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Premier Manufacturing, Inc. is owned by U.S. Tobacco Cooperative Inc. (USTC), a cooperative of proud American farmers who use the finest flue-cured tobacco in the U.S. to make high-quality, value-priced cigarette brands for adult consumers.

A Brand for Every Customer The Sub-Generic/Private Label Category is an important contributor to c-store tobacco sales and profit margins:

Accounted for 6.2% of sales (+1.9%) Increased margins +1.38 points Source: NACS State of the Industry Report of 2021 Data

Each Premier brand comes in a variety of styles to satisfy the taste preferences of your loyal tobacco customers.

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Premier Manufacturing — a proud sponsor of CSN’s Top Women In Convenience Awards (TWIC) — congratulates the 2022 winners:

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Convenience Store News August 2022


PAYING IT FORWARD This year’s record class of Top Women in Convenience honorees illustrates how the industry is evolving to better recognize and cultivate female talent.




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Moving in the Right Direction Women keep rising up the ranks in the convenience channel in increasing numbers READING THROUGH the profiles of this year’s Top Women in Convenience honorees, one can’t help but feel inspired, and encouraged by the direction the convenience channel is headed.

Convenience Store News launched the Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards program in 2014 with 30 honorees. The inaugural class included 15 senior-level executives, eight rising stars and two store managers, along with five leaders selected as Women of the Year. Now, in its ninth year, the 2022 TWIC program inducts its biggest class yet — more than triple the honorees of that inaugural year. This year’s class is comprised of five Women of the Year, 36 senior-level leaders, 40 rising stars, and 10 mentors. The caliber of nominations received this year was the most impressive yet, and it’s getting harder and harder to select the winners. There is no shortage of impressive women working in the convenience channel today. So, it’s not surprising that women keep rising up the ranks in the industry in increasing numbers. What is even more exciting to see, though, is that those advancing into higher positions of authority feel a calling to guide and support the next generation. They are paying it forward.

One of our 2022 TWIC Women of the Year — Holly Angell, senior vice president of construction, engineering and facilities at 7-Eleven Inc. — says mentoring others in the company is the best part of her job. Having had both female and male mentors who worked with her throughout her career, she understands the importance and feels a responsibility to “pay that gift forward.” Fellow Woman of the Year Allison Cornish, vice president of store modernization at Pilot Co., also believes women should support other women, and works as a mentor to help others in the company “see the value in themselves.” She encourages her mentees to step outside their comfort zones and be open to taking on new challenges. “That’s when you grow,” she says. The convenience channel has certainly stepped outside of its comfort zone and grown in recent years. But there is even greater progress that can be made now, as companies across the industry are putting a heavier focus on diversity, equity and inclusion than ever before. Diverse voices make for a smarter, stronger organization.

For comments, please contact Linda Lisanti, Editor-in-Chief, at llisanti@ensembleiq.com.



2021 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Finalist, Best Infographics, June 2021

2018 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Finalist, Best Editorial Use of Data, June 2017

2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Bronze, Best Original Research, June 2015 2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Silver, Best Original Research, June 2015

2020 Eddie Award, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Series of Articles, September 2019 2018 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Website Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2017 Business to Business, Editorial Use of Data, June 2017 2017 Eddie Award, Folio: magazine Winner, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, May 2017 Honorable Mention, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, June 2016 2016 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2015 Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, August 2015

Ray Johnson Speedee Mart

Chad Beck Core-Mark

Ruth Ann Lilly GPM Investments LLC

Edward Davidson Ed Davidson & Associates (7-Eleven Inc., retired) Robert Falciani ExtraMile Convenience Stores Jim Hachtel Eby-Brown Co.

2020 Trade Association Business Publications Intl. Tabbie Awards Honorable Mention, Best Single Issue, September 2019

Chris Hartman Rutter’s

2016 Trade Association Business Publications Intl. Tabbie Awards Silver, Front Cover Illustration, June 2015


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Laura Aufleger OnCue Express

20 22

Vito Maurici McLane Co. Inc. Matt Paduano Lakeport Markets Jonathan Polansky Plaid Pantries Inc. Greg Scriver Kwik Trip Inc. Roy Strasburger StrasGlobal

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Fuel Retailers’ Message to President: Look in the Mirror Gas station owners are not to blame for high gas prices, but they can help struggling consumers FIRST, IT WAS PUTIN.

Then, Big Oil. Now, he’s blaming fuel retailers for high

gas prices. “He,” of course, is President Biden whose recent message to gas station owners was “bring down the prices you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product.” Does he even believe his own words? Doesn’t he have one aide who can enlighten him on how gas prices work? For more than a decade, Convenience Store News has been reporting on how convenience and petroleum retailers have been shifting their focus to higher margin in-store products, especially fresh food offerings, to offset the continuing decline in profits they earn from motor fuels and cigarettes. As pump prices climb, that profit margin on fuel gets even smaller. High gas prices actually hurt convenience store retailers because consumers will make fewer trips to fill their tanks and spend less inside the store.

There are many reasons behind the sharp rise in fuel prices. Biden should look at his own anti-petroleum policies for contributing to today’s gas price hike. Don’t make convenience stores your scapegoat, Mr. President.

Retailers I’ve spoken with don’t understand why Biden is attacking gas stations, two-thirds of which are owned or run by an entrepreneur or family who operates a single store. Many of them are ethnic minorities trying to achieve the American Dream. Big Oil, Biden’s other boogeyman, owns less than 5 percent of all the gas stations in the country. Jeff Bezos, no right-wing conservative, called Biden’s attack on gas stations as “either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.” Putting politics aside, convenience/petroleum retailers should look for ways to help struggling consumers. U.S. households are now spending the equivalent of $5,000 a year on gasoline, up from $2,800 a year ago, according to Yardeni Research.

Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc. recently dropped its prices at the pump on Unleaded 88 and E85 for a limited time through July 4 to help drivers save money. Retailers can use their loyalty programs to reward frequent customers with cents off a gallon of fuel — several are already doing so. And I’m sure we’ll see other promotions that tie in-store purchases into discounts on gas. As I write this, fuel prices appear to be moderating slightly. The Fed’s move to increase interest rates also appears to be slowing inflation, which is good as long as it doesn’t trigger another housing crash or recession. The convenience store industry has weathered worse times than this. There are many reasons behind the sharp rise in fuel prices. Biden should look at his own anti-petroleum policies for contributing to today’s gas price hike. Don’t make convenience stores your scapegoat, Mr. President.

For comments, please contact Don Longo, Editorial Director Emeritus, at dlongo@ensembleiq.com. 4 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

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30 Paying It Forward This year’s record class of Top Women in Convenience honorees illustrates how the industry is evolving to better recognize and cultivate female talent.

3 Moving in the Right Direction Women keep rising up the ranks in the convenience channel in increasing numbers.


88 A Mixed Bag The current challenges facing the c-store industry — from inflation to supply chain issues to high gas prices — are impacting key product categories in varied ways. NACS SHOW PREVIEW

92 It’s ‘Full Speed Ahead’ for Convenience Store Retailers The 2022 NACS Show is ready to help the industry innovate and find new ideas.


10 CSNews Online 22 New Products INSIDE THE CONSUMER MIND

110 A Tasty Option Convenience store foodservice is grabbing the attention of more consumers.

4 Fuel Retailers’ Message to President: Look in the Mirror Gas station owners are not to blame for high gas prices, but they can help struggling consumers.


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8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 992-4450 Fax: (773) 992-4455 www.csnews.com

BRAND MANAGEMENT Vice President/Group Brand Director Paula Lashinsky (917) 446-4117 plashinsky@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief

Linda Lisanti llisanti@ensembleiq.com

Executive Editor

Melissa Kress mkress@ensembleiq.com

Senior Editor

Angela Hanson ahanson@ensembleiq.com

Managing Editor



12 MAPCO Revamps Its C-store Concept


14 Eye on Growth 14 Fast Facts 16 Retailer Tidbits 18 Supplier Tidbits

80 The Challenge of Doing More With Less C-stores can’t give up on expanding and enhancing their prepared food and beverage programs even during periods of extreme opposition. TECHNOLOGY 84 Capturing the Mobile Customer Consumers are bombarded with digital messages today, so c-stores must find ways to stand out.


Danielle Romano dromano@ensembleiq.com

Associate Editor

Sanestina Hunter shunter@ensembleiq.com

Editorial Director Emeritus

Don Longo dlongo@ensembleiq.com

Contributing Editor

Renée M. Covino reneek@aol.com

Contributing Editor

Tammy Mastroberte tmastroberte@gmail.com

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Associate Brand Director & Northeast Sales Manager (774) 212-6455

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The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

Convenience Store News (ISSN 0194-8733; USPS 515-950) is published 12 times per year, monthly, by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rates: Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy; Digital One year, digital $87; two year, $161. Periodical postage paid at Chicago, IL 60631, and additional mailing addresses. Copyright 2022 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Convenience Store News, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631.

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8/1/22 11:32 AM




Title of Largest Buc-ee’s Will Return to Texas


Kwik Trip Retains Top Spot Among Best U.S. Gas Station Brands

The retailer will replace an existing travel center in Luling, Texas, with a more than 75,000-square-foot structure, making it the largest Buc-ee’s ever built. It will eclipse the size of a recently opened Buc-ee’s in Sevierville, Tenn.

For the second year in a row, the La Crosse, Wis.-based convenience store and gas station operator took the crown in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards. A panel of experts picked the initial nominees and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.


High Gas Prices Weakening Customer Traffic at C-stores


New Research Sheds Light on the Shopping Habits of Generation Z

Fifty-nine percent of convenience retailers say customer traffic has decreased in stores over the past three months, according to the Q3 2022 NACS Pulse Survey. Additionally, 49 percent of retailers say customers coming inside the store are buying less vs. three months prior.

According to the 2022 Path to Purchase Institute Gen Z Shopping Habits research study, 38 percent of Gen Z rank Instagram as their preferred platform for making in-app purchases. The cohort also called out the app’s ability to make personal recommendations and expressed confidence that the platform protects their identity.


QuikTrip Rings Up Customers at Its First Colorado C-store

QuikTrip Corp. is officially a part of the Denver community. It began ringing up customers at its inaugural Colorado convenience store in the area city of Firestone on June 16.


Advancing the Modern-Day Work Culture Today’s employers are concentrating on company cultures that structurally touch upon all aspects of the employee work/ life balance, such as honoring authenticity through effective diversity, equality and inclusion practices, and implementing hybrid work models that provide flexibility, according to a recent webinar hosted by Convenience Store News titled “Expanding the Goal: Women and Their Allies Fight for Workplace Equity for All.” “The work we’ve done with diversity, inclusion and sustainability focus on bringing your authentic self to work and that’s being felt across the organization and seen in our engagement scores,” said Lisa Koenig, head of global communications at Alimentation CoucheTard Inc. “But we still have far ways to go, especially in figuring out what the pipeline is to move from very diverse frontline employees to less diverse leadership.”

Cubby’s Puts Foodservice First The owner and operator of 41 convenience stores, supermarkets and quick-service restaurants is on a mission: to become a restaurant that just so happens to sell fuel. For nearly 20 years, Cubby’s has been partnering with Godfather’s Pizza at its stores. Starting with one Godfather’s Pizza Express location, the retailer is now one of the brand’s top franchisees. Earlier this year, Cubby’s made the jump into owning traditional Godfather’s Pizza locations, acquiring its first standalone Godfather’s Pizza restaurant in its hometown of Omaha, Neb. For more exclusive stories, visit the Special Features section of csnews.com.


Mtn Dew ‘Summer of Baja’ Flavors PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew brand is bringing back its “Summer of Baja.” Original fan favorites Mtn Dew Baja Blast and Mtn Dew Baja Blast Zero Sugar are returning for a limited time. They will be joined by two new tropical flavors: Mtn Dew Baja Mango Gem and Mtn Dew Baja Gold. This summer, the brand is also launching its first-ever energy drink: Mtn Dew Energy Baja Blast. According to the maker, the energy drink has all the flavor of the original Mtn Dew Baja Blast plus the added benefits of citicoline and caffeine, which provide a jolt of energy and help with mental clarity, with zero added sugar.

PepsiCo Inc. Purchase, N.Y. mountaindew.com

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MAPCO Revamps Its C-store Concept The retailer’s Store of the Future showcases multiple technologically advanced features MAPCO IS RAMPING up innovation with its new store concept. The convenience store chain’s Store of the Future showcases a revamped design and multiple technologically advanced features. According to the company, the updates will bring MAPCO to the forefront of c-store innovation as the brand reimagines convenience for its guests.

The Franklin, Tenn.-based chain first introduced its enhanced open floor plan with five stores in 2021, including its rebuilt Nashville, Tenn., flagship location. Seven additional store openings are planned for 2022. The retailer is also rebuilding more than a dozen existing stores using the new model. The new concept stores feature touchscreen fountain beverage machines with more than 20 offerings, including ICEE and fresh coffee. They also include new food displays, including roller grills, hot and cold grab-and-go options, gondolas of guests’ favorite snacks, commonly needed household items, and a beer cave. The updated interior includes expanded restrooms with modern large-scale tiles and custom tile backsplashes, as well as bright, welcoming messaging throughout the store to help guide guests. “The MAPCO team is doubling down in 2022 on

our commitment to offering our guests a ‘Better Break,’ where they can refresh and recharge at their pace,” said CEO Frederic Chaveyriat. “Our new slate of modernized stores are just the latest examples of how we go above and beyond to deliver the best customer experience, and we cannot wait to have our guests enjoy them.” Other tech-forward offerings at select MAPCO locations include MAPCO Scan App, Grabango cashierless checkout, self-checkout, and Amazon Lockers. All stores will also be equipped with AllPoint ATMs. Created in collaboration with retail design firm Chute Gerdeman, Chilean design firm Vial AG, and Architect of Record HFA, MAPCO’s Store of the Future design was recently recognized by Shop!, a global trade association dedicated to enhancing retail environments and experiences, as a winner of the 2021 Shop! Design Gold Award in the convenience category. MAPCO operates more than 300 c-stores across Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. The company and its subsidiaries also operate a fuel logistics business comprised of 46 tankers and a fuel wholesale and fleet group serving more than 125 accounts. MAPCO is a subsidiary of COPEC, a leading South America-based retail company.

