows customers to directly support charities and causes that make dramatic changes to so many people’s lives.”

7-Eleven is providing a guaranteed $250,000 minimum donation to each charity.

Promoting Coffee

Earlier this year, Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Travel Centers kicked off a “best on the interstate” coffee promotion that integrated social media messaging. The company placed messages on its fleet of tankers heralding its first Facebook fan page and a new Twitter account, both aimed at promoting the company’s 2010 coffees.

“We are trying to tell the world about our great coffee program,” said Tim Purcell, Pilot’s director of merchandising. “Social networks are just another new method we are using to deliver our message.”

For a limited time, visitors to Pilot’s Facebook page could download a coupon for a free hot beverage and vote for their favorite Pilot coffee blend. Pilot had concomitantly introduced an in-store sweepstakes to further promote its coffee, with winners receiving free coffee for a year.

“I’ll tell you the truth,” said Weiner, “our biggest effort was when we did a triple rewards promotion and tied it into our rewards program, which is really about cents off a gallon of gas.”

Rutter’s customers always received a penny off gasoline when they bought the coffee, but when they went to a triple points reward aimed at increasing fuel gallons sold, it had a dramatic impact on coffee sales.

“Coffee sales based on cups sold per day spiked by more than 20%,” Weiner said. “We did that in January and February, but the important note was that we’ve had a residual impact of about 7% so far, and that’s been holding relatively true.”

Rutter’s first triple-reward program was so well received by customers that the results helped established a new strategy for the company.

By Howard Bell - Reprint from Convenience Store Decisions http://www.csdecisions.com/article/10655/coffees-popularity-surges.html

THE Betacup ‘Drink Sustainably’ Challenge
June 2010 – Starbucks and social media partners were able to bring together creative minds from around the world to tackle a complex and important challenge. “Our paper cups really represent our icon and unfortunately they also represent one of our greatest environmental liabilities in our customers’ eyes,” Jim Hanna, Starbucks’s director of environmental impact, said at the announcement. “By 2015, we want all cups to recyclable, be compostable, or reusable.” Every year, 58 billion paper cups are thrown away, 20 million trees are cut down to manufacture these cups and 12 billion gallons of water are used in the manufacturing process. We could also power 53,000 homes with the energy we consume with paper cups..

There were 430 submissions and these were updated on average of at least 3 times in response to more than 5,000 ratings and 13,000 comments. We believed that good ideas might come from anywhere, but now we also believe the same is true of great feedback that helps make ideas better. Visit http://www.thebetacup.com/2010/06/17/the-finale/ to view the winning ideas
.

MME’s E.C.O. CELEBRATES EARTH DAY AT GRAND RIVER COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE ENVIRONMENTAL FAIR
Apr 22, 2010 – Tim Balazs – Environmental Communication Officer, joined hundreds of students on campus celebrating Earth Day - April 22nd. Earth Day 2010 was a great success and enjoyed a record number of attendees! “It was really inspiring and hopeful to see so many of today’s youth take an interested, active role in exploring what choices an individual can make daily to begin to repair a planet in peril” said Tim. “The most refreshing aspect was the attitudes of the students – it has become ‘cool’ to care for the environment! Witnessing first hand the universal interest of students and faculty to our simple message - ‘Saving the planet one mug/bottle at a time’, illustrated that we were on the right track” he adds. Mugs Made Easy will continue to work with and support schools and organizations in a continuing effort to educate people regarding ‘greener’ choices. For more information on our EasyGo H2O Water Bottle Project and EasyGo Green ‘Reduce•Reuse•Refill’ Travel Mug initiatives please call Tim at 1.800.477.6667.
Click on a picture for larger image:

THE ‘RE-USABLE - RE-USABLE’ TRAVEL MUG – WOW!!!
Apr 2010 – Email from a very dedicated environmental advocate.- THE ULTIMATE RECYCLER. Hi there, I found one of your mugs at a park I go to every morning to walk my dog. It was in good shape and I LOVE my to go coffee mugs so I brought it home and cleaned it up and I absolutely love the mug. I dropped it and chipped the plastic but it still works fine. I was wondering if there is any place to buy your mugs. Mine has nothing on it and it is my fav color, blue, so it is perfect for me LOL. I would like to get a couple more because they are great mugs! Thanks for any info you can give me ... Jacki



‘CREATING A MAGIC PROFIT CARPET’ – COFFEE’S CONVERSION FACTOR

Apr 5, 2010 - NEW YORK -- Growing tired of watching a customer pull up to the pump, pay for their gas and drive away? The addition of credit card machines on gas pumps has created an additional obstacle for convenience stores when it comes to driving customers into the store to make additional purchases.
So let's talk about how to get them to step away from the pump and up to your cash register, with a coffee in hand for purchase. The latest research shows 79 percent of c-stores in the United States sell motor fuel. The customer is there to fill their tank, but how do you lure them into the store for other purchases? The key to driving profitability is to measure your conversion factor, or the percentage of customers who visit your location and make a purchase inside the store.

The conversion factor is more important than ever since traffic is flat or declining in most day parts. According to The NPD Group, breakfast visits declined two percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, and traffic did not grow in any foodservice day part last year. In today's environment, the growth plan likely to be most successful is the one that strives for more effective conversion. Let's take a look at how c-stores can achieve this through their beverage program, among other things.

