When we decided to acquire Convenience Store Decisions from Penton Media nearly two years ago, we did so with an optimistic view of the convenience channel. The dynamics of the industry and its long-term growth prospects in terms of demographics, population expansion in key market areas, the range of needs it fills on a daily basis and the emergence of new categories excited us.
Challenges? There were many. We closed on the deal in December of 2007 and most experts have pinpointed that to be the exact time our country went into one of the worst economic recessions since the Great Depression. There have been a host of roadblocks that impact this industry and in turn affect a publication serving it: rising gas prices last summer, SCHIP this spring, the FDA’s regulation of tobacco, government mandated automotive production to increase MPG, etc. The list goes on and on.
What we have come to learn quickly about this market is the wonderful foundation of honest, intelligent business people that reside within this segment and their ability to quickly find solutions to the challenges that invariably arise. The quality of the individuals we have met both on the retailer and supplier side has been tremendous. The long-lasting friendships in this industry drive its success, and we are honored to have been given a chance to develop these relationships and be privy to your strategies toward growth and sustainability.
One of many examples of the quality retail operations we have gotten to know and understand is our 2009 Chain of the Year winner, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes in Canastota, N.Y. From the top level of their executive management team, throughout the entire organization, the attitude and the spirit they project in the market is inspirational.
The smallest chain to have ever been bestowed this prestigious award, Nice N Easy is perhaps one of the mightiest. The company embodies hard work, perseverance, commitment to excellence and, perhaps most importantly, a culture of greatness. There will be more to come on Nice N Easy next month when CSD offers an in-depth look at its leadership team, achievements and retail operations. In the meantime, we will honor this deserving company at the Wynn in Las Vegas during the NACS Show.
The growth of Convenience Store Decisions over the past year is humbling. We are thankful to our supplier partners for the confidence they have shown in the magazine. But it’s the readers that make CSD special. Without our loyal readership and engagement of the retailers we serve, we could not be celebrating our growth. We are not trying to be all things to all people and that message has permeated the supplier community.
Our goal is to facilitate communication in an honest, straightforward manner that makes the industry proud. Like you, we need to understand our customer and their needs. Our goal is long-term growth and fostering relationships. Please understand that I am always available to discuss your concerns and how we can better meet your needs. I look at the NACS Show as the beginning of a new year with new opportunities. I hope you look at Convenience Store Decisions as a fresh voice whose sole purpose is to help you improve your business.