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Eye on Growth

large windows, tall ceilings, and expanded restrooms. Thorntons LLC cut the ribbon on its newest Tennessee store in La Vergne. The 5,500-square-foot location, its first in the city, sits on 4.8 acres. The location features a rear diesel island and limited overnight parking.

The sixth location was owned and operated by an independent retailer under a proprietary c-store brand.

Heas Energy Services LLC acquired six gas stations and convenience stores located in central and northern Virginia from two sellers. Five of the sites operated under the Moore’s Country Stores banner.

TravelCenters of America opened a new TA Express travel center in Fairfield, Texas. Measuring 17,000 square feet, it offers several quick-service restaurants, including Whataburger, Original Fried Pie Shop, and The Deli.

Moe’s Mart LLC, operator of 22 locations across Texas, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, picked up nine stores from Loeder Oil. With the sale, Bill Loeder and Dan Loeder will pursue other opportunities. Rutter’s opened its first new build of 2022, and the retailer’s 81st location, in Frederick, Md. The store measures more than 8,400 square feet and boasts 12 fueling positions and three high-speed diesel fueling lanes. MAPCO celebrated the opening of its first convenience store in Columbia, Tenn. The 5,600-square-foot c-store boasts an open floor plan and refreshed layout, including



A Gen Z consumer is truly an omnichannel shopper: 51 percent report that they shop mostly in-store for everyday items, while 27 percent prefer online shopping. — 2022 Path to Purchase Institute Gen Z Shopping Habits study

Yesway opened three new Texas Allsup’s branded stores located in Friona, Hereford and Azle. All three sites feature 5,630 square feet of interior merchandising space, 28 fueling positions, and are open 24 hours a day.


Nearly half of all retailers (49 percent) say customers coming inside the store are buying less vs. three months ago when gas prices were $1.50 less per gallon. — Q3 2022 NACS Pulse Survey

66% Sixty-six percent of consumers say purchasing sustainable food products is important when it comes to snack preferences.

— U.S. Trend Index from Frito-Lay

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Retailer Tidbits

Holiday Oil Co. chose Gilbarco VeederRoot’s Passport Express Lane self-checkout system. The operator will outfit all 67 of its locations with the kiosks. Through a partnership with Buffalo Outdoors, Pilot Flying J offers an exclusive clothing line of work and casual wear. New to the collection is an exclusive line of women’s clothing, available at select stores.

The pact expands 7-Eleven’s current delivery portfolio, which includes Uber Eats, Grubhub, Instacart, Postmates, and DoorDash.

7-Eleven Inc. formed a new delivery partnership with Waitr Holdings Inc. As part of the collaboration, Waitr will deliver from more than 700 7-Eleven convenience stores. Casey’s General Stores Inc. has taken a series of price increases to offset higher cheese costs. In all, cheese costs were up 33 cents per pound to $2.26 in the retailer’s third quarter. Kum & Go LC is modernizing its digital architecture. The multiyear agreement to feature Myplanet’s Composable.com Mobile Commerce Accelerator is part of the foundation of Kum & Go’s one-stop-shop experience.

Snappy’s Convenience Stores is increasing wages by 5 percent across all of its locations. The retailer also offered bonuses for the last two years for full- and parttime staff, along with a $2 minimum wage increase that took effect in June 2021. Cumberland Farms added GripHero hand protectors to fuel pumps across its Northeast locations. The safety feature is available at every fuel pump at 550 stores in New England and New York.

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Struggling with staff shortage? Automate cash at the Self-Checkout Customers don’t expect to wait in a long checkout line; it defeats the purpose of “convenience.” Up to 50% of convenience store transactions are paid in cash. Don’t leave it out of the fast lane. CPI is a provider of payment solutions with 30 million devices in operation, processing 40 million cash payments and powering 4 billion transactions each week to keep your stores productive and give you piece of mind.

Experience seamless self-checkout now. Visit Learn.cranepi.com/C-StoreSCO © 2022 Crane Payment Innovations. All rights reserved.


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How Cash at the sco can ease labor issues It’s 2022--Retailers have recognized the value of selfcheckout technology and the benefits it will bring to their stores including easing labor shortage problems, improving the customer experience, and, of course, increasing the bottom line. Now you need to consider how to deploy your self-checkout to best suit the needs of your stores and your customers; the big question is— do you automate cash, or go completely cashless?

lead customers to perceive unfairness—why should they wait in line while the card paying customer can breeze right through? It’s not worth the risk alienating such a large portion of your customers. Card-only self-checkouts will still require a cashier to handle all cash payments, increasing the likelihood that lines will continue to be long at rush hour, and risk customers walking out without purchasing. 41% of customers will abandon their purchase if they see a long line, and one bad experience can sour customers on your entire business. Almost half of consumers avoid a specific store if they have to wait longer than 5 minutes. No one wants to lose business due to customer dissatisfaction, and these lines can be effectively eliminated by deploying cash automation with self-checkout. 41% of customers will abandon their purchase if they see a long line

You may be leaning toward cashless—it’s less costly upfront, and card payments seem more like “the future.” Let’s examine that assumption—can you get the full ROI you expect from your self-checkout without adding cash? First consider from the perspective of the speed of service; self-checkout will move your customers through the line faster and eliminate long lines at peak times of day. If you’ve only automated cashless payments you haven’t solved the complete problem, and will not be able to repurpose cashiers to take on additional store related tasks, like cleaning, stocking shelves, etc. Stores that struggle with staff shortages will find relief by allowing their customers to checkout without their assistance, ensuring only one cashier is required to ring up ageverified products. 47% of all purchase values under $25 are paid in cash Next, think about your customer’s experience. For the average purchase in convenience stores, consumers overwhelmingly choose cash; 47% of all purchase values under $25 are paid in cash. The percentage of cash usage in your stores may be even higher given that the average c-store transaction is between $3.75-9.00; recent studies report around 40-50% of purchases are made in cash. In addition to preferences, the Federal Reserve estimates 20-28% of the population is currently “un-banked,” or “under-banked,” and do not have access to card payments. Cashless only self-checkouts could

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Lastly, cashless processing isn’t always as cheap as it seems to be. There’s a good chance cash payments cost less as a percentage of your revenue than cashless. Driving customers to cashless may actually increase costs and negatively impact profit margins. In order to fully reap the benefits of your self-checkout deployment you need to include both cash and cashless payments. Cash automation makes it a well-rounded solution and delivers a superior ROI for your business.

Experience seamless self-checkout now. Visit Learn.cranepi.com/C-StoreSCO

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Supplier Tidbits

led to a 13.5 percent increase across the confection category over 2021’s campaign. U.S. Tobacco Cooperative Inc. (USTC) exited bankruptcy on July 14. Federal bankruptcy court approved USTC’s Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization on June 23, along with settlement terms with the Lewis Class.

Now in its 40th year, PepsiCo currently dedicates more than $1 billion annually to the program.

PepsiCo is upping its commitment to its Supplier Diversity Program. The company will expand its base and increase overall spend through new forums, mentorship, partnerships, and resources.

Activist investor Elliott Investment Management is building a stake in Swedish Match AB. The move comes as Swedish Match and Philip Morris International discuss a possible merger.

Mondelez International is acquiring Clif Bar & Co. as part of its portfolio reshaping strategy. The estimated $2.9 billion deal, which includes brands like CLIF, LUNA and CLIF Kid, will expand Mondelez’s global snack bar business to more than $1 billion. S. Abraham & Sons Inc. (SAS) concluded its second successful year of celebrating National Candy Month in June. SAS launched an internal sales contest, which

Chester’s Chicken returned to the Fort Worth, Texas, market with a new location inside the Fuel City store in Haltom City. The store began welcoming guests on June 30.


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1. Blake’s Hard Cider

2. Tropicana Light

As part of its “Summer of Cider” campaign, Blake’s Hard Cider introduced new flavors along with its first summer variety pack. The new flavors are Peach Party, a semisweet cider with notes of ripe, sweet peaches with tart blackberries at the finish; and Tropicolada, which features a sweet, ripe pineapple body paired with orange citrus and a hint of coconut. Peach Party will be available year-round, while Tropicolada is available through Labor Day. Both new flavors come in sixpacks of 12-ounce cans for a suggested price of $10.99, and are included in the brand’s new Vacation Mode Summer Variety Pack.

PepsiCo’s Tropicana brand launched Tropicana Light, which boasts 70 percent fewer calories than other Tropicana premium drinks and has no sugar added. Tropicana Light is available in two flavors: Berry Colada, which blends the flavors of fresh strawberry with the classic tropical combo of juicy pineapple and creamy coconut; and Tropical Sunrise, which combines the bright flavors of juicy mango and tangy passion fruit. Both varieties are made with 15 percent juice and are a good source of vitamin C, according to the maker. PepsiCo Inc. Purchase, N.Y. tropicana.com

Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Armada, Mich. blakeshardcider.com

3. Lindt Dairy-Free OatMilk Chocolate Bars Catering to Lindt fans, chocolate lovers and plant-based enthusiasts alike, Lindt & Sprüngli introduces Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk Chocolate Bars. In addition to being non-dairy, the bars are also plant-based and made with gluten-free oats. Two varieties are available: Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk and Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk Salted Caramel, which features the addition of crunchy salted caramel pieces. The bars offer the “irresistible taste, smoothness and creamy texture” that consumers have come to expect from the entire Lindt Classic Recipe portfolio, according to the maker. The 3.5-ounce bars have a suggested retail price of $4.49.

4. Squadle Sense RTM System Workflow automation company Squadle launched Squadle Sense Remote Temperature Monitoring (RTM), a handsfree tracking system to monitor freezer and refrigerator interiors at stores. When placed in a freezer, the Squadle smart sensor leverages LoRaWAN technology to track the ambient temperature and then calibrates the temperatures of individual products without having to touch them or open their packaging. Squadle Sense RTM also offers fully customizable features, such as smart capture, custom configuration, effortless compliance, 24/7 monitoring with SMS alerts, and predictive notifications. Squadle Boston squadle.com

Lindt & Sprüngli Stratham, N.H. lindtusa.com

5. Snagajob Solutions


Snagajob, the country’s largest marketplace for hourly jobs, introduced two new offerings to expedite the job search. Easy Apply lets job seekers apply to jobs using their Snagajob profile, instead of redirecting candidates to an off-site application. Direct-to-Interview advances the job search process by allowing qualified candidates to schedule an interview right when they apply to a job, choosing from preset times determined by the potential employer. These new solutions from Snagajob make the hourly job search process seamless for both workers and employers, according to the company. Snagajob Richmond, Va. snagajob.com 22 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

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GROW WITH A TRUSTED BRAND “More than 30 years ago, my wife Tracie and I opened our first Chevron gas station in Boise, Idaho. Since those early days, our business has evolved and grown to include a 20-pump island Chevron gas station, Havoline xpress lube® and the Fast Eddy’s convenience store and car wash, yet all this time the Chevron brand has remained the same - a top-tier brand that consumers know and trust. So when Chevron announced its new Chevron xpress lube® image, we jumped at the opportunity to transform our fast lube to align with Chevron fuel on the lot as well as the high expectations and values of our business, enabling us to continue growing with a trusted premium brand well into the future.” Steve Eddy, Owner/Operator Chevron xpress lube | Meridian, Idaho

Move forward with Chevron

Scan to learn more or visit chevronxpresslube.com (866) 354-4476

© 2022 Chevron. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of Chevron Intellectual Property LLC or their respective owners.

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6. Buena Fé Organic 7. Joyfull Bakery Tequila Quenchers Parmesan Crisps Buena Fé bills itself as the first-ever USDA certified organic tequila quencher. Currently available in two expressions, Watermelon Strawberry and Mango Pineapple, each variety is sold in a four-pack with a suggested retail price of $14.99. Buena Fé Organic Tequila Quenchers are made of premium ingredients: 100 percent organic blue weber agave tequila blanco, organic fruit juice, organic agave, organic natural flavors, and sparkling water. The brand is making its debut in Michigan, Massachusetts and New Jersey. In the coming months, Buena Fé will also be available in Washington, California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. Pure Brands Co. LLC New York drinkbuenafe.com

Joyfull Bakery is debuting refreshed packaging made with 25 percent less plastic for its Parmesan Crisps and two new varieties: Jalapeño and Five Seed. The refreshed look and new flavors are designed to reflect the brand’s mission of spreading joy through food. The product line launched in 2015, offering Original and Everything varieties of its small-batched and slowoven-baked crisps made with 100 percent aged Parmesan cheese. The new Jalapeño and Five Seed varieties and refreshed packing are now available nationally. ​​​​Joyfull Bakery Parmesan Crisps have a suggested retail price of $7 per 3-ounce package. Joyfull Bakery South San Francisco, Calif. joyfullbakery.com

8. Island Brands CRUSH

9. Alto-Shaam Converge Ovens

In response to consumer demand for more options in the flavored malt beverages category, Island Brands USA introduced two new products: CRUSH Tropical Punch and CRUSH Lime Margarita. Both offerings are made with natural flavors and have a 10 percent ABV. The 16-ounce cans are available in singles, four-packs, and 24-can cases. The CRUSH line marks the second significant expansion of Island Brands’ portfolio in 2022, following the first-quarter debut of the Get Active Pack, featuring three new flavors of low-calorie, superpremium Island Active beer.

Alto-Shaam debuts Converge Ovens, its latest innovation in the multi-cook category. Converge Ovens provide expanded menu potential in the smallest footprint by pairing controlled humidity and the patented vertical airflow of Structured Air Technology. The ovens come with up to three independent chambers in a ventless space. Operators can now steam, bake, grill, and air fry simultaneously in the same oven, without sacrificing quality. Converge also features a selfcleaning design, saving operators time and labor. Alto-Shaam Inc. Menomonee Falls, Wis. alto-shaam.com/en

Island Brands USA Charleston, S.C. islandbrandsusa.com

10. GSTV Amplify GSTV Amplify marks the next step in the evolution of the GSTV video network, allowing for a more nuanced offering to impactfully serve consumer packaged goods (CPG) partners seeking to win in the retail space. Operating as part of GSTV’s full sight, sound and motion national video network, Amplify is designed to help retailers access an engaged audience just steps away from the convenience store and moments from purchase, and offer CPG marketers the ability to complement and amplify their existing omnichannel brand plans and strategies. GSTV Amplify can help brands reach an audience of 104MM unique monthly viewers.