Cast a Wide Net
The best way to drive sales is by focusing on products with the broadest consumer appeal. Coffee and carbonated sodas are two obvious choices. Consider coffee's appeal: NACS' annual report shows that monthly hot dispensed beverage sales average $6,908 per store. At an average transaction price of $1.15, that's 200 cups per day. Operators clearly agree with coffee's importance to the conversion factor since the 2009 NACS Consumer Fuels Report indicated that hot coffee programs are the leading product category to attract customers into the store.

Additionally, iced coffee has fast become a growing category with consumption increasing more than 20 percent in 2009 over the previous year, and it is now a part of nearly 9 percent of foodservice orders. Not to mention, more than 95 percent of those iced coffee drinks are purchased outside the home, providing a very compelling growth opportunity for c-stores.

With those numbers in mind, it is critical that convenience store operators stock quality products that will entice customers to purchase their daily iced coffee from them instead of pumping their gas and then heading to the nearest coffeehouse.

Remove Obvious Conversion Hurdles
One thing seems very clear -- women make up nearly half of all gas purchasers, yet they are a much smaller percentage of the in-store purchasers. Why is that? Look around for cues that are preventing gas customers -- women in particular -- from venturing in for a snack or beverage.

Promoting products, such as iced coffee or iced tea -- both big sellers among women -- at the pump is a great way to target females. You also must remove hurdles that will prevent shoppers from coming into the store. Women, in particular, are concerned about crossing and entering a dark or untidy store lot, so be sure to have a clean and well-lit parking lot.

Sell Them Some Time
The Achilles heel of c-stores' main competitor, coffee shops, is preparation time. Your coffee-shop competitor believes their customer is there for the "experience." However, the part of the experience they don't enjoy is standing in line for six minutes waiting for a skinny, two-pump mocha latte to be finished while they wait on a cup of black coffee.

Most of the time coffee shops 'latte-sippin' consumer is the same time-pressed customer you serve. They want their coffee right now -- and that's your sweet spot. A shopper's limited time also can prevent an iced coffee or tea purchase, or any additional conversion purchase for that matter. This is where marketing and product positioning come in to play. As mentioned above, advertising at the pump is very effective, as is signage within the store -- at the register and over the beverage area -- clearly communicating the coffee is fresh and ready now.

As you can see, products with broad reach, such as premium iced coffees and iced teas can absolutely be a leader in conversion sales. After all, there is no doubt the appeal of coffee is widespread, and with high-quality offerings, c-store operators will notice an increase in "product selection" customers, which according to The NPD Group make up more than 20 percent of the c-store buyer population.

When evaluating ways to increase your profitability, I encourage you to determine what your conversion rate is today and identify ways to drive that rate higher. Premium coffee and tea products can jump-start your conversion rate and store profitability in the right direction, although in the end it's about connecting with the customer inside your store.

By Gary Lillian, Javo Beverage Co. - Reprint from Convenience Store News http://www.csnews.com/csn/foodservice/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1004080688#

MME LAUNCHES NEW 2010 CATALOG
Mar 2010 – Our new EasyGo Drinkware catalog offers over 50 drinkware styles from 12oz to 24oz / desk top to car cup friendly / double wall insulated to single wall stainless water bottles. MME has been creating drinkware products for people just like you for over 15 years - creating unique beverage solutions that fit your lifestyle. Products that are sustainable, stylish and above all, functional. Call today for an updated catalog.

MME UPSCALE ICE COFFEE TUMBLERS

Feb 2010 - Mugs Made Easy is excited to announce our new 16 and 24 size Pacific Ice Coffee Tumblers. Iced coffee is quickly gaining popularity among the general consumer audience and MME has many options to create a cool looking ice coffee travel mug. Selection, quality and delivered on time - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!

MME INTRODUCES 14 NEW ALL STAINLESS MUGS TUMBLERS FOR 2010.

Jan 2010 - Mugs Made Easy ability to stand out against our competitors comes from our constant new product designs. We take on challenges as though there is no boundary in our imaginations, whether in product design or in manufacturing skills. As long as ideas are innovative and marketable, we are ready to put in every effort to turn the visions into reality. Here are the results in a 16oz size: Yukon Tumbler, Soltus Tumbler, Calibre Tumbler, Santa Cruz Tumbler, Redondo Tumbler, Monterey Tumbler, Expedition Mug, Sierra Tumbler, Tahoe Tumbler and Saturn Mug. Also 4 new 14oz specialty coffee sizes: Newport Tumbler, Aspen Tumbler, Acadia Tumbler and Accord Tumbler.

MME INTRODUCES 16 NEW UPSCALE SAN ACRYLIC ITEMS FOR THE 2010 FALL/HOLIDAY COFFEE SEASON.

Dec 2009 - Mugs Made Easy in keeping to meet the ever changing demands of today’s customers – introduces 16 new products for the fall/holiday coffee season. Kicking off our expanded 20oz size selections are the Hammer LowRider Mug, updated Hampton II Mug and the 24oz size Mountaineer Mug. In 16oz sizes we have our new Prelude Tumbler, Cobalt Tumbler & Mug, Orion Tumbler & Mug, Fresno Tumbler & Mug, Wavy TallBoy Tumbler, Ventura Tumbler, Metro Mug, Neo Mug, Redondo SAN Tumbler and Volt Tumbler.

