During the Monday, Oct. 14, General Session at the NACS Show, attendees had the chance to learn about some of the cool new concepts retailers are using to boost success at their stores, during “Ideas 2 Go.”
The “Ideas 2 Go” program showcases emerging concepts that redefine convenience—as well as quick takeaways that retailers could easily implement at their own stores. Since 1994, “Ideas 2 Go” has provided a fast-paced video tour of some of the most interesting, creative and potentially profitable ideas in the convenience and fuel retailing industry.
The featured stores/companies are:
Earth Market/Atlas Oil Co. (Frankfort, Ill.)
Using a grand opening, the company launched a new concept designed to serve both on-the-go customers and those who want to slow down and enjoy the “destination station” and its amenities. The new Earth Market, opened on Earth Day, naturally incorporates a number of Earth-friendly ideas.
Stop and Go Mini Mart (Bend, Ore.)
“You need to separate yourself from the competition,” stresses owner Kent Couch. And this one-store operation certainly does, beginning at the pump, with crisply dressed attendants who deliver high-end, full-service fueling. Inside the store, the beer vault sells as much beer as the big-box competition in town. And that doesn’t even include the “Growler Guys” program, which has 36 different beers on tap, as well as a dozen types of teas and sodas.
Casey’s General Stores (Ankeny, Iowa)
Casey’s isn’t just a company with 1,700-plus convenience stores. In many small towns, the stores are also a gas station, a pizza parlor, a bakery and community gathering place. The retailer’s pizza program is so successful that the company is one of the top five of pizza sellers in the U.S. In 2011, Casey’s began pizza delivery, which had the potential to reduce in-store traffic and overall sales; instead, both in-store and delivery sales grew.
Gourmet Food at Gas Stations (metro Washington, D.C.)
Can some of the best gourmet ethnic food be found at the gas station? In the Washington, D.C., area, the answer is “yes,” as four retailers are delivering exceptional food, as well as innovative new ideas. Others have taken notice, as foodies from around the country, including from The Food Network, have raved about the food. The stores featured are R&R Taqueria (Elkridge, MD), Fast Gourmet (Washington, D.C.), The Thai Pan (Leesburg, Va.) and Seoul Food DC (Wheaton, Md.).
Maverik (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Maverik continues to innovate and deliver upon its promise to customers that its stores are “Adventure’s First Stop.” New programs include several loyalty offers, customer segmentation, a unique branding partnership and an emphasis on foodservice, as well as how customers can earn treats through exercise.
Jubitz Travel Center (Portland, Ore.)
A renovation in 2000 created one of the nicest truck stops in the country, so nice that the Fox Travel Chanel in 2003 named it “the World’s Classiest Truck Stop.” In addition to its two convenience stores, Jubitz offers catering and boxed lunches through its restaurant and true one-stop shopping for truckers, including regular country music concerts.
Bolla Market (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
New York City’s huge cigarette tax increases forced the company to re-evaluate its business, and it emerged with a big emphasis on fresh, quality foodservice and an organic, bird-friendly coffee program unique to the convenience store industry. And then there is the focus on customer service. Following the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the company became a community destination for fuel and necessities.
Oasis Stop N Go (Twin Falls, Idaho)
In 1999, Oasis faced intense competition as a big-box retailer began selling fuel at wholesale cost. It fought back by developing a new coalition loyalty program that today has 4.5 million cardholders. The loyalty program goes beyond discounts and involves both gamification and customization at the pump.
NACS member companies can purchase a copy of the 2013 NACS “Ideas 2 Go” DVD (item number 30088020) for $30 ($60 regular price). Orders can be placed online at nacsonline.com/shop or by calling NACS Customer Service at (800) 966-6227.
The NACS Show, which runs through Oct. 15 at the Georgia World Congress Center, is ranked as the 48th largest trade show in the U.S. and is rated in the top 10 among U.S. trade shows in three of the four key categories used by exhibitors to measure audience quality.