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The 2022 Convenience Store News’ Top Women in Convenience awards program recognizes the integral role women play in convenience retailing. Women will be honored from the retailer, wholesaler and supplier communities in four different categories:


Women of the Year Senior Level Leaders Rising Stars Mentors


Celebrate and network with leaders in the industry at this inspiring event

Meet with our attendees. Attendees will include the 2022 Top Women in Convenience winners, retail colleagues, manufacturers, distributors, key industry associations, industry luminaries and thought leaders and solution providers

Establish stronger retailer relationships

Create a positive impression of your brands among existing and prospective business partners






Vice President and Brand Director 917.446.4117 plashinsky@ensembleIQ.com Associate Brand Director/West Coast 330.840.9557 rlowy@ensembleIQ.com

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Associate Brand Director/Northeast 774.212.6455 rmcgaffigan@ensembleIQ.com Associate Publisher/Midwest 847.894.8134 kfischer@ensembleIQ.com

3/3/22 11:46 AM


Cracking the Loyalty Code Small operators can attract and retain customers just as effectively as the larger chains if they have a well-thought-out game plan in place By Brian Berk IT’S AN AGE-OLD marketing question: How can small operators get more customers into their convenience stores, get them to spend more money while there, and keep them coming back while competing against larger chains with more marketing resources?

According to industry experts, the first step is determining exactly what they’re up against. “Larger convenience chains have more resources — not only money to spend on marketing, but also the internal staff needed to execute largescale programs, track and optimize performance, and build one-on-one relationships with consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands,” noted Jake Bolling, CEO of Skupos, a data analytics provider that primarily focuses on independent and small retail chains.

It is also easier for large chains to stay price competitive through economies of scale via access to brand-funded programs and promotions, according to Bolling. Once a small operator has determined what they are up against in their specific market, it is time to devise a game plan. Carl Orsbourn, a former executive with ampm and author of “Delivering the Digital Restaurant,” stressed that retailers must be confident they can deliver on whatever commitment they are making to their customers. “Speed, accuracy and timeliness are a retailer’s three biggest challenges,” he told Convenience Store News. “For all the technology that is out there, if you cannot deliver on these [three things], you are always going to create a poorer customer service experience.”

The Small Operator’s Checklist The way Bolling sees it, three things should be on every small operator’s checklist as they develop and begin to implement their marketing game plan: Check the data often. Don’t just look at data when

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something seems off. Build this into a daily or weekly operational task list. The more often retailers look at data, the more second nature it becomes and the more likely they are to identify actionable insights. Start small. Retailers should focus on a few key points, such as the top-selling products, daily and weekly revenue, and measuring promotional performance by looking at incremental dollars and units sold for promoted products. This way, they can start to identify opportunities based on day of week or time of day, and home in on top-performing categories and promotions. Find a partner. Team up with a vendor that can spoon-feed this information while also providing access to programs that can help keep stores competitive. Small businesses must make sure they are getting the most value from their investments. Lori Stout, vice president of marketing at Silicon Valley, Calif.-based Punchh, which helps convenience stores enhance their in-store and digital customer experience by centralizing data and creating one-on-one connections across all touchpoints, recommends smaller operators build up their “tech stack” to support future innovations. Begin by selecting partners that have integrations that support a retailer’s business model and will allow them to expand their offerings as they grow.

more 50-plus [year-olds], having an active Facebook page makes more sense,” he explained. “[Either way], you need to have a social media presence, so your customer base can interact with you.” In terms of retaining customers and ultimately getting them to spend more money, Orsbourn said lack of feedback is a problem, as it makes it much harder to improve on a marketing plan. He pointed to solutions such as Tattle and Ovation, which are two companies that put QR codes on the bottom of receipts, carryout bags or leaflets on the front door of a store. “What that can do is avoid a one-star review for your business on Google. It allows the customer to tell the operator directly how they feel about the experience,” he said. “Retailers must respond when they receive this feedback. Today in the digital world, consumers are more easily influenced by a bad review.” When trying to incentivize customers to purchase more, c-store retailers should consider their bottom line.

“As two-thirds of sales in the c-store market occur in independent stores or small chains, brands can’t afford to ignore this market. And as CPG brands look to optimize this space, technology will meet them there, which is a big win for smaller retailers.” — Jake Bolling, Skupos

“This would include ensuring the partner can support curbside service, a mobile platform, contactless payments, a subscription program, and more down the road,” said Stout. “Frictionless solutions are about improving the customer experience and adding another layer of insight as to what the customer is doing in the store and in what order, so the operator can later adjust its portfolio and positioning of SKUs within the limited space.” When trying to acquire new customers, treat them as omnichannel customers, Orsbourn advises. These days, consumers interact with retailers beyond just the in-store experience, so retailers must have a presence where the customer is. “If you are a young, hip retailer, having a presence on TikTok or Instagram makes sense. If your customer base is AUGUS T

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small chains, brands can’t afford to ignore this market. And as CPG brands look to optimize this space, technology will meet them there, which is a big win for smaller retailers,” he relayed.

Loyalty in Focus One of the main methods large c-store chains use to retain customers is a loyalty program. According to Punchh, 43 percent of c-store shoppers choose a specific convenience retailer because of its loyalty program and more than 70 percent of shoppers increase visits to that retailer if they are members of a given loyalty program. Stout’s No. 1 piece of advice for smaller operators is to add a loyalty program because it will allow them to invest in their customers and get to know them on a one-on-one basis. Loyalty programs also enable small operators to invest in things like inventory control, supply chain solutions, and tools to help them target customers to drive more sales, she points out.

“Loyalty solutions absolutely can work for smaller c-store operators if they make careful and conscious choices about the solution that matches their business needs.” — Lori Stout, Punchh

“What are your highest margin products? For example, average tobacco market basket sizes are larger than market baskets without tobacco products, and more than 25 percent of c-store shoppers purchase a packaged beverage item with a tobacco item,” Skupos’ Bolling noted. “Running lucrative promotions like twofers on higher-margin packaged beverage items can increase those basket sizes even further.” Finding vendors that provide access to promotional programs, encouraging impulse buys and targeting different types of shoppers can help further move the needle. Small operators can gain access to exclusive brand-funded promotions that are usually only available to national chains via platforms like Skupos, according to Bolling. “As two-thirds of sales in the c-store market occur in independent stores or

“Loyalty solutions absolutely can work for smaller c-store operators if they make careful and conscious choices about the solution that matches their business needs,” said Stout. “Before implementation, c-store retailers should evaluate the various solutions out there and design one that not only motivates customers, but also drives profitable incremental behavior from their most frequent visitors.” The ability to know the customer is beneficial not only for sales, but also for the overall operation. Loyalty programs can help mitigate the risk of having excess product. “[C-store retailers] can use data to help run a more seamless business model and one that puts craveable products at the consumers’ fingertips and creates an experience that is truly memorable and enjoyable. Loyalty programs are built to deliver that to you and your customers,” Stout said. If a loyalty program proves too cumbersome for a smaller operator to implement in terms of time and/or investment, every retailer should still know who its most loyal customers are. Even without a loyalty program, this information can be used to create an email marketing campaign to stay in touch with these loyal customers and personalize their experience. A service like Mailchimp is an effective way to create an email campaign, Orsbourn noted. “It is not a traditional loyalty campaign, but what you are doing as an independent retailer is treating your most loyal customers in a different fashion,” he said. “It means you have an initiative in place to reach out to customers and you’re trying to grow that consumer base.” Finding the time to create these campaigns can be a challenge for a smaller operator, Orsbourn acknowledged. But today’s gig economy can provide a cost-effective solution. The bottom line is that as consumers increasingly adapt to a more technological and personalized world, retailers will have no choice but to adjust their marketing plan accordingly. The good news is that technological solutions can help deliver additional revenue and savings to a retailer’s bottom line, meaning the investment pays off in the long run. “Not only do technological innovations help brands market to their guests in a more impactful way, [but] many can be designed to operate with small teams that continue to have limited bandwidth,” said Stout. “With the right solutions partner, you can evolve to meet the needs of your customers while also managing operational expenses.” CSN

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8/3/22 10:19 AM



FORWARD This year’s record class of Top Women in Convenience honorees illustrates how the industry is evolving to better recognize and cultivate female talent A Convenience Store News Staff Report

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n 2014, Convenience Store News launched the Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards program with 30 honorees. In the ensuing years, the program grew and grew to reach a total of more than 400 TWIC honorees last year. Now, in its ninth year, the 2022 TWIC program inducts its largest class yet — more than triple the honorees of that inaugural year.

This year’s record class of Top Women in Convenience winners — which brings the total number of program honorees to more than 500 — illustrates how the convenience store industry has evolved, and continues to evolve, to better recognize and cultivate female talent. Not only are companies across the industry more focused on diversity, equity and inclusion than ever before, but there’s also a growing movement happening around mentorship. Women supporting women to reach their goals, and then go ever farther. TWIC is the first and only c-store industry program that spotlights the integral role women play in convenience retailing and celebrates individuals across retailer, distributor and supplier businesses for outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry at large. Honorees are recognized in four categories: Women of the Year: Retailer, supplier and wholesaler executives of any rank who have had an exceptional impact on the success or direction of their company, as well as a positive impact on the convenience store industry as a whole. These visionaries have steered their companies into new markets, new opportunities, and strong measurable growth. Senior-Level Leaders: Retailer, supplier and wholesaler executives at the level of director or vice president and above who have executed on a strategy and transformed their business in a positive manner. Rising Stars: Retailer, supplier and wholesaler professionals with job titles from store manager to just below vice president who are making their mark on the industry, even at early stages of their careers. Mentors: Retailer, supplier and wholesaler professionals of any rank who have made an extraordinary effort, and had an exceptional impact, on the careers of their colleagues. Chosen based on nominations received from their peers illustrating accomplishments during the previous 12 months, the 2022 TWIC class is comprised of five Women of the Year, 36 Senior-Level Leaders, 40 Rising Stars, and 10 Mentors. Judging was conducted by the CSNews team in partnership with the 2022 Top Women in Convenience Advisory Board. All of the 2022 TWIC winners will be publicly feted for their achievements. The ninth-annual TWIC Awards Gala is scheduled to be held Oct. 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Renaissance Las Vegas, against the backdrop of the 2022 NACS Show.


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Holly Angell Senior Vice President of Construction, Engineering & Facilities

7-Eleven Inc.

With a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Boise State University, Angell has always had a career in the retail world, holding positions with Albertson’s, Cole’s Supermarkets (one of the largest retailers in Australia), Southeastern Grocers, and Dairy Farm Holdings. She joined 7-Eleven in 2019. In her role, Angell has been an integral part of 7-Eleven’s integration of Speedway locations following their acquisition, including installing LEDs in the stores to contribute to the company’s overall CO2 reduction goal. During the early days of the acquisition, when COVID-19 was preventing nonessential work travel, she made sure she did virtual meet-and-greets with every new person on her team from Speedway. of construction, engineering and facilities for the world’s largest convenience store retailer, Holly Angell’s role is to strategize and execute the modernization of 7-Eleven Inc.’s more than 12,000 brick-and-mortar customer experiences.


“We have several exciting initiatives underway as part of our strategy to transform the customer experience across the 7-Eleven network of stores,” Angell told Convenience Store News. “We are expanding 7-Eleven’s electric vehicle charging capabilities, identifying prime geographic expansion areas, while delivering convenient charging options to customers.”

“I am extremely proud of our work transforming how we provide maintenance to our network of stores, applying best practices from our Speedway integration to 7-Eleven stores,” she said. “We now employ our own technicians to provide maintenance services, helping operators receive better maintenance services at reduced costs and with more visibility to store needs. This program is also creating career opportunities and growth paths for over a thousand technicians, which is wonderful to be a part of.” Angell is very active in mentoring others at 7-Eleven, and created a mentor program for her team members that has served as a model for others in the company. Having had both female and male mentors who worked with her throughout her career, she understands the importance and feels a responsibility to “pay that gift forward.” It’s actually her favorite part of her job.

The company is also looking at new ways to bring proprietary restaurants like Laredo Taco Co. into its locations to “enhance the customer experience in a profitable way,” and Angell is working to fundamentally change how maintenance services are delivered to the stores to improve total cost of ownership and equipment uptime.

“I love giving that opportunity to grow and succeed to others,” she explained. “I actively mentor several people at different levels of the organization, and I provide coaching to multiple individuals throughout the company, as well as women in other industries. Within my team, I make sure all my direct reports have development plans, and we actively manage those plans together to ensure everyone is involved in career development.”

“For me, the c-store industry is all about the customer experience and how we surprise and delight our customers in a convenient way,” the 2022 TWIC Woman of the Year said, noting that it is her favorite part of the industry. “I love that we get to provide unexpected and fun treats for customers, how and when they want it — including through online and delivery now — so there is always something new.”

Angell’s advice to fellow women in the c-store industry is to start leading by putting themselves first. She believes there will always be challenging times and those are the ones that require self-care the most in order to successfully take care of a team and family. “How are you taking care of yourself? Your mind, your body and your soul? How are you managing your fundamentals, so you can be the best leader for your team?” she posed.

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We may have invented convenience retailing, but these women are helping us reinvent it. Left to Right:

Dea Pennington, Sandie Bower, Vareesha Shariff and Holly Angell

Congratulations to the

7-Eleven, Inc. 2022 Top Women in Convenience WO M A N O F TH E Y E A R

S E N I O R- L E V E L L E A D E R


Holly Angell Senior Vice President of Construction, Engineering and Facilities

Sandie Bower Director of Operations, Program Implementation

Dea Pennington Senior Manager, Communications

Vareesha Shariff Product Director, Fresh Foods

Thank you for your leadership innovation, creativity and all-around awesomeness.