MME Nacs 2009
Oct 2009
– MME would like to thank everyone for stopping by our booth – it was an extremely successful show! The overwhelmingly positive response at the NACS Show reflects the ever increasing interest and demand for our unique innovative stainless drinkware solutions. We continue to ‘think outside the mug’ – designing and producing - to bring our customers the best stainless drinkware in the industry.

We are proud to release MME’s Volume 8 catalog in early 2010, outlining our ever expanding product line and cause awareness programs.

Please stop by our website throughout the year as we continue to design and develop new products each quarter – staying ahead of the trends and starting a few!


MME Tracks Trends in Upscale Coffee
Oct 2009 - The continuing trend in ‘upscale’ coffee witnessed its largest growth in 2009 and 2010 promises to be no different! “We have seen phenomenal growth in the specialty coffee market over the last five to ten years, and with that the expansion of the ‘specialty/upscale’ product offering in the C-stores has significantly shifted with consumer demands. As a result; sales of ‘premium’ stainless mugs has spiked.” explained Steve Schlotzhauer, president of Mugs Made Easy. Today’s coffee drinker has become more discerning and knowledgeable. They are looking for higher quality coffee and as a result appreciate the higher quality mugs that go with it.

“ Increased consumer awareness regarding environmental concerns and economic difficulties, more and more consumers are looking for ways to save money and the environment, by taking advantage of discounted re-fill programs. Purchasing refillable mugs is a win/win for their morning cup of coffee.” Steve adds
.
Refillable mugs, or travel mugs, are nothing new, but the place they now hold in people’s lives is! “The seemingly ‘personal’ relationship people have with their mug has become the hallmark of the upscale coffee market” quips Steve. “Travel mugs have become more of an accessory with the wide variety of styles, colors and sizes now available to suit everyone tastes. It’s part of their morning routine; keys, purse/wallet, cell phone and travel mug before they leave the house in the morning” he adds. This aspect of increased popularity of a refillable mug bodes extremely well for C-stores as it reinforces customer loyalty and ensures daily visits to the convenience store coffee bar. Simply offering a ‘daily refill discount’, helps ensure that your store is a ‘destination’ stop as opposed to one of chance. “In the past year we have seen many c-stores offer significant daily refill discounts to help their customer’s combat difficult financial times, and as a result, discovered an extremely effective marketing tool” he adds
The particular appeal of an upscale stainless mug; is the feeling of real value. “When a customer picks up a stainless mug they get an immediate ‘feel’ for the quality and value of the upscale lines. MME continues to produce innovative product lines while addressing consumer trends – and try to ‘think outside the mug’.”
Mugs Made Easy is again proud to introduce a wide array of new product lines at this year’s NACS show aimed at heating up the coffee category!

Reprint from ‘Convenience Retailer Show Daily’ – Oct. 21, 2009

MME Announces The EasyGo H2O Project
Oct 2009 - Following in the footsteps of the wildly successful Breast Cancer Awareness program, Mugs Made Easy has just announced the ‘EasyGo H2O Project’. “MME feels a strong corporate and moral responsibility to reinvest in our communities and our world. Just as with our Breast Cancer program, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of stainless water bottles will be donated to support the digging of water wells in third world countries; providing much needed sources of clean drinking water. Domestically, stainless water bottles reduce the amount of plastic bottles going into landfills. Simple choices we make daily can collectively have a profound effect; choosing a Stainless water bottle helps reduce the billions of plastic bottles discarded in North America each year.” explains Tim Balazs, Environmental Communications Officer at Mugs Made Easy.

“2009 was a turbulent year for the bottled water industry. We have witnessed a growing number of cities and organizations banning the sale of bottled water due to the serious environmental impact on local landfill sites” Tim Balazs continues, “At 2008 NACS show we unveiled our first stainless water bottle in anticipation of this trend – a double walled, vacuum insulated stainless bottle. This year we have greatly expanded our line to include single walled stainless bottles in a wide range of styles and colors. The popularity of our single walled stainless bottles has been very well received and rapidly increasing in a variety of markets” explains Tim. “Ideal for work, school or outdoor activities these bottles are functional. The ‘wide mouth’ opening addresses a number of issues; large enough to accommodate ice cubes and most importantly - the ability to clean it properly”.

As refillable water bottles become more and more popular, attention has focused on the materials and their possible health implications. Many plastic bottles, as a result of BPA content, have been pulled from store shelves in the last couple of years and the public is becoming aware of the possible dangers of aluminum as well. “Our quality, 18/8 stainless, line of water bottles is the ideal choice for our consumer’s health; as well as the longevity of the product.” states Tim.

The MME EasyGo H2O Project will benefit those that do not have access to clean drinking water and ensuring access to a basic human right. “If we can raise money to install water wells in isolated communities in Africa, saving the lives of those struggling and at the same time save our landfills from receiving billions of disposable bottles – I see that as a win/win for everyone” adds Tim.

Reprint from ‘Convenience Retailer Show Daily’ – Oct. 22, 2009

MME is Proud to Continue Our Breast Cancer Awareness Program
Oct 2009 - “Our ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Program’, has been extremely successful thanks to the collaboration and support of our customers in the convenience store industry. ” explained Steve Schlotzhauer, President of Mugs Made Easy (MME). “Thanks to the continued commitment of our C-store customers and their consumers; we have raised over $171,670 for breast cancer research in less than
3 years! Momentum has been building and we look forward to increasing our donations every year”, he continued.