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EVP Director of Blu

West Area Vice President



Director, National Accounts

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Allison Cornish Vice President of Store Modernization

Pilot Co.

Cornish makes decisions each day that impact the company’s more than 28,000 team members and 1.5 million daily customers. One small change can have a massive impact, she noted. “The best feeling is visiting a travel center that has completed its remodel and hearing our team members and guests express their excitement for how it’s made their day better,” Cornish said. “I also thoroughly enjoy coaching, mentoring and helping team members grow in their role. Building the leaders of tomorrow is rewarding and important.” first job out of college in the pricebook department of Pilot Co., she has worked for the retailer in a variety of roles over the years, and currently serves as vice president of store modernization. She leads the design and execution of store improvement initiatives alongside Pilot’s construction and development team.


“I’m overseeing a $1 billion project called New Horizons, which will fully remodel more than 400 of our travel centers over the next three years to make the experience even better for our team members and guests,” she told CSNews, noting that phase one of the initiative is fully remodeling approximately 50 Pilot and Flying J travel centers and making upgrades to several more locations by the end of this year. “It’s a huge task and the fact that I’m entrusted with a project of this scale is truly humbling.” In addition to working with multiple teams across the business to identify locations to be remodeled, changes to be made and when construction will begin, Cornish also takes into account feedback from Pilot team members and customers, including some she collects directly from the source. “I spend a lot of time traveling the country to visit our travel centers and talk to people, so I can get firsthand knowledge of where and how we can make the biggest impact with every store we remodel,” she explained.

She believes women should support other women, and works as a mentor to help other women in the company “see the value in themselves.” She often gives advice that she finds helpful as well. “Sometimes, my role is to push people outside their comfort zone to pursue and take jobs that make them uncomfortable or maybe have aspects they don’t know much about. That’s when you grow,” Cornish said.

“Building the leaders of tomorrow is rewarding and important.” In fact, her advice to fellow women in the industry, and in business overall, is to step outside their comfort zones and be open to taking on new challenges. Although growth can feel uncomfortable at first, she said “with determination, patience and willingness to listen and learn, you’ll be successful.” Having worked in the convenience channel for more than 20 years now, Cornish has seen the role of women in the c-store industry change and grow, especially when it comes to leadership and management opportunities. When she was promoted to region manager in 2007, she was only the third woman to ever serve in that type of position within the company. “I am now one of several women at Pilot Co. in leadership roles, and continue to see more women interested in joining the c-store industry,” she said.

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The Convenience Distribution Association, representing convenience products distributors across the nation, congratulates all the Convenience Store News 2022 Top Women in Convenience honorees, with special congratulations to our CDA members: W OMEN OF TH E Y EA R Danielle Holloway, Altria Group Distribution Co. SEN IOR- L EVEL L EA DERS Gwen Andrews, The Hershey Co. Trish Bay, Reynolds Marla Benson, Mars Wrigley Jessica Flaten, ITG Brands Ali Marciano, Core-Mark International Jackie Palmer, McLane Co. Inc. Kimberly Ross, ITG Brands Jessica Wright, Reynolds RIS IN G S TA RS Katie Bondy, McLane Co. Inc. Caylin McCombs, ITG Brands Alex McGuire, Altria Group Distribution Co. April Standford, General Mills Elaine Yee, ITG Brands MEN TORS Jessica Hendrickson, Altria Group Distribution Co. Jami McDermid, Crossmark Stephanie Simon, Swedish Match

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Danielle Holloway Senior Director of Industry Engagement

Altria Group Distribution Co.

Tobacco Outlets, Convenience Distribution Association, Society of Gas Marketers Association, and Energy Marketers Association. “Service back to the industry is both important and fun,” she said. “It is where relationships are built and where the work gets done — a way to earn your voice.” Last year, Holloway helped launch AGDC’s “Stronger Together” campaign, aimed at finding a way to involve its trade partners and encourage the industry overall to take action to drive inclusion, diversity and equity in the retail and wholesale markets.

PHILLIP MORRIS USA recruited Danielle Holloway during her junior year of college at Syracuse University. She started working with the Richmond, Va.-based company as an intern that summer, and upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1999, she became the territory sales manager responsible for 125 stores in Bergen County, N.J.

Over the years, Holloway continued to grow in field-level roles, and eventually made the jump to working in corporate roles. She currently serves as senior director of industry engagement for Altria Group Distribution Co. (AGDC), where she manages a team of 15 people. “I attend industry events, host customer events, participate in industry committees and boards, and monitor regulatory legislative grassroots initiatives in my role,” Holloway told CSNews. “Some of the things I’m working on now are regulatory grassroots advocacy on the FDA’s comment period for flavors in cigarettes and cigars, planning for next quarter events, employee resource group awareness efforts, supporting electronic age verification, and associate and committee work.” Holloway is actively involved in a number of c-store industry associations and women’s groups, including the CSNews Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, NextUp (formerly Network of Executive Women), NACS, National Association of

Additionally, she was a founding creator of Phillip Morris’ internal employee resource group focused on women in sales, which has been active for the past 10 years. “This offers women and men opportunities to learn and lead to drive a better culture for the company,” she explained. “This employee resource group delivers content, events [and] learning opportunities to develop male and female leaders in Altria Group Distribution Co. to drive our culture and success.” Her role in the Women in Sales employee resource group is one of the things Holloway is most proud of in her career and, more importantly “pushing the entire industry to lean in on diversity and inclusion.” She feels it’s a privilege to be the face of the group in her current role. Holloway’s favorite thing about the c-store industry is the people. She loves attending industry events because of the time she gets to spend with others and engage, while tackling problems together. She says the best part of her job is the variety and challenge presented each day. “Some days, I get to travel and others I am in the office, which could be at home, at our headquarters or up in Washington, D.C., at the Government Affairs Office. Not only is my team amazing to work with, but I get to interact with a lot of different people every day, and I am always facing different problems to solve,” she said. Having been in the industry for more than 20 years, she has seen the role of women evolve to being not only realized, but also valued. However, she believes there is still room for growth. “We are not always the only woman in the room anymore, and are often joined by other diverse voices, but unfortunately, we are still being ‘counted,’” Holloway said. “I look forward to the time when that isn’t necessary. And my advice to women is to focus on your network because your connections to people is how everything gets done.”

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beyond the best 2022 TOP Success is earned not given. Congratulations to the Convenience Store News 2022 Top Women in Convenience.

WOMEN in Convenience Holly Angell

Allison Cornish

Julie Jackson

Sr. Vice President, Construction, Engineering & Facilities

Vice President of Store Modernization


G&M Oil Co.

Pilot Co.

7-Eleven Inc.

Colette Matthews

Special Shout Out to

Vice President, Customer Experience, Global Marketing


Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

Danielle Holloway Sr. Director of Industry Engagement

Altria Group Distribution Co.

©2022 Altria Group Distribution Company | For Trade Purposes Only

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Julie Jackson President

G&M Oil Co.

“Be your authentic self — there is no one else like you.” Jackson enjoys challenging her team to come up with solutions for the obstacles the company is facing because the creativity they present often “blows her away,” she said. Currently, she is working on growth opportunities, alternative energy options, and retail IT systems. She is focused on making sure G&M Oil is set up for the future. from California State University with a degree in business administration and an emphasis on accounting, Julie Jackson went to work for KPMG before moving to CKE Restaurants (Carl’s Jr.) where she held positions as a financial analyst and auditor. In 1995, she entered the convenience store industry working for ARCO in its internal audit department. When BP purchased the company, she eventually became a corporate officer/vice president.


In 2013, Jackson joined G&M Oil Co. as senior vice president and general manager, and although she left for a few years to work at United Pacific as its president, she is now back at G&M Oil, leading the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based operator of 160 stores in southern and northern California. As president, she has full operational and financial responsibility for the company and is in charge of three brands: Chevron, G&M and ExtraMile stores. “I’m responsible for all aspects of the business, including strategy, operations, IT, finance and accounting, human resources, legal, real estate, construction, maintenance, environmental, marketing, and more,” the 2022 TWIC Woman of the Year told CSNews. “I never know where the day will lead, but it’s always challenging and interesting. My favorite part of the job is that no day is ever the same. There is always a new event, challenge, or something new to learn.”

“I am getting my arms around our retail IT systems and making sure the company is positioned for future growth and flexibility as things are changing so fast and the industry as a whole is behind other retailers,” she explained. “It’s an exciting time to be in the industry, and my favorite part of it is the people; there are so many great people making the stores and the industry run.” Outside of her company, Jackson is involved in the industry as a member of NACS, and she’s also been involved with Conexxus developing webinars and resources. Working with NACS, she has hosted several congressional visits to walk members of Congress through G&M’s stores. She is a member of the California Fuels and Convenience Alliance as well. “Typically, congressmen are very surprised at the complexity of our business, the challenges we face, and all the costs associated with it,” Jackson noted. According to her nominator, Jackson has a track record of demonstrated success and is “a real visionary who has had an exceptional impact on the people who worked with and around her, the companies for which she has worked, and the industry as a whole.” Looking back on her career so far, Jackson says she is proud of her work ethic, honesty, dedication, and the careers of others she has helped develop over the years. “My advice for women is to be resilient and be present with what you are doing,” she said. “Be your authentic self — there is no one else like you. Your path is not easily defined and won’t be a straight line because there is no ‘right way’ to have a successful career. Place emotional intelligence and trust high on your list of valued attributes.”

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Colette Matthews Global Vice President of Customer Experience

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

“Right now, I’m developing a robust Voice of the Customer program that captures customer feedback across the entire customer journey, and launching a new mobile app globally,” she noted. “I’m also reimaging the Circle K website strategy, and piloting mobile ordering and delivery, which requires we work with third-party lastmile delivery partners, such as DoorDash and Instacart.” While she has only been in the c-store industry since two months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Matthews so far is most proud of achieving best-in-class customer engagement scores, which she attributes to her passion for people, her team and colleagues, and the establishment of the Voice of the Customer program and the new Circle K mobile app — which was developed in-house for the first time. consumer packaged goods companies, including Procter & Gamble, Newell Brands and Whirlpool Corp., Colette Matthews often worked closely with the store and retail teams associated with them. This prepared her for her role at Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s Circle K brand where she now holds the position of global vice president of customer experience.


“I work to empower the organization with enabling capabilities, best practices and underlying infrastructure to deliver a consistent, winning and desirable customer experience,” she said. Matthews is responsible for customer insights and customer care; digital experiences, including creating a new, innovative website and mobile app experience, and maintaining those digital channels; payment, including the cost of credit card acceptance and building out the company’s ability to accept new digital payment solutions; its digital media network, such as monetizing the company-owned digital screens; and omnichannel and e-commerce, enabling customers to order ahead and pick up in-store or have their goods delivered. She also has contributed to the development of a number of awardwinning strategic initiatives by Circle K, including Pay-by-Plate, Sip-and-Save, Fresh Food Fast, car wash subscription, self-checkout, and the brand’s developing loyalty program.

She enjoys spending time with customers, listening to them and learning about their needs. Her favorite aspect of working in the c-store industry is how it touches lives across the globe, including a variety of ages, professions, demographics and interests.

“I am proud of the service we provide, so people’s lives are made just a little easier.” “C-stores are a reflection of the world,” she said. “Almost every adult across the globe has experienced and/or depended on a c-store to fuel up, recharge with food, quench their thirst, help them out of a bind when an instance arises, or boost their day with a small indulgence or treat. I am proud of the service we provide, so people’s lives are made just a little easier.” Since she’s joined Couche-Tard, Matthews has seen more women moving into leadership positions within the company. Her advice for fellow women in the industry is to invest in themselves and others, and to actively pursue growth. “Never make yourself little,” she said. “Be courageous. Breathe, and have fun living. Collectively, these things will help you navigate any situation — professional or personal.”

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Congratulations are in store to our Winners! Each of these women shine a bright light on the company as they bring their passion, creativity, and talent to Circle K. We are proud that they have been recognized among the Top Women in Convenience 2022. To them, and all the amazing winners, congratulations!



Vice President Customer Experience, Global Marketing



Head of Real Estate West Real Estate Development


KRISTINA FISHER Restaurant Division Director Restaurant Business Unit


JULIE RODGERS Marketing Director Gulf Coast Business Unit



Senior Manager Change Management, Global Tech


LETTY GEORGE Communications Director Global Communications

If you’re looking to grow within a global company, let’s grow together! Get to know us by visiting workwithus.circlek.com

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Annie Alabaugh Division Vice President

Casey’s General Stores Inc.

• At the Ankeny, Iowa-based retailer, Alabaugh oversees operations for 600 Casey’s convenience stores. The position allows her to do what she loves: serve and lead people. • Her professional journey with Casey’s began in 2000 in her hometown of Clinton, Ind., and from there, she’s played different roles as an operator, including store manager, supervisor, and regional director. She has been in her current role since November 2021. Over her tenure, she’s opened nearly 40 new stores. • Alabaugh has been identified as a Casey’s ambassador to help onboard regional directors and division directors and help them understand Casey’s culture. Recently, she was chosen to be a part of Casey’s first-ever, months-long leadership course provided by its learning and development team.

Trish Bay

Senior Director, Trade Marketing, Phoenix Region Reynolds Marketing Services Co.

• Bay has had the opportunity to work in multiple roles across Reynolds over the last 12 years. As senior director, she is responsible for managing and leading a high-performing trade marketing and activation team of 104 individuals across five states. • Her Phoenix Region team manages the relationships and programs in more than 8,500 convenience-gas and non-traditional retail outlets, delivering $780 million in annual net revenue. Her team works collaboratively to elevate and activate the market in unique ways to deliver the company’s Better Tomorrow Strategy at retail. • Bay graduated from the NACS Executive Leadership Program at Cornell University, the Reynolds Leadership Development Experience, and the BAT Women in Leadership Program. She believes there are three qualities of an effective leader: being passionate, accountable and inspirational.

Gwen Andrews Director — US Convenience, Northeast The Hershey Co.