“ It is fascinating to realize that with a little initiative, and doing what we do every day, sell travel mugs, we could have such a profound effect and raise so much money for an extremely worthwhile cause – it is incredibly rewarding”.
Mugs Made Easy began offering Breast Cancer ‘pink ribbon’ mugs in 2006 and participation has been growing every year. A portion of the proceeds go to various national and local Breast Cancer Foundations, including ‘Susan G. Komen for the Cure’ headquartered in Dallas and ‘The Breast Cancer Research Foundation’ based in New York City.

“Our Breast Cancer Awareness program gives convenience stores the opportunity to give back to the communities that support them day to day.” said Steve. “MME’s goal is to offer the convenience store industry meaningful programs and superior products that reflect changes and requirements in the market as a whole. We are very proud to offer cause awareness programs like this for the C-store industry and we will continue developing innovative ‘turn-key’ programs with new and exciting, quality products. Breast cancer is something that touches many of our lives and continued support for research is essential.

“ Looking ahead, 2010 will be our fourth year for the breast cancer awareness campaign and we look forward to another successful year. Mugs Made Easy is constantly working to develop new products that will be attractive to the consumer while increasing traffic, sales and profits for the coffee category” concludes Steve.

Reprint from ‘Convenience Retailer Show Daily’ – Oct. 22, 2009


MME MAKES IT EASY TO ‘GO GREEN’ AND MAKE SOME GREEN
Oct 2009 - Mugs Made Easy continues to be the industry leader in ‘upscale coffee mugs’, providing creative solutions, design and service that are unparalleled in the coffee category.

“ Convenience stores set the bar in the market place for offering environmental choices and trends to reduce needless waste, having been among the first to offer refillable, reusable mugs. Bring your own mug and save the landfill one more disposable cup – it’s really just that easy for any individual to change a simple habit that impacts the environment instantly” explained Tim Balazs –ECO (Environmental Communication Officer).

MME’s ‘EasyGo Green - Reduce, Reuse, Refill’ campaign is intended to provide C-stores with a ‘value added social program’ that addresses current economic constraints and reflects evolving consumer attitudes and concerns for the environment. Promoting the environmental benefits of bringing your own mug to work, school, shopping – reduces solid waste from disposable cups. Mug sales provide retailers with a ‘value added’ proposition at POS in a two part effect; a ‘greener’ choice as environmental concerns affect purchasing habits more and more, and the brand recognition of the logoed refillable mug. “Refillable travel mugs are advertising dollars well spent and the message adds another valuable component to a corporate environmental ‘green’ stewardship program” added Tim.

Along with their very successful ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ program and the new ‘EasyGo H2O Project’ initiative, cause awareness programs reflect the C-store’s commitment to give back to their local community. MME would like to thank all their C Store customers who supported Breast Cancer Awareness over the past 3 years by offering a ‘Pink Ribbon’ refillable travel mug for sale in their stores. Working together we’ve raised over $160,000 for Breast Cancer Research!
Convenience stores have been the pioneers in the area of refill discounts, and know that an advertised ‘daily refill discount’ can result in their C-store being a ‘destination stop’ as opposed to the usual stop of ‘chance’. By creating a daily ritual with coffee drinkers, with refill discounts, ‘Save 25 or 45 cents with every refill’, will bring loyal customers back every day. The MME team is available to help with a variety of POS materials to support your programs from labels or coupons to shipper display trays with header cards.

“ Value added savings - the combination of the ‘First Fill Free’ discount in addition to the daily refill discount; the savings to the consumer are apparent when merchandised properly with MME. 2009’s economic struggle certainly brought this discount strategy to the attention of C store consumers. The combination of the habitual nature of coffee drinkers and the continuing economic recovery offers the best reason to stop in each day and save! Whether it’s satisfying the consumers daily coffee fix or the continued savings offered to customers – it’s about connecting the essence of the brand and offering real value” stated Steve Schlotzhauer - President of MME.

MME continues to be a leader in the industry; with new products and innovative solutions for C stores. For 2009/2010 MME is introducing EasyGo H2O line – a complete line of Stainless Water Bottles – in a wide variety of designs and sizes - an alternative to one time use plastic water bottles. Charting these trends and reacting quickly with innovative convenience store operators, separates MME from their competitors.

MME’s upscale coffee mug line focuses on quality, variety and innovation; all to enhance the success and profit of the hottest category in the convenience store channel. “Helping to build a great coffee experience for your customer; is what we’re all about” states Steve.

Reprint from ‘Convenience Retailer Show Daily’ – Oct. 23, 2009

PASTOR SAMME LOVES OUR MUGS!!!
May 2009 – We gets calls all the time from c-store customers looking to replace a particular mug they had fallen in love with over the years, as it was either lost, ran over or just plain worn out . Here is one of the best emails from Pastor Samme Palmero who after getting off the phone with one of our customer service representatives sent his tale of travel mug woe. And yes, Samme did receive many 20oz size blessings from us.

Pastor Samme Email

DEAR MUGS!

Allow me to tell a tale of woe ...

It all began when I fell in love ... yes ... head over heels in love with a 20 ounce Stainless Tumbler Coffee mug that I purchased from a local Sunoco Gas Station. It was SILVER ... my first love! The advertising affixed to its side was for Gulliver's Coffee Company ... but it didn't matter to me! I loved SILVER!

In a weak moment ... I had a fling with a BURGUNDY Tumbler and then a GREEN Tumbler as well. AND THEN ... MY NEW LOVE took over my heart ... a 20 ounce CHARCOAL MUG with a HANDLE. I could hold her and take her anywhere! It was a java love affair made in Heaven!

GREEN was given a new home with an owner that cherished him. SILVER & BURGUNDY were retired ... then sat patiently in an upper cupboard ... waiting for another Java dance with me. That dance came when the lid to CHARCOAL broke ...

I went to the SUNOCO station ... but alas ... there were no more mugs ... no extra lids. So ... CHARCOAL was set aside without a lid ... and SILVER & BURGUNDY were once again called into service! They have faithfully served me despite being repeatedly dropped and generally mishandled. They both have suffered cracks to their plastic shells ... and dents in the stainless steel ... and as sad as it is ... they must soon retire for good.

I have been on a quest to find suitable replacements. That quest has been fruitless! Oh sure ... there are 16 ounces tumblers ... even an occasional 18 ounce mug ... but I have not been able to find a 20 ounce Stainless Travel Mug that has the quality of the GCDC EasyGo Mugs! A Bubba Keg simply WILL NOT DO!

I would rather go WITHOUT COFFEE than drink from a substandard travel mug! When I came upon your website and saw the 20oz Lincoln Mug ... the 20oz Navigator Mug ... the NEO ... SOLO ... SEDONA & REVOLUTION MUGS ... my heart leapt for joy!

So ... can you tell me WHO may be using your mugs and where I might be able to purchase one ... or two or twelve? I have tried Craig's List ... EBAY ... no avail. I NEED YOUR HELP! Just give me the name of whatever convenience store or coffee shop is using one of these MUGS ... and I will do the rest!

PLEASE ... only you can bring about a HAPPY ENDING to this tale of heartbreak!

God Bless you ... and ... THANKS A LATTE for any consideration you can give my request!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
pastor samme palermo
Senior Pastor, Oasis Christian Fellowship


PROMOTE REFILL DISCOUNTS
Apr 22, 2009 - Earth Day Celebrations this month educate and promote an environmentally friendly way of living. Conservation, Reducing Waste and Using Refillable Containers remains at the forefront of everyone’s daily activities. While the environmental surge to reduce waste continues to grow; daily news reports tell us consumers are looking to save money in every facet of their lives. Taking advantage of ‘Coffee Refill Discounts’ is both an environmental & economic sound decision! Promote and drive home the message to today’s cost conscience consumers - discounts on coffee refills can more than cover the cost of a stainless steel travel mug in as little as 10 uses! Not to mention 10 less disposable coffee cups & lids in your local landfill site - small steps with a huge impact on cleaning up the environment! So, enhance your ‘Green Message’ today and see the impact MME drinkware will have on your bottom line and the environment - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!

NEW UPSCALE COFFEE MUGS FOR THE 2009 COFFEE SEASON.
Apr 2009 - Mugs Made Easy understands product and process technology is rapidly evolving. Customers are placing an increasing emphasis on quality and reliability, but at the same time looking for good value. Speed to market is becoming a paradigm of world class manufacturing. To respond to this increasingly dynamic and challenging environment, MME has implemented an integrated product development team to reduce design cycle time and improve product value. These new designs embrace those competitive factors starting with the re-designed 20oz Saturn Tumbler, new 16oz Laredo Tumbler, 20oz Solerus Tumbler and 16oz Circle Tumbler. Enhance your coffee bar area today and see the impact MME drinkware will have on your bottom line - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!

MME KICKS OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH 2 NEW
‘ BUILT HAMMER TOUGH’ DESIGNS.
Jan 2009 – We just keep rolling out new ‘Built Hammer Tough’ designs with the 20oz Hammer V2 ToGo Mug and 32oz Hammer V2 ToGo Mug. Everyday guys like Drew only roll with the best and his 64oz Hammer Mug has seen him through some tough days on the jobsite – not to mention the beating they both take in the hot Arizona sun! So, be sure to ask our experienced sales team - What’s ‘Built Hammer Tough’ new for 2009? Selection, quality and delivered on time - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!


MME INTRODUCES EASYGO H2O WATER BOTTLES AT NACS SHOW - CHICAGO

Oct 2008 - MME is continually introducing new products and offering new solutions for C stores, and for 2009 they are proud to offer EasyGo H2O – an all stainless, double walled, vacuum insulated, refillable water bottle in various sizes - an alternative to one time use plastic water bottles. Maybe a little ahead of it’s time for the convenience store market - offering free water refills or a nominal $0.50 refill price with a purchase of a proprietary environmentally friendly water bottle – but the first movers MME believes would have a wildly successful customer loyalty program in their hands. Charting these upcoming trends and reacting quickly with innovative convenience store operators separates MME from our competitors. For more information on our EasyGo H2O Water Bottle please call 1.800.477.6667. Click here to view water bottles.

MME MAKES IT EASY TO ‘GO GREEN’ AND MAKE SOME GREEN
Oct 2008 – Mugs Made Easy continues to be the industry leader in ‘upscale coffee’, providing creative solutions, design and service that are unparalleled in the coffee category. “Convenience stores set the bar in the market place for offering environmental choices and trends to reduce needless waste, having been among the first to offer refillable, reusable mugs. Bring your own mug and save the landfill one more disposable cup – it’s really just that easy for any individual to change a simple habit that impacts the environment instantly” explained Tim Balazs –ECO (Environmental Communication Officer).