• As a 24-year Hershey veteran, Andrews has experience across multiple channels/ functions, including five years driving strategy and planning for the convenience channel. In her current role, she leads a team of nine customer sales executives responsible for retailers and distributors throughout the Northeast. • She is involved in many home office work streams that help set up the future around innovation, pack sizes, merchandising, and programs. She has also led several large customer collaboration sessions in Hershey’s Global Customer Insights Center and Mobile Customer Insights Center. • Andrews is the convenience channel lead for new hire training, working cross-functionally to facilitate the training. She is a mentor across the Hershey organization.

Elizabeth Benson

Director of Innovation & Process Improvement Maverik — Adventure’s First Stop

• Benson has worked at Maverik for more than six years, where she leads strategic direction for cross-functional process improvement initiatives. Her leadership has resulted in savings of more than $10 million in excess costs and reduced time spent on activities across Maverik’s operating footprint of nearly 400 stores in 12 western states. • A data-driven professional with an eye for spotting waste and redundancy, Benson is a seasoned professional who has focused on a myriad of process improvement activities for various organizations. She spearheads initiatives under Maverik’s strategic program called MAPS (Maverik Activities and Process Standardization). • Benson chairs a multi-departmental team of directors for Maverik that works to address various “hot topic” current challenges with the company.

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Marla Benson

Capri Brixey

Mars Wrigley

The Coca-Cola Co.

Senior Channel Operations Manager • A nearly four-decade company veteran, Benson joined Mars Wrigley’s convenience business in 2011. She owns the overall operational management of the channel, is responsible for continuous improvement of the Retailer Advisory Board, and drives strategy for the Performance Rewards Program. • Benson is a key cross-functional partner who is involved in many project teams, including sales annual planning and giving input into the forecasting process for supply and various other brand and operational activities. She is referred to as “the glue” of the team. • A passionate mentor for new and current associates, Benson is always looking to help support the growth and development of others. Her biggest advice is to be authentic.

Vice President, Customer Leadership • Brixey has been with The Coca-Cola Co. for three years. As vice president of customer leadership, she leads small-format teams in the central United States. Her responsibilities include leading collaborative and joint business planning processes directly with multiple top 10 convenience retailers in the U.S. • During her career, she has had the opportunity to gain extensive experience in the consumer product goods industry across multiple channels, formats and manufacturers, including time spent as a retailer and vendor/supplier. • Brixey’s passion for food and leadership extends to her work in community service. In North Carolina, she worked with organizations related to food insecurity and the local food ecosystem. Now in Kentucky, she’s involved with the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky.

Sandie Bower Director of Operations 7-Eleven Inc.

• As director of operations for 7-Eleven’s Great MidAtlantic Zone, Bower has a track record of developing future leaders through her passion for creating high-executing teams. Her “it-can-be-done” attitude and willingness to be courageous help ensure that her teams have what they need to execute every day. • In her 13-year career with 7-Eleven, Bower has mentored individuals throughout the organization, and led several work groups to improve processes and tools. Her high-energy, problemsolving approach empowers everyone around her to succeed. • In September 2021, Bower received a servant leadership award from 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto for her work in helping stores and franchisees with supply chain struggles. Outside of 7-Eleven, she is actively involved with NextUp, a nonprofit devoted to advancing women in business.

Brigid Brown Director of Financial Reporting & Services Thorntons LLC

• Brown has held leadership roles in finance and accounting during her 29 years with Thorntons. Currently, she leads the accounting and finance teams, working in partnership with executive leadership, the board of directors, operations, transportation, store support, and information technology. She is the “go-to team member” in finance for special projects. • She serves as treasurer and a member of the board of directors for Champ Cares, a 501(c)(3) team member assistance fund at Thorntons. • According to Brown, good leaders have self-awareness and know their strengths and areas of opportunity for growth in both technical and people skills. Good leaders communicate effectively among all members of the organization and stakeholders, and recognize contributions and achievements in a meaningful and timely way.

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Chelsea Carvalho

Brandi Cushman

Beck Suppliers

C.N. Brown Co.

Senior District Manager • Carvalho is a fourth-generation family business member at Beck Suppliers. She started her career there in 2018 working in different areas of the company’s retail division, FriendShip Stores. As senior district manager, she manages her six-store district plus the team of district managers over all 29 FriendShip Stores locations. • She learned the business from the ground up by working at the store level, leading foodservice initiatives, and then working as a district manager. Now, Carvalho oversees the direction of the FriendShip Stores retail division under the mentorship of the vice president of retail operations. • Carvalho points to humility, setting an example and problem-solving skills as the key attributes of a successful leader.

Gina Clemente Senior Director, Operations Services & Transformation GetGo Café & Market

• Clemente joined the organization in 2005 as a part-time cashier. She quickly rose to the position of district leader, and then regional business leader, before being named senior director of operations in 2020. During that time, she was instrumental in harmonizing GetGo’s acquisition of Ricker Oil Co. In February 2022, Clemente moved into her current role to lead the future strategy and forward growth of GetGo.

Director of Purchasing • Cushman began her career at C.N. Brown in 1994 in retail operations, auditing locations’ daily paperwork. She moved into IT two years later, and was then promoted to tobacco category manager in 2002. She assumed her current role in 2018. • Her responsibilities include leading and managing the purchasing and merchandising departments, determining Big Apple’s brand vision and the supporting strategies to achieve divisional sales and margin objectives, and developing category strategies. • Honored as a Top Women in Convenience Rising Star in 2016, Cushman is a problem solver who thinks outside the box and has an open-door policy for new ideas, concerns and opinions. She is also a strong voice in local and state legislative issues impacting the convenience channel.

Magda Delattre

Senior Manager of Insights & Analytics Sheetz Inc.

• Delattre is responsible for driving data-driven decisions by utilizing data analytics and customer insights to provide recommendations for addressing customer needs and staying ahead of the competition, while maintaining Sheetz’s Total Customer Focus promise.

• She’s spearheaded work to evolve GetGo’s team member value proposition to support retention, drive applicant flow, and increase the talent pipeline. She also supported the creation of a new platform to attract talent, and worked to provide wage increases, enhanced benefits and tailored policies to better fit the needs of team members.

• She leads three teams that cover the analytic and research needs of the marketing and brand departments. Her analysis oversight includes pricing, loyalty, category, promotion, and merchandising. Her insights team completes quantitative and qualitative research studies to understand customer views on their experiences with Sheetz.

• Prior to GetGo, Clemente worked in store management for other convenience retailers. She was also a nuclear, biological and chemical specialist in the United States Army.

• In her five-year tenure at Sheetz, Delattre has led the corporate strategic initiative to bring the company’s customer feedback into a robust Voice of Customer Platform.

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Sherryn Diamond Director of Foodservice High’s

• As she guides the strategy of High’s foodservice offering, Diamond and her team are responsible for all aspects of the High’s Kitchen offering, which features craveable food using local favorites provided by small family-owned suppliers. • Her responsibilities include menu development, foodservice category management, equipment purchasing, standard operating procedure development, marketing and merchandising food and beverage, training, and new store design. • Diamond works with manufacturers, suppliers, advertising and store-level team members to roll out new programs that support High’s journey to become a foodservice destination. Recognized by NACS in its Ideas to Go program, High’s has increased its fresh food and foodservice sales fivefold in just a few years.

Melanie Disney

Director of Human Resources Weigel’s Stores Inc.

• Disney joined Weigel’s in 2018 to run its human resources department and has been instrumental in changing the culture and talent at the retailer. Known as a natural leader in the company, she seeks to consistently challenge thinking, while helping employees grow both personally and professionally. • She has helped fill all projected roles with highperforming individuals who will help drive Weigel’s forward. Disney is also restructuring the company’s employee onboarding, training and recognition programs. • An advocate for people with disabilities, Disney is growing the company’s partnership with nonprofit organizations that provide job coaching for those with disabilities. She was an instrumental player in Weigel’s winning the employer of the year award with Goodwill Industries three years ago.

Kristina Fisher Restaurant Division Director

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

• Fisher brings more than 25 years of experience in the food industry to her role at Couche-Tard. She leads the overall business operations of more than 220 global restaurants, with proprietary brands across eight states, five business units, and a full span of approximately 1,500 team members. • Her primary responsibility is to develop the company’s restaurant strategy for North America. In her role, she also partners with the real estate division to look at the new-to-industry stores and raze-and-rebuilds to determine the best food options for them. • Fisher was recently one of 25 participants selected for the company’s Global Leadership Forum, which is designed to help leaders grow into the next steps of their careers.

Jessica Flaten Director of Marketing ITG Brands

• Flaten’s primary area of focus is driving blu vapor performance by leading the brand strategy and marketing operations within the United States. She is responsible for managing highly collaborative teams within a global matrix, where she has successfully leveraged new structures and processes to streamline communications and efficiencies. • She is one of the few women directors in the business. She reports to the executive vice president of marketing, and has a team of senior brand managers and brand managers/project managers reporting to her. • Flaten has more than 15 years of marketing experience in highly regulated consumer product goods, including alcohol, traditional combustibles, and mass market cigars.

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Sherri Fleming-Ramler Senior Director of Sales & Operations, Midwest Region Murphy USA Inc.

• Fleming’s love of the fast-paced retail industry began when she was 17. She’s taken every opportunity to grow and develop her leadership skills, advancing her career to her current role as senior director of sales and operations for Murphy USA’s Midwest region.

Carey Haubenschild Senior Marketing Manager, Convenience The Boston Beer Co.

• Haubenschild leads overall brand strategy for the convenience channel, specifically on Truly and Twisted Tea. She is responsible for leading the development of shopper marketing programs, shopper media and national partnerships to support the channel.

• Today, she leads the execution of operational best practices and process improvements throughout the retailer’s Midwest region by leveraging relevant key performance indicators to optimize top- and bottom-line results.

• She oversees a large budget on both the Truly and Twisted Tea brand teams and ensures those dollars are working as hard as possible for The Boston Beer Co. Her expertise is utilized nationally as she is the “go-to for all things convenience strategy” at the company.

• Through Fleming’s leadership in implementing Murphy USA’s LEAD program, 16 store managers have been promoted to district managers since the program’s inception in 2019. She also implemented the company’s Exit Interview Program, designed to provide field personnel with input on how to better serve field employees to improve retention.

• Haubenschild’s love affair with c-stores began soon after college when she worked at a beer/ non-alcohol beverage wholesaler in a range of sales leadership positions. Working on the manufacturer side for 15 years offered her the ability to learn and grow alongside some of the best individuals in the industry.

Sri Gouri

Angelica Krott

PepsiCo Inc.


Director of Commercial Sales Insights • Gouri joined PepsiCo in 2018, bringing 15 years of experience in retail and consumer packaged goods and an MBA from Rice University. She was promoted to director of category leadership in October 2019. This March, she was promoted again to director of commercial sales insights, supporting PepsiCo’s total portfolio at Sam’s Club. • As director of category leadership, she was tasked with leading PepsiCo’s strategy across total portfolio at 7-Eleven Inc., and the Frito-Lay business at Circle K. In addition, she was responsible for leading a team of five category management professionals. • In 2021, Gouri earned the Leadership Award from PepsiCo’s Demand Accelerator Category Leadership Team. In 2020, she and her team were recognized with the MVP Award from the PepsiCo Beverages North America team during the national sales meeting.

Vice President of Technology

• Krott is responsible for managing all things digital at StrasGlobal. This includes networking, hosting, hardware and websites/ SaaS applications management, including its award-winning Compliance Safe product. She also implemented an online ordering and delivery program for the company’s stores within three months, and devised and created StrasNet, an online platform to communicate with stores and track their performance. • She is responsible for training and supporting all StrasGlobal employees on the use of software and hardware. She has conducted “lunch and learn” sessions to train and ramp up team skills, helping the company improve its efficiency and productivity. • Krott’s knowledge and experience allowed StrasGlobal to implement a robust digital COVID-19 pandemic response. She quickly rolled

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out a mass communications system for stores and developed a PowerBI feedback funnel to monitor employee morale and the impact of COVID-19 by county.

Ali Marciano

• Merrigan serves on many teams at Maverik to improve operations, including serving as chair of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) team. She spearheaded a strategic initiative to revamp cash control policies, contributing to significant cash control and reporting improvements. The SOP team also focused on redesigning processes to exceed expectations in foodservice safety and store cleanliness.

Senior Vice President, Human Resources Core-Mark International

• Marciano is responsible for workforce planning, recruitment and talent management, performance management, company culture/engagement, and vertical and horizontal integration of Core-Mark and Eby-Brown into Performance Food Group’s convenience segment. She has delivered significant cost-savings initiatives — the company is on track to save nearly $1 million by the end of 2023 in human resources spend alone. • In 2021, she spearheaded diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across the United States and Canada surrounding milestone history and heritage month events. She also secured funding to roll out unconscious bias manager training to more than 400 leaders. • Prior to joining Core-Mark in 2020 as the human resources director for the company’s East Region, Marciano was the head of people operations, people business partner, and the mergers and acquisitions people deal lead at Ericsson.

Kendra Meyer

Vice President, Real Estate Casey’s General Stores Inc.

• Meyer joined Casey’s in 2017 and leads all of the retailer’s real estate management functions. She has five direct reports and seven indirect reports. • As vice president of real estate, Meyer plans, directs and executes on Casey’s strategic growth plan, including site identification, evaluation and negotiation of real estate for the expansion of new store locations. Her team also manages the divestiture of operational and closed stores, along with all leasing aspects across the company’s 16-state footprint. • At 34 years old, Meyer is one of the youngest vice presidents at Casey’s and has been promoted twice since joining the organization. In 2021, she received a Future Leader in Convenience award from Convenience Store News, and attended the NACS Executive Leadership Program at Cornell University.

Sheila Merrigan

Senior Director of Regional Operations, Alpine Region Maverik — Adventure’s First Stop

• Merrigan has more than 30 years of experience in the convenience store industry. She joined Maverik in 2016 and is responsible for 85 locations and eight districts. • Her role encompasses leading and serving in-store team members; coaching, career and leadership development; providing unforgettable service to the retailer’s customers; collaborating with Maverik’s Base Camp corporate headquarters; finding innovative solutions to deliver better customer service and job efficiency; and keeping Maverik’s culture front and center in the operations teams.