MME’s ‘EasyGo Green - Reduce, Reuse, Refill’ campaign is intended to provide C-stores with a ‘value added social program’ that addresses current economic constraints and reflects evolving consumer attitudes and concerns for the environment. Promoting the environmental benefits of bringing your own mug to work, school, shopping – reduces solid waste from disposable cups. It gives retailers a ‘value added’ proposition at POS – a ‘greener’ choice as environmental concerns affect purchasing habits more and more, and of course, the brand recognition of the logoed refillable mug. “Refillable travel mugs are advertising dollars well spent when the message supports and adds another valuable component to a corporate environmental ‘green’ stewardship program” added Tim.

Along with their very successful ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ program and the new ‘Patriot Fund Mug’ initiative, social cause awareness programs reflects the C-store’s commitment to give back to their local community. MME would like to thank all their customers who supported Breast Cancer Awareness by offering a ‘Buy Pink’ refillable travel mug. Everyone provided a small portion of each sale and to date has raised an impressive $100,000 - working together as an industry.

Convenience stores have been the pioneers in the area of refill discounts, and know that an advertised ‘daily refill discount’ can result in their C-store being a ‘destination stop’ as opposed to the usual stop of ‘chance’. Creating a daily ritual with coffee drinkers, i.e. POS refill discount – “Save 25 cents with every refill” brings customers back every day.

“ Value added’ savings - the combination of the ‘First Fill Free’ discount and the daily refill discount, savings are apparent when merchandised properly with MME. The combination of the habitual nature of coffee drinkers and the continuing economic down-turn, offers the best reason to stop in each day and save! Whether it’s the environmental benefits or sustained daily savings offered to customers – it’s about connecting the essence of the brand and offering real value” stated Steve Schlotzhauer - President of MME.

MME is continually introducing new products and offering new solutions for C stores, and for 2009 they are proud to offer EasyGo H2O – an all stainless, double walled, vacuum insulated, refillable water bottle in various sizes - an alternative to one time use plastic water bottles. Maybe a little ahead of it’s time for the convenience store market - offering free water refills with a purchase of a proprietary environmentally friendly water bottle – but the first movers MME believes would have a wildly successful customer loyalty program in their hands. Charting these trends and reacting quickly with innovative convenience store operators separates MME from their competitors.

MME’s upscale coffee line focuses on quality and variety, expanding the success and profit of the hottest category in the convenience store channel. “Helping build a great coffee experience for your customer is what we’re all about” concludes Schlotzhauer.

Reprint from ‘Convenience Store Retailer’ Magazine – Oct. 6, 2008

For more information on our EasyGo Green initiatives please call 1.800.477.6667.

Tim Balazs (left), Environmental Communication Officer of Mugs Made Easy, and event organizers Nicko Fusso and Corrine Oberg of Sustainability is Sexy, an organization that seeks to reduce waste by promoting reusable coffee containers. ‘The Daily’ of the University of Washington, April 23, 2008. Photo by John McLellan.
<CLick Image for larger view.

MME’s E.C.O. CELEBRATES EARTH DAY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON - SEATTLE.
May 2008 – Tim Balazs – Environment Communication Officer, joined thousands of students on campus celebrating Earth Day - April 22nd. Earth Day 2008 was a great success and enjoyed a record number of attendees! It was a vast and integrated group of presenters for the environmental summit at UW, from the Experimental College to the Sierra Club. “It was really inspiring and hopeful to see so many of today’s youth take an interested, active role in exploring what choices an individual can make daily to begin to repair a planet in peril” said Tim. “Helping support and sponsor such an infectious movement like ‘Sustainability is Sexy’ was personally rewarding for us. Witnessing first hand the universal interest of students, faculty, the media and the general public to our simple message - ‘Saving the planet one mug at a time’, illustrated that we were on the right track” he adds. Mugs Made Easy will continue to work with and support organizations like ‘Sustainability is Sexy’ in a continuing effort to educate people regarding ‘greener’ choices. For more information on our EasyGo Green initiatives please call 1.800.477.6667

MME INTRODUCES EASYGO CAMOUFLAGE LINE.
Apr 2008 - Mugs Made Easy is excited to announce our new camouflage product line for this fall. 12oz, 16oz and 20oz size tumblers are available with our exclusive leatherette sleeves in winter, spring and fall camo patterns. The other option is our high definition camouflage wrap that ensures a distinctive camo pattern on any of our upscale EasyGo Drinkware product line. The combination of Mugs Made Easy quality and innovation with the appeal of camouflage is sure to make this line a hit with outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to being practical for the outdoor sportsman, camouflage pattern items are truly a reflection of an outdoor lifestyle that many of your customers identify with. EasyGo Camo drinkware goes easily from the worksite to the campsite!