Jamie Miller Executive Director of Marketing RaceTrac Inc.

• Miller joined RaceTrac in 2020 and is responsible for all marketing strategy and implementation, including brand, promotions, creative, internal and external communications, partnerships and vendor marketing, insights and analytics, and marketing technology such as its app and the RaceTrac Rewards loyalty program. • Over the past year, she has led and overseen the creation of RaceTrac’s first-ever Marketing

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Analytics and Insights Team and bolstered the department’s MarTech and Digital teams, culminated by a prioritized multiyear frictionless and loyalty roadmap rooted in guest and market insights.

ment, vendor relationships, creating planograms, maximizing category margins, building Dash In’s proprietary foodservice programs, and managing the pricebook team.

• In addition to her marketing efforts, Miller serves as an advocate for RaceTrac’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, participating in event panels and volunteering to help coordinate events. She also serves as the chair of LEAD, RaceTrac’s business resource group dedicated to the advancement of women in business.

• According to her nominator, every level of the organization looks to Nova for counsel, direction and advice based on her experience and expertise, and the company itself seeks her thoughts and advice on community service activities and campaigns to improve lives in the communities it serves.

Kristine Modugno Director of Category Management

• Nova has implemented changes and made hires that helped produce results upwards of 15 percent growth in four consecutive years. Her nominator credits her as contributing to a “meteoric rise” in sales since she joined the company.

Nouria Energy

• Modugno leads Nouria’s merchandising division, inclusive of category management, store merchandising, foodservice, and pricebook programs and teams. She is responsible for all financial metrics, including profitability, budgeting, planning, execution, profit and loss initiatives, as well as ensuring all sales and budget targets are met each period. • As Nouria’s private brand champion, Modugno utilizes her years of experience to grow My Nouria, Café Nouria and Nouria’s Kitchen into thriving brands that offer great quality products at an exceptional value. Most recently, she led the expansion of My Nouria into freshly packaged baked goods. • She is an accomplished, innovative and passionate executive with more than 25 years of experience in retail. Prior to joining Nouria, she led BJ’s Wholesale Club’s private brands, taking them from development to billion-dollar brands.

Barbara Nova

Senior Director — Food, Beverage & Retail Programs Dash In Food Stores

• Nova leads the category management team for all store categories, emphasizing foodservice innovation and growth. She is responsible for supply chain procure-

Jackie Palmer

Division President, McLane Mid-Atlantic McLane Co. Inc.

• Palmer leads a distribution center of 670 warehouse and transportation and senior leaders, while implementing and following company and division strategic initiatives. She establishes and oversees capital expenditures and investments, evaluates division programs, captures statistical trends, forecasts sales/units, and enforces productivity improvements. • During her career with McLane, Palmer has supported and led teams in five divisions to success. Achievements included the highest customer satisfaction rating in order quality and on-time delivery; top sales; the highest-rated food safety audit; and the highest division retention and expense management/budget attainment. • Palmer views her role as ensuring that she and her team provide McLane customers with excellent service, and she credits her team for inspiring her to be the best leader she can be. Outside of McLane, she serves as the board of directors’ vice chair for Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, where she volunteers her time to those in need.

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Suzy Peel

Head of Real Estate, Western U.S. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

• As the first-ever female leader to head up real estate development at CoucheTard, Peel shattered glass ceilings and became a role model to women across the organization. Her nominator says that when she isn’t building stores, she is building relationships and serving as a strong advocate for her team. • Peel spends most of her days in the field where she evaluates sites for possible new builds, while mentoring, advising and advocating for her teams. Known for being sharp, smart and driven, she takes a systematic approach to decision-making and effectively communicates with cross-functional teams, including the executive investment committee. • She aligns teams to strategically focus efforts on high-growth markets to allow for stores’ longterm success and to achieve Couche-Tard’s Double Again strategy, which seeks to double net earnings by 2023.

Rachel Pickett

Assistant General Counsel Murphy USA Inc.

• Pickett advises all departments within Murphy USA and has successfully contributed to several high-impact initiatives, including the company’s acquisition and integration of QuickChek Corp.; further development of its environmental, social and governance program; and management of its COVID19 compliance. • She also has oversight of Murphy USA’s contracts management program and serves as a key advisor to its sales and operations and human resources functions. According to her nominator, Pickett is viewed not only as an attorney, but also a valued thought partner who approaches issues with an open mind and is adept at finding workable solutions for internal clients in difficult situations. • Outside of work, Pickett serves on the board of directors for HOPE Landing, an organization that provides therapeutic and support services to children with disabilities.

Kimberly Ross

West Area Vice President ITG Brands

• Ross leads a field sales team of more than 300 people and is highly motivated in driving top-tier sales and volume growth. She is responsible for driving best-in-class retail execution, building strategic customer partnerships, and delivering key insights and solutions to maximize sales for ITG Brands. • She supported the largest sales transformation in ITG Brands history, which involved reframing its position with customers, expanding its sales force, and improving the diversity of the organization. She is leading the recruitment effort to expand the sales force by more than 200 employees, and is heading up the new coaching and development process of more than 900 sales reps in the field. • Known as a champion for a diverse and inclusive culture, Ross is the executive sponsor for the women’s business employee resource group. She considers it important that the company’s high-performing and diverse talent always reflects the consumer base.

Vareesha Shariff Product Director, Fresh Foods 7-Eleven Inc.

• Shariff coordinates a cross-functional team of merchandising, marketing, operations, procurement, and logistics professionals who continuously develop and launch transformational fresh food programs for 7-Eleven’s stores. • During her 13 years with 7-Eleven, she has continually been promoted to positions of increasing responsibility based on her expert team leadership, analytical and change management skills, and ability to deliver outstanding business results. She has received the Excellent Execution for Business Transformation honor three times. • According to her nominator, Shariff’s sphere of influence includes her ability to positively influence people and culture. As an inspired leader who truly cares for her team, she’s built a culture of mentorship, growth and development that has

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Congratulations to McLane’s own Jackie Palmer and Katie Bondy on being recognized by Top Women in Convenience 2022. Their determined work ethic, dedication to customers, and unwavering commitment to the industry make us proud. We are honored to celebrate this recognition with them.

© 2022 McLane Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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resulted in numerous team members moving into higher leadership roles as a direct result of the support and guidance she provides.

Misty Skipper

Vice President of Merchandising, Marketing & External Affairs

tainships and impressive growth in the nutrition performance market. • Terminiello is a member of Glanbia’s Network of Women and serves as a mentor within the organization. She’s earned awards for her support of company values, and recognition as the top female mentor and performance coach for colleagues at all levels.

GATE Petroleum Co.

• Skipper oversees retail category management, pricing and inventory management, public relations, marketing and communications, government affairs, and the company’s internal distribution center. Her decisions directly impact the profitability of GATE Petroleum’s 72 convenience stores. • Under her leadership, the company’s merchandising team is responsible for 80 percent of all store merchandise sales. She also oversees the GATE Cross Dock team, which services 50 stores in the greater Jacksonville area. In 2021, Skipper led efforts to launch the retailer’s first-ever loyalty program, My GATE Rewards. • According to her direct reports, Skipper makes every team member feel respected and valued, empowers them to make informed decisions while offering support when course correction is needed, and fosters camaraderie and collaboration.

Jean Terminiello Senior Director, Americas — Convenience & Away From Home Glanbia Performance Nutrition

• A CPG veteran with more than 20 years of senior leadership experience, Terminiello worked with her team to pioneer the expansion of Optimum Nutrition Amin.O Energy Sparkling and think! high-protein snacks across c-stores nationwide. • Known for being an entrepreneur at heart who has brought Glanbia brands to market through best-inindustry retail programming and customer relationships, she oversaw the creation of the GPN First Center of Excellence. She also built a world-class immediate consumption distribution network and a national account team dedicated to joint business planning with retailers, resulting in category cap-

Michele Truelove Vice President of Operations High’s

• Truelove started at High’s as a store manager in 2008 and has since risen through the ranks with a heavy focus on store operations and efficiencies. In her current role, she implemented and rolled out High’s mystery shop program and its use of the Zenput platform. • According to her nominator, Truelove has embraced High’s people-first culture, with an emphasis on future-focused store designs. She spearheaded the company’s strategic direction to improve employee engagement, took part in succession planning and career path development for associates and managers, and led efforts to communicate, pivot and maintain business at all locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. • Truelove is driven as a mentor for both corporate and site-level employees and consistently focuses on making day-to-day operations the best they can be for her team. She’s been recognized by High’s for her teamwork and contributions to company objectives.

Paula Weeks

Director of Industry Affairs The Coca-Cola Co.

• Weeks develops and advances executive-level relationships with customers, industry associations and external business partners; brings CocaCola’s value proposition to life; and leverages and maximizes partnerships, education and advocacy opportunities.

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• According to her nominator, Weeks’ impactful work has allowed for opportunities that extend her influence globally, and she has consulted on multiple industry events that benefit from her extensive knowledge of the convenience channel. Additionally, her diverse career, which includes roles with Delta Air Lines, Reebok and Nestle, offers her a unique scope that enables her to excel at communications and marketing. • Outside of her work at Coca-Cola, she serves on the National Restaurant Association Show board of directors, and is a board member of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and the Governor’s Honors Program Steering Committee, among other roles.

Jessica Wright Senior Director, Experiential Marketing

Reynolds American Inc.

• Wright works with a team of internal and external partners to develop and execute oneto-one consumer experiential marketing initiatives in service of building brand preference, loyalty and affinity across Reynolds’ product portfolio. Her responsibilities include overseeing a significant national budget and ensuring that all IPA programming is on-strategy, on-brand, on-budget, and advances both consumer and business metrics. • Under her leadership, the experiential team and their partners are projected to engage with more than 1.2 million adult nicotine consumers in 2022, with almost all engagements linked directly to a unit sold. As the face of Reynolds’ product portfolio, Wright’s team of brand ambassadors are helping to drive positive business outcomes for both the company and its c-store partners. • Wright is a past recipient of the Reynolds American Leadership Team Award for her contributions to driving record Newport volume and value share gains that led to one of the strongest performance years in Newport’s history. She serves as both an official and unofficial mentor to other brand markets within Reynolds.


Katerina Bakunina

Senior Manager, Strategic Accounts PDI

• Bakunina manages the team supporting the Fuel Rewards program and its configuration in the PDI loyalty host and app for 12,500 Shell sites across the United States. She also supports the 360 Convenience program at 1,800-plus sites, and other in-store offers at 1,900 locations. • Her Shell corporate team has referred to Bakunina as the glue that holds it together. She is known for her positive energy, attention to detail, hunger for knowledge, and belief that a commitment to continuous learning is the key to solving future problems. • Dedicated to both customer care and process improvement, Bakunina has been promoted three times in five years since joining PDI. She’s led the charge to automate several processes, and has been recognized for proactively putting processes and scorecards in place to quickly resolve operational issues.

Michelle Barnett

Retail Zone Leader Kwik Trip Inc.

• A 24-year Kwik Trip veteran, Barnett is responsible for the successful operation and financial performance of 125 stores, with more than 5,000 direct reports. This fall, she will add two stores in Michigan, spearheading Kwik Trip’s entry into the state. • Barnett oversees the hiring, training and professional development of district leaders, store leaders and assistant store leaders, and serves on the shelf tag and price change committees for the entire company. She is also actively involved in companywide improvements to Kwik Trip’s performance appraisal system.

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Congratulations Michelle! Michelle Barnett

Inducted into the Top Women in Convenience Class of 2022

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• Barnett is a multiple-time winner of the annual Kwik Chase competition, which is based on store and district performance in sales and guest service. She also has a proven track record of developing leaders within the company.

Megan Binkley Store Manager Rutter’s

• Since joining Rutter’s 11 years ago, Binkley has steadily assumed more responsibility and excelled at every position she has attained. She is known as an excellent role model for store employees, as she continues to meet everyday challenges head-on. • In her current role, she effectively manages the operation of a high-volume Rutter’s convenience store by planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and leading others to maximize profitability and achieve company goals. • Binkley is a member of Rutter’s Advisory Board. She has received numerous internal company awards, including Rutter’s Team Member of the Year in 2016, and finalist for Store Manager of the Year in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Katie Bondy

• Bondy is well-known as a mentor and team leader who works hard to develop other managers and encourages employees and teammates to engage in training opportunities and seek out paths for personal growth.

Stephanie Bruns

Senior Commercial Marketing Manager Heineken USA

• Bruns develops all national marketing programs for the convenience channel, including full digital strategy development, customer specific activations, e-commerce, customer app activity, and creation of Heineken’s full suite of point-of-sale materials. • Her accomplishments include using digital gamification on retailer technology and customerfocused efforts, in turn driving increased foot traffic and total sales, as well as growing total business and basket size for the company’s retail partners. • Bruns is known as a passionate marketer who thrives on exceeding customer expectations and driving best-in-class results. According to her nominator, she is not only the most respected trade/commercial marketing manager at Heineken USA, but also a go-to person within the industry for ideas and promotional creation.

Senior National Account Manager McLane Co. Inc.

• Bondy is responsible for managing all aspects of product distribution through McLane for Circle K Great Lakes. One of her most recent projects involved rolling out and monitoring the progress of the foodservice program for Circle K stores, which required her to offset supply chain challenges and find creative solutions for product outages. • During her time with McLane, she has spearheaded numerous special projects and implemented processes that have streamlined information flow and product execution for the entire Circle K team. She’s also conducted research and begun the process of developing a comprehensive sales training program.

Julie Burke District Manager

Casey’s General Stores Inc.

• Burke oversees the care, performance and profitability of 11 Casey’s stores and assists in executing strategic initiatives, driving sales, and maintaining quality and service standards. • She has been influencing the success of the Region Model Market since 2020 and currently places within the top 20 percent of Casey’s Performance Matrix. She regularly takes on additional responsibilities within the region, and is seen as a valuable resource for her people and a leader among her peers.

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Stephanie Simon | Top Women in Convenience Mentor for 2022 Business Development Manager, Swedish Match Stephanie's mentorship and tireless advocacy help lift those around her to even greater heights.