MME hires Tim Balazs - ECO (Environmental Communication Officer) to help drive EasyGo Drinkware’s “Reduce • Reuse • Refill” Environmental Education Program.
Mar 2008 – Disposable paper cups affect the environment negatively. Besides creating a steady supply of waste, disposable cups also demand a large consumption of natural resources and emit high levels of climate-changing green house gases. Because so many disposable paper cups are used throughout the world, the actual environmental affect can be staggering. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Reusable coffee cups reduce the impact disposable cups have on our environment. Waste, natural resources, and damage done by green house gases are all decreased by reusable cups after only 24 uses. Please contact Tim at 1-800-477-6667 for more information or visit www.sustainabilityissexy.com/facts.html.

MME 8 NEW UPSCALE REFILL MUGS FOR FALL/HOLIDAY SEASON.
Feb 2008 – Let Mugs Made Easy upscale designs heat up your coffee sales this fall. Ask for samples of our new 20oz stainless steel lined Wavy Tumbler, 16oz Sabre Tumbler with choice of SAN plastic or stainless steel liners, and the updated 16oz Escalade II Tumbler & Carrera II Tumbler both featuring Fusion outer construction with stainless liners. Also, tea sales are growing so hop onboard and try our new 12oz / 16oz & 20oz all stainless steel tea flasks. Selection, quality and delivered on time - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!

MME KICKS OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH 4 UPSCALE COFFEE CLASSICS.
Jan 2008 – We just keep on adding to our extensive upscale coffee mug line by bringing in the New Year with an elegant all stainless, 20oz Silverado Tumbler and 20oz Silverado Mug, showcasing a little “bling” with high polished outer ribs that blend nicely with a brushed stainless outer.  These larger sizes compliment the hot selling 16oz sizes introduced last year. Also, added to our wide bottom desktop selection is the all new 20oz Hampton Mug that is sure to take over our #1 selling Mercury Desktop Mug. But we are most excited about the new construction and curvaceous styling of the brand new 20oz Solerus Tumbler coming soon.  Be sure to ask our experienced sales team - What’s new for ’08?  Selection, quality and delivered on time - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!

MME iPodtouch WINNER.
Dec 2007 - Mugs Made Easy would like to thank everyone who entered our iPodtouch draw and congratulations to Steve Malizio from Circle K – AZ.

IT WAS HAMMER TIME IN ATLANTA.

NOV 2007 – The annual National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) tradeshow showcased our expanded flaming hot Hammer line. Coffee buyers have known for some time Mugs Made Easy is their only choice for quality upscale travel mugs, now fountain buyers can offer Bubba new and innovative designs and man are they excited!  It’s Hammer Time fun for summer ’08.
Click here to view NACS booth.


MME HOT HAMMER TUMBLERS.
OCT 2007 – It’s Hammer Time again with the addition of 2 great hot coffee sizes; a 16oz stainless lined Hammer Tumbler and a
value priced 20oz plastic lined Hammer Tumbler.  Rugged and tough styling Bubba will appreciate. Selection, quality and delivered on time - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!


IT’S OFFICIAL – COLD HAMMER COLLECTION IS SUMMERTIME HOT

SEPT 2007 – With the first wave of Cold Hammer’s hitting the c-store market this summer, we had big expectations on their impact against the old school mugs with the same old shapes and different graphics year after year…. yawn) Wow, our first to the market customers were blown away by how fast they flew off the shelves, so watch out Bubba - It’s Hammer Time gone wild for the summer of 2008.

MME KEEPS THE NEW DESIGNS COMING FOR 2007 WITH 4 MORE HIGH END CLASSICS.
Apr 2007 – Adding already to our extensive drinkware line are the all stainless, 16oz Silverado Tumbler with high polish ribs (plastic liner also available) and the 16oz Gripper Leatherette Tumbler featuring our handcrafted leatherette sleeves.  Also, added to our Café Sleeve Collection is the new 20oz Avanti SAN Tumbler that is dressed to impress!  Selection, quality and delivered on time - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!

MME INTRODUCES 13 NEW ITEMS FOR THE FALL/HOLIDAY COFFEE SEASON.
Feb 2007 - Mugs Made Easy in keeping our line fresh and new is excited to announce 13 new products for the fall/holiday coffee season. Kicking off our expanded 20oz size selections are the Solerus Tumbler, Laredo Tumbler, Saturn Tumbler, Lincoln Mug or Tumbler, Navigator Mug or Tumbler.  16oz sizes include the Sabre Tumbler, Elite Swirl Tumbler, Alero Mug, Terano Tumbler, Avalon Tumbler and an updated 24oz Sedona Mug.  Selection, quality and delivered on time - that’s the EasyGo Drinkware difference!

IT’S HAMMER TIME x3!
Jan 07 - Mugs Made Easy is excited to announce 3 new products for the spring/summer fountain programs. Starting with last year’s introduction of the successful 44oz Black Hammer Mug comes our new 20oz and 32oz Hammer ToGo mug styles and “What’s everyone been asking for” a cool looking 64oz size to replace the mundane 64’s of the past. All products feature the innovative design and quality that is characteristic of our EasyGo Drinkware lifestyle.

MME iPod VIDEO WINNER.
Dec 2006 - Mugs Made Easy would like to thank everyone who entered our iPod Video draw and congratulations to Fred Faulkner from Jaco Oil Company – Fastrip Food Stores.

MME WOWS NACS ATTENDEES IN LAS VEGAS WITH DEPTH AND INNOVATION OF EASYGO
DRINKWARE LINE.

Oct 2006 - The annual National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) tradeshow showcased why Mugs Made Easy is the only choice for quality, upscale SAN acrylic and stainless steel travel mugs. For over 15 years, our EasyGo lifestyle product line has been adding innovation and value to customer coffee programs by offering the largest selection in the industry and delivering on time.

MME INTRODUCES 10 NEW LEATHERETTE CAFÉ S LEEVES AT SPECIALTY COFFEE SHOW IN CHARLOTTE, NC.
Apr 2006 - The 18th annual Specialty Coffee Association of America opened with the introduction of 10 new upscale leatherette sleeved tumblers from Mugs Made Easy. 16oz or 20oz tumbler sizes are available in handcrafted velvet touch (green gator, brown gator, snake, cobra, desert and leopard finishes) or smooth leatherette sleeves in tan, black, medium and dark brown. These are well dressed mugs and feature the innovative design and quality that is characteristic of our EasyGo Drinkware lifestyle.

MME KICKS OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH 4 NEW TRAVEL MUG DESIGNS.
Jan 2006 - Mugs Made Easy means choice, by kicking off the New Year with 4 new upscale travel mug designs. These include the 20oz Navigator Mug, 20oz Saber Mug, 16oz Odyssey Mug and 16oz SAN Retro Stripe Tumbler. All our new products feature the innovative design and quality that is characteristic of our EasyGo lifestyle line.

MME iPod nano WINNER.
Dec 2005 - Mugs Made Easy would like to thank everyone who entered our iPod nano draw and congratulations to Greg Bognar from TravelCenters of America

MME WOWS NACS ATTENDEES IN LAS VEGAS WITH DEPTH AND INNOVATION OF EASYGO PRODUCT LINE.

Nov 16, 2005 - The annual National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) tradeshow showcased why Mugs Made Easy is the only choice for quality, upscale SAN acrylic and stainless steel travel mugs. For over 10 years, our EasyGo lifestyle product line has been adding innovation and value to customer coffee programs by offering the largest selection in the industry.

MME INTRODUCES NEW "BLING" FINISH.

Oct 2005 - In keeping with our business philosophy of giving our customers what they want, not necessarily what we have, by offering a wide variety of custom choices. The new "Bling" finish adds another option for creating a travel mug that visually pops off the retail shelves along with our stock color palette of 15 designer colors and standard 4 assorted colors per case. Custom choices separates us and our EasyGo lifestyle line from everyone us.

MME CONTINUES THE REVOLUTION WITH THE ADDITION OF A NEW 24OZ SIZE.
Aug 2005 - Mugs Made Easy continues to innovate with a 24oz size Revolution Mug with stainless steel liner. This family of upscale travel mugs offers a 24oz coffee mug and 32/44oz all acrylic fountain mugs with our EasyGo comfort grip rubberized handle and choice of 15 designer colors. EasyGo solutions, keeping the revolution alive!

MME INTRODUCES ADDITIONAL 6 NEW ITEMS FOR THE FALL/HOLIDAY COFFEE SEASON.
May 2005 - Mugs Made Easy in keeping our line fresh and new is excited to announce 6 new products for the fall/holiday coffee season. Included are the 20oz Flame Tumbler, 20oz Diamond Plate Mug & Tumbler, 16oz all acrylic Retro Stripe Tumbler & Wavy Tumbler and 20oz Solo Vacuum Insulated Bottle. All products feature the innovative design and quality that is characteristic of our EasyGo Solutions lifestyle line.

MME INTRODUCES 5 NEW TRAVEL MUGS AT SPECIALTY COFFEE SHOW IN SEATTLE.
Apr 16, 2005 - The 17th annual Specialty Coffee Association of America opened with record attendance and the introduction of 5 new upscale travel mugs from Mugs Made Easy. Included are the 20oz Triangle Tumbler, 20oz all acrylic Wavy and Avanti Tumbler, 20oz Apollo Mug and a new acrylic dome lid and straw that fits a wide variety of our 12/16 and 20oz mug sizes. All products feature the innovative design and quality that is characteristic of our EasyGo lifestyle line.

MME INTRODUCES THE FUSION COLLECTION - 4 NEW TRAVEL MUGS.
Mar 2005 - For consumers on the go the elegant design and clean functionality of the new Fusion Collection is the next step in upscale stainless steel drinkware. The innovative combination of high quality stainless steel and SAN acrylic creates a dynamic new look. The 16oz Legacy, Carrera, Escalade tumblers and Carrera Mug all feature the innovative design that is characteristic of our EasyGo lifestyle product line.

MME AWARDED ampm FOUNTIAN MUG BUSINESS ON DESIGN INNOVATION.
Feb 2005 - Mugs Made Easy is proud to have been selected winner of ampm's west coast industry wide bid to design and deliver an innovative new fountain mug. Our winning design the 44oz Black Hammer Mug met all the tough criteria required by ampm's category manager. The Black Hammer project features all that is characteristic of our EasyGo Lifestyle product line and service.

MME INTRODUCES 5 NEW ITEMS FOR SPRING/SUMMER FOUNTAIN PROGRAMS.
Jan 2005
- Mugs Made Easy is excited to announce 5 new products for spring/summer fountain programs. Included are the 28oz Big Wave Tumbler, 32oz The Wall Tumbler, 32oz Revolution Mug, 44oz Revolution Mug and 32oz Dual Chamber Gripper Bottle. All products feature the innovative design that is characteristic of our EasyGo lifestyle product line.

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