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©2022 Swedish Match North America LLC

“I love being able to connect and empower our women.”

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• In addition to her role at Casey’s, Burke is a student at Iowa Central Community College, where she is pursuing a degree in business management. She also has a passion for helping those struggling with addiction and spends much of her free time traveling to provide support to those in need.

Mckenzie Coleman

Senior Manager of Retail Solutions & E-commerce RaceTrac Inc.

from her peers and all who work for her. • As division manager, Esquer took a difficult area and turned it into a model division that now serves as the company benchmark. Alta Convenience considers her to be a top performer in all aspects of her position.

Elaine Jacobs Senior Store Leader

GetGo Café & Market

• As a leader in the merchandising department, Coleman is responsible for ensuring that retail technology and data are meeting the needs of the business, while also leading the e-commerce sales strategy to drive incremental revenue for RaceTrac.

• Jacobs leads all aspects of store operations and people leadership at her store, which has annual inside sales of $4.6 million, including $1.2 million of fresh food sales. She serves as the master trainer for her region, impacting many leaders as they onboard to new roles.

• According to her nominator, she is always willing to dive into a business problem headfirst and figure out a solution from the ground up. Her passion to find the best possible solutions pushes everyone in the department to collaborate to make it happen.

• In addition to her usual responsibilities, she is often called upon to pilot and test new initiatives at her store. She is a multiyear winner of the company’s internal Pilot Award due to her willingness to take part in these programs.

• During her time with RaceTrac, Coleman has worked her way up through the ranks, first as an individual contributor and now as a trusted leader of others. She is actively involved in RaceTrac’s business resource group, LEAD, which supports women with self-development, so they can confidently trust in their own abilities, capacities and judgments.

• Jacobs has a passion for developing her own team members and others, often going out of her way to help them tackle and solve tough business problems. She serves on the company’s Store Leadership Council.

Erin Kohne Maria Esquer Division Manager Alta Convenience

• Esquer supervises multiple territories and stores in southern Colorado. Over her 15 years with Alta Convenience, she has worked across many different aspects of the company, contributing to her depth of experience and knowledge of the industry. • She is a multiple-time winner of Manager of the Month and Manager of the Quarter awards, and has mentored store managers who later received the same awards. According to her nominator, she has a firm but fair management style that results in respect

Director, Global Military Sales Anheuser-Busch

• Kohne provides sales direction, program execution and overall account management, while leading a team that spans the country and the globe. She is responsible for total account sales, budget, and international logistics. • According to her nominator, Kohne’s work has brought significant improvements to the vendormanaged inventory process, positively impacting the company’s overall military business and delivering channel growth despite pandemic and logistics challenges.

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Congratulations to our

Top Women in Convenience Honorees

Gina Clemente GetGo Operations, Services and Transformation Senior Director

Elaine Jacobs Senior Store Leader

Vanessa Turner Executive Team Leader

Kelsey Leighton GetGo Operations, Services and Transformation Specialist

Lisa Klamer Executive Store Leader

We’re honored to work with you and to celebrate this incredible, well-deserved recognition. Your GetGo Café + Market Family

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• She is dedicated to driving growth for AnheuserBusch’s military retail partners, while delivering excitement, value and a taste of home to U.S. troops stationed overseas and here in the United States. Kohne is a multiple-time recipient of the selective and challenging AB Hi5 and Revolution awards.

Toral Kothari

Senior Director of Sales, PBNA PepsiCo Inc.

• As the leader of retail sales in the Metro Atlantic region, Kothari manages $1.5 billion in revenue across six high-growth states. She plays a major role in creating the division’s long-term strategy in order to achieve the company’s overall growth objectives. • Kothari is known for having a great command on business and a focus on spending considerable time keeping up on industry trends to help support her many customer wins. • She recently won the Harvey C. Russell Award, PepsiCo’s most prestigious award, for her work on Stop Asian Hate. She also supports numerous female empowerment groups such as NextUp, has co-chaired PepsiCo’s Women of Color employee resource group (ERG), and currently co-chairs the PepsiCo Asian Network ERG.

• According to her nominator, she is a highly effective leader who recognizes the strengths of her team members, listens to their input, supports their endeavors, and is able to merge good advice from others with her own experience to create the best solutions.

Kelsey Leighton Central Operations Specialist

GetGo Café & Market

• Leighton has direct influence over all 270-plus GetGo locations and has guided stores through the ins and outs of every aspect of the company’s fresh business, from new equipment rollouts to fresh inventory management. • She also manages the company’s leadership training content. This includes creating team member methods for other departments within GetGo headquarters and overseeing every step from the time of hire to graduation from training. • Since joining GetGo in 2010 as a part-time team member, Leighton has been continually promoted. She is heavily involved in GE Proud, the company’s LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group, as well as its Women’s Business Resource Group.

Sarah Kovac

Jennifer Lestochi

Maverik — Adventure’s First Stop

Sheetz Inc.

Director of Architecture & Engineering

• Kovac oversees store and site design for Maverik’s nearly 400 locations across 12 states. She is also responsible for the internal architecture, engineering and entitlements teams, focused on providing schematic designs, construction documentation, construction administration, and entitling new store sites in support of the company’s aggressive growth strategy. • In 2021, Kovac’s team spearheaded a comprehensive design across 27 new-build stores, one rebuild and 34 remodels, an achievement that was made possible by her strategic and seamless collaboration with cross-functional teams across Maverik.

Prepared Foods Category Leader

• Lestochi oversees the ready-to-eat hot and cold food and bakery segments for Sheetz. She contributes to long-term strategic work elevating the multimillion-dollar, revenue-driving segments while running day-to-day tasks that include product selection and placement, pricing, promotional work, and internal product development through the Sheetz commissary. • According to her nominator, Lestochi’s influence is vast across the organization. She is known as a subject matter expert who is always the first person contacted when there is a question or concern regarding prepared foods or bakery.

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• With a background in food science and flavor application, Lestochi has used her knowledge, expertise, drive and commitment to make major contributions to Sheetz’s food and beverage programs. She has received multiple company awards.

• Martindale has received multiple accolades for her work at PBNA, including sales leadership awards. As a PepsiCo NextUp lead, she is a champion of developing female leaders within PepsiCo. Through the sales associate onboarding/recruiting program, she actively recruits at Texas A&M, seeking new strong female talent.

Kim Lippert

Director, Acquisition Integration Casey’s General Stores Inc.

• Lippert leads all aspects of acquisition integration for Casey’s, overseeing the integration of more than 200 stores over the past year. During acquisitions, she coordinates business functions such as store operations, merchandising, marketing, finance, IT, and more. • Since joining Casey’s in 1993 as a doughnut maker, Lippert has held multiple leadership roles and served at every level of operations as she’s steadily advanced into higher positions. In her current role, she recently oversaw a $580 million, 95-store acquisition. • According to her nominator, Lippert brings deep experience in operations, strong interpersonal skills and servant leadership to her role, and has proven herself to be the ideal leader in the acquisitions process.

Sara Martindale

Erin Matosziuk Director of Talent Development Sheetz Inc.

• Reporting to the vice president of human resources, Matosziuk is accountable for a team of more than 50 professionals that oversee three significant talent areas for Sheetz: workforce training, leadership development and talent management. • She has been instrumental in several significant strategic initiatives to improve the training, development and performance of Sheetz’s workforce, including the companywide implementation of STRIVE, a performance management process. Prior to joining Sheetz in 2011, she served as an HR specialist and held various management roles in the hospitality industry. • Matosziuk is co-leader of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (I.D.E.A.) initiative, which is part of Sheetz’s corporate strategy. She also helped launch the company’s first-ever Women’s Leadership Program, which will see its third cohort this year.

Sales Director, PBNA PepsiCo Inc.

• Martindale joined PepsiCo 12 years ago and today is the 7-Eleven director of sales for Gatorade, energy drinks, juice, water, and protein drinks. She oversees space management, promotions and financial planning for leading brands such as Gatorade, Rockstar Energy, Tropicana, Aquafina, LifeWtr, and Muscle Milk. • Previously, Martindale served on the Tropicana Juice team at the time of the business’ transition from a distributor to a DSD. She leveraged new chilled delivery technology to convert more than 70 percent of the 7-Eleven business.

Melody McCarthy

Marketing Manager Enmarket

• McCarthy joined the Enmarket team in 2017 as social media and content coordinator before being promoted to her current position in 2019. Over her tenure, she has helped design, launch and market the retailer’s Enjoy Rewards loyalty program, the Enmarket mobile app, and enPay, its proprietary payment card.


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• In February, McCarthy led a successful “Win Back” campaign in which she created targeted promotions driven by Paytronix artificial intelligence (AI) to win back lapsed customers with personalized, one-to-one offers through the Enjoy Rewards program. Going forward, she plans to expand the use of Paytronix AI to increase customers’ basket sizes and encourage new purchases they wouldn’t otherwise make. • McCarthy serves on a steering committee at Enmarket to help vet and mold new ideas and corporate initiatives. She is also the lead for all corporate events.

Caylin McCombs

pany. She spent the last four years in various HQ roles, including leading the company’s underage access prevention efforts at retail. McGuire currently serves as a senior account manager calling on Wawa Inc., where she influences and develops solutions for the retailer’s tobacco category. • She played a critical role in leading the launch of Altria’s Age Validation Technology initiative, which included establishing the company’s sponsorship of TruAge, a digital solution from NACS that enhances current age-verification systems and protects user privacy. • McGuire is a board member of the University of Florida-Philadelphia Area Chapter Alumni, where she chairs an annual golf tournament to raise money for scholarships.

National Accounts Director ITG Brands

• McCombs leads three national account managers, driving sales performance and strategic initiatives for national account customers, and is directly responsible for ITG Brands’ largest national chain customer. Over the past two years, she earned category captaincy, drove more than 41,000 new points of distribution for ITG Brands, and created sustainable volume growth across category segments. • She also worked cross-functionally to implement the FMC Assortment Optimization Project and MMC Strategic Promotion Design, both new test-andlearn programs that were lifted and shifted to other national account customers. • McCombs is a strong believer in speaking up to drive change, mentorship programs to cultivate internal talent, and leading by example. She is a steering committee member for the company’s Women’s Business Employee Resource Group, and participates in talent recruitment.

Alexandra McGuire

Senior Account Manager

Erica Murray

Director of Operations Programs, Technology & Planning Thorntons LLC

• Murray joined Thorntons seven years ago, starting as a store general manager. Today, she leads a team of six and oversees the development of store operations processes, initiatives, strategic goals, objectives and technology enhancements to drive operational efficiency. She also influences and supports strategic objectives of the Operational Engineering and Training Teams, along with managing the Operations Project Management Team. • In 2021, Murray was instrumental in Thorntons’ transition to a new enterprise resource planning system and served on The Twenty, a cross-functional task force responsible for taking employee feedback and making recommendations to the board of directors and executive staff on creating good jobs across the organization. • She is co-chair of Thorntons’ DEI&I Committee and has a passion for paving the way for future women leaders to thrive, as well as driving equity and inclusion.

Altria Group Distribution Co.

• McGuire began her career with Altria 10 years ago and has held several field sales force positions within the com-

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Ann Myint

Karylann Oxley

ExtraMile Convenience Stores

Chevron USA Inc.

Category Specialist • Myint has extensive experience in the retail industry, ranging from in-store positions at drugstores to corporate merchandising in convenience. She joined Chevron prior to the ExtraMile joint venture, serving in a variety of roles supporting all categories in the store, with a focus on tobacco. • In her current position, she supports the tobacco and supply chain category manager in ongoing business-building tasks across 1,000-plus ExtraMile stores in more than seven states. These tasks include the intricacies of tobacco pricing, buydowns, promotions, loyalty deals, and more. • Myint is the go-to individual on her team for troubleshooting, advice, training and support across her peer group. According to ExtraMile President Paul Casadont, “Ann’s attention to detail, passion for merchandising, positive attitude and ability to deliver results provide a tremendous benefit to ExtraMile.”

COCO Business Consultant • Oxley is responsible for more than 180 employees across company-owned, company-operated (COCO) Chevron stations. She serves as a mentor to her retail employees, actively working with them to achieve success in their current roles and advance into other career opportunities. • She was responsible for congruently launching the MyADP human resources information system and TalentReef recruiting platform for Chevron’s retail employee network. Her project management leadership was recognized with the Measurable Value Award for her work on these projects, which drove IT solutions, streamlined processes, and saved manual labor across COCO. • In the community, Oxley supported the SOMA District in San Francisco by working closely with nonprofit groups in the city’s Department of Public Works and police departments to ensure safeguards were in place at the highest CAP index station in COCO.

Kellye Ogle

Director, Procurement Murphy USA Inc.

• Ogle began her career at Murphy USA in 2013 as senior buyer and quickly transitioned into various management roles leading up to her recent promotion to director. Her 20 years of procurement experience consists not only of her time with the convenience retailer, but also with state agencies and government contractors. • Working cross-functionally with other departments, Ogle oversees vendor management, supply chain risk management, data analysis, contract negotiations, and business relationships with internal and external customers. • Through her leadership, influence and conscientious stewardship, she and her team of eight achieved 12.4 percent cost savings in 2021. She is also lauded for driving a successful integration with QuickChek, refining processes and creating synergistic savings.

Dea Pennington Senior Manager, External Communications 7-Eleven Inc.

• Pennington oversees public relations, reputational crisis management, and executive visibility/ thought leadership for 7-Eleven, Speedway, Stripes, Laredo Taco Co., and Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits. • In July 2021, she was promoted to her current position, assuming full responsibility of external communications, while also stepping in to manage video production. One of her accomplishments last year was planning and executing 7-Eleven’s first-ever Tentpole Event Activation. Known as Gamer’s Paradise, the program won a 2022 PRovoke Media SABRE North America Award for best experiential publicity stunt. • Pennington has also supported the company’s digital transformation, including major initiatives such as mobile checkout expansion, alcohol and AUGUS T

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autonomous delivery partnerships, and cashierless store innovation. Additionally, she’s supported 7-Eleven’s unprecedented store growth, including the addition of Evolution Stores, Laredo Taco Co. and Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits restaurants, and several acquisitions.

Kelly Rand

Director, IT Strategy & Change Management Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

• A seasoned change management professional with 15 years of experience, Rand joined Couche-Tard in 2020 and is responsible for the effective adoption of technology across the retailer’s global network of 15,000 sites and 125,000 employees. • She is an integral member of the team that helps ensure that customer tech programs, such as loyalty and self-checkout, and employee tech programs, such as task management and time scheduling, are set up for success through clear roles, proactive communication, field change readiness, and training. • Prior to joining Couche-Tard, Rand spent 10 years at McDonald’s Corp. in various change leadership roles, influencing major programs such as the company’s first mobile app, digital menuboards, back-office upgrades, and restaurant improvements.

Ashley Ray

• Ray has been identified as an internal Maverik mentor, and is co-chair of Limitless, Maverik’s employee resource group that focuses on diversity, inclusion and leadership development efforts. She is a multiple winner of the retailer’s coveted Defender of the Legend award, where recipients are nominated and selected by operations leaders.

Jenny Rinehart

Director of Digital Marketing & Personalization Casey’s General Stores Inc.

• Rinehart has been with Casey’s for more than a decade, starting her career in advertising. She joined the Digital Experience Team at the start of Casey’s digital transformation in 2018. As director of digital marketing and personalization, she is now a member of the Digital Leadership Team. • She led Casey’s personalization expansion strategy, implementing a customer data platform (CDP) and made progress in mass personalization as the retailer shifted from curation toward segmentation and individualization. In the past year, Rinehart led the launch of Casey’s Salesforce CDP, helped grow Casey’s Rewards to more than 5 million members, and drove data unification and design across teams and products. • Rinehart recently completed Casey’s Leader Excellence Program, an internal program designed to support mid-level high-potential talent, and completed the Northwestern Kellogg NACS Marketing Leadership Program in 2020.

Senior Director, People Support

Maverik — Adventure’s First Stop

• Ray’s level of responsibility has grown at a rapid pace during her 16-plus years with Maverik. She started as a benefits coordinator in a two-person department and has been instrumental in shaping the direction of human resources initiatives as the function has grown to more than 36 team members. • In her current position, Ray leads the HR Operations Team along with the HR business partners, who provide support to Maverik’s nearly 7,200 team members across 385-plus stores operating in 12 western states.

Julie Rodgers

Marketing Director, Gulf Coast Business Unit Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

• Rodgers started her career as an operator supporting the Gulf Coast Business Unit, where she was awarded Market Manager of the Year four times and Regional Director of the Year twice. She was in the first cohort of participants selected for Emerging Leaders, the company’s 18-month leadership development program.

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• Her tenure with Circle K has been marked by channel-leading results across the company’s key operational metrics. She plays a critical role in various high-level projects, while developing strategic marketing promotions and overseeing 19 team members. She was recently recognized as the Regional Director of Operations of the Year.

she oversees more than 20 c-store locations in Nebraska and western Iowa, and is responsible for the enhancement and growth of these stores. This includes, but is not limited to, fuel and inside sales, educating and training staff on products, ordering merchandise, reporting profit and loss, and store operations management.

• “Julie truly is an inspiration to many, including countless women in the Circle K organization who admire her and value her leadership. She is genuinely effective in what she does — it’s the combination of being operationally focused and always having the stores in mind, along with the exceptional people skills,” her nominator noted.

• To stay competitive, Seefus analyzes the market and ensures products and company initiatives are consistent throughout all stores. Although this is her first year in the role, she has elevated her stores to achieve a 38-percent increase in sales.

Megan Sandlin

• Outside of work, she is involved in her local community, most notably working with local schools to provide food and supplies to underprivileged children. She began a program within her stores to collect winter weather gear for schools.

Senior Manager, Customer Planning & Development Tyson Foods

• Sandlin is responsible for partnering with both Tyson sales and operators as an advocate to link operator strategies and business opportunities that drive mutual growth through customer and channel insights, marketing strategies/activations, menu analysis, and product solutions. She was Tyson’s Customer Promise Award winner in 2020. • With experience as both a retailer and manufacturer, Sandlin brings innovative products to the forefront and helps set industry trends through a thoughtful and creative approach. In addition to providing support to Tyson’s national sales team, she attends and helps drive customer engagement in partnership with the sales team. • Over the last year, in conjunction with the sales side, Sandlin gained new category growth within some key convenience operators to add incremental volume of 3 million-plus pounds of Tyson Foods product.

Julie Seefus

Gina Sorensen IT Service Desk Manager Yesway

• Sorensen leverages 18 years of IT experience to implement continuous improvement programs, and is quick to offer assistance to other areas of IT. She developed the Yesway service desk organization, which manages the technical support of more than 400 stores 24 hours a day, seven days a week. • Other key initiatives that she has led include the implementation of Service Now, which captures and analyzes core issues and identifies patterns across stores; and the rollout of a new on-call program that enables quicker responses to critical situations. She will begin budgetary responsibilities for her area in early 2023. • Sorensen is passionate about her staff and ensuring they have a voice in the direction of future business support. One of her staff members is learning to become a junior systems administrator, while another is actively training to be a field technician.

Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh Supervisor Hy-Vee Inc.

• A 25-year Hy-Vee veteran, Seefus has held several management positions across the company. In her current role, AUGUS T

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April Stanford

Director of Convenience Sales General Mills

• A 26-year veteran of General Mills, Stanford has held numerous positions and led teams across multiple cross-functional parts of the organization, including sales, marketing, trade, category management, and sales operations. • As director of convenience sales, she leads a team with responsibility for end-to-end business management, including profit and loss, sales strategies, and long-range planning. She oversees and leads the more than $200-million business across convenience distributors and more than $80-million business across convenience retailers. • Stanford is a member of the Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors and Women in Foodservice. She has received multiple accolades throughout her career, including Great Manager of the Year, Director’s Club, and UniPro Supplier of the Year.

Jessica Starnes Category Manager, Tobacco & Loyalty

Jasmine Struble

Category Manager, Dispensed Beverages Yesway

• Struble is a globally skilled purchasing professional with seven years of foodservice experience. As the dispensed beverage category manager, she influences sustainable results through cross-team partnerships and strategic negotiations. She is passionate about playing a key role in environmental transformation projects and supplier inclusivity. • Prior to joining Yesway, Struble managed food and beverage categories for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. She adapted quickly to the convenience channel and led the rollout of Yesway’s Bean To Cup coffee program, which ultimately resulted in an increase in sales, shrink reduction, and a jump in profitability. She is also lauded for introducing more cold and frozen dispensed offerings in an efficient and quick manner so that Yesway could keep pace with its aggressive remodeling schedule. • Struble was named a Convenience Store News Future Leader in Convenience in 2021. She represents Yesway as a board member of the Young Executives Organization.

Weigel’s Stores Inc.

• Starnes is a NACS certified category manager who joined Weigel’s in 2010, where she has been instrumental in building a gold standard pricebook team for the company. • In addition to being the category manager for tobacco and Weigel’s loyalty program — which has grown to more than 400,000 users — Starnes handles most of the analytical work of the company by helping IT on a daily basis, overseeing the pricebook team, and keeping the marketing team moving forward. • Described as “the lynchpin of the organization,” Starnes’ office is usually filled with department leaders seeking help with issues. She is lauded for her natural ability to collaborate with all departments to help solve both short- and long-term goals. Having led hundreds of projects over the years, she is a significant contributorto Weigel’s success.

Sandra Sydlik

Product Marketing Manager Stuzo

• Sydlik works closely with the product, sales and customer success teams to drive product strategy, and executes plans for how Stuzo goes to market with new products and product capabilities. She is responsible for managing certain portions of Stuzo’s marketing budget and oversees the marketing design and engineering team. • She led the company’s qualitative and quantitative research efforts on the digital capabilities of the top convenience and fuel retailers to create Stuzo’s Market Insights Platform. • Sydlik also led research efforts on consumer sentiment regarding loyalty, digital commerce and customer experience, which became Stuzo’s Con-

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sumer Insights Platform, and was the lead creative force behind the concepts Stuzo created and turned into its Future Vision Insights Platform.

Kristen Turner

COVID-19 pandemic as a way to engage team members and launched it on Thorntons Insiders, the company’s private Facebook group for team members. Since its inception, the level of engagement on Thorntons Insiders has jumped 179 percent, and fresh food sales have increased 7 percent. Additional departments have reached out to Watson for insights and best practices in order to replicate the #FoodFriday model.

Senior National Account Manager, PFNA PepsiCo Inc.

• Turner has spent her nineyear professional career at PepsiCo within the Frito-Lay snacking division. During this time, she’s acquired CPG and retail experience through frontline operational leadership and customer management roles, primarily in the dollar and convenience channels. • Representing Frito-Lay’s expansive portfolio, Turner heavily influences salty snack retail execution strategy through collaborative joint business planning processes using market data and insights. • In addition to being an active member of NextUp, Turner mentors colleagues across the organization to help raise the bar on talent and diversity through formal and informal mentorship programs, such as the PEP Summer Intern Program, Women Inclusion Network mentoring circles, and routine touchpoints with new team members to support individualized onboarding and successful integration into their roles.

Tavay Watson Fresh Food Support Coordinator

Renee Williams Customer Development Director

Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc.

• In her second year as customer development director, Williams has become the first female to lead the Circle K business at CocaCola Consolidated. Among her responsibilities are business development and sales execution while building a rapport to achieve a strategic partnership with her customer. • During the COVID-19 pandemic, she successfully collaborated with her customer and internal business partners to continue to deliver on collective goals. She quickly pivoted to a virtual environment and exceeded her annual revenue, volume and gross profit targets. • With the addition of unprecedented supply chain and labor challenges, Williams has partnered with her customer to create solutions and alternative routes to market and crisis management. She brings more than 10 years of experience in convenience retailing into her role.

Thorntons LLC

• Watson joined Thorntons in August 2018 as a store manager in Louisville, Ky., and was later promoted to general manager (GM) and led a challenging inner-city store in Louisville. Given her success as a GM and her overall operations experience, she was promoted to her current position in July 2021. • She now supports the fresh food management team with the implementation of marketing plans and promotions, and ensures all new products are launched successfully. • Watson created #FoodFriday during the

Elaine Yee

Director, Consumer & Market Intelligence ITG Brands

• Yee is responsible for driving insights across databases covering more than 1 million adult consumers and 300,000 retailers. She compels action with empathetic adult consumer and shopper insights; and connects customer, category and competitive intelligence to anticipate market shifts and uncover profitable growth opportunities. AUGUS T

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• The 25-year CPG veteran has been awarded category captaincy among four of ITG Brands’ top chain customers and has driven more than 150,000 new points of distribution across her portfolio of customers. Additionally, she led a complicated and strategic assortment optimization initiative, launching nationally across a 1,000-member sales force that spans from sales representatives to chain account managers. The program drives strong velocity, revenue, and share performance. • A diversity and inclusion champion, Yee is a co-lead in building ITG Brands’ Global Ethnicity Employee Resource Group. Additionally, for the last decade, she has helped up-and-coming young professionals in the Asian-American community.


Nancy Andrus Division Director of Sales & Operations Murphy USA Inc.

• Andrus leads 180 Murphy USA c-store leaders across seven midwestern states. In addition to training new directors in the field during onboarding, she recently identified a gap in the certified training manager role, developed an action plan to address it, and ensured that every district had a certified training manager by the end of 2021. • According to her nominator, Andrus makes mentorship of others a central point of focus. She utilizes every opportunity to help others realize their development and career aspirations, which has fundamentally shaped her division’s internal talent pipeline. • Andrus believes that it is her duty as a leader to pay it forward and bring others along by investing in their development and providing the resources they need to be the best version of themselves. It is the part of her job she loves most.

Anne Cauthron Director, Learning & Development Murphy USA Inc.

• Cauthron leads enterprise-wide learning, development and corporate communications at Murphy USA. Her duties include overseeing leadership training events, workshops and the rollout of the company’s e-learning platform. • In 2021 alone, she mentored more than 10 people within the company, while also leading the organization’s diversity and inclusion effort, and serving as a thought leader driving multiyear efforts to enhance the employee experience. • Cauthron also serves as a company culture ambassador. She is passionate about Murphy USA’s “Develops People” core competency and enjoys mentoring others, both in the company and community. She takes pride in the fact that at Murphy USA, employees empower each other to fuel a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Karin Dahl

Director of Solutions Delivery Maverik — Adventure’s First Stop

• Dahl oversees the development of internal software applications and manages a team of application developers, architects and data management professionals. She implemented a new loyalty engine, and has transformed how the company develops applications. • As an internal Maverik mentor, she is relied upon for identifying talent that fits the corporate culture, and developing team members for advancement opportunities. • According to her nominator, management, coaching and mentorship are some of her strongest traits, which are demonstrated through the consistent development, professional progress, and ultimate successes of her direct reports. Dahl goes the extra mile to ensure her individual team members are set up for success, and has changed the trajectories of numerous team members for the better.

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Letty George Director, Global Communications

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

• With 22 years in the industry and extensive experience in strategic and employee communications, George plays a vital role on Couche-Tard’s Global People Team and has been instrumental in the company’s diversity and inclusion work. She serves on the Executive D&I Council, while expanding her skillset through the D&I Executive Leadership Program at Cornell University. • Her nominator noted that George is a “shining example” of what a mentor should and can be. She sincerely cares about the personal and professional development of others, whether they are her peers, store team members, or executive leaders. In past years, she created an internal awards program that encouraged store employees to reach for excellence and be honored for their contributions. • As the communication partner for every business resource group at Couche-Tard, George shares their stories, challenges and accomplishments.

Jessica Hendrickson

Vice President — Sales Infrastructure & Trade Marketing

• Hendrickson is also a founding member of the Women in Sales Network employee resource group, which has more than 800 members. After holding the position of chair in 2018 and 2019, she now serves as an advisor.

Lisa Klamer

Executive Store Leader GetGo Café & Market

• Klamer has been with parent company Giant Eagle and GetGo for more than 35 years and has held multiple roles within its supermarkets and c-stores. In addition to the day-to-day operations of her store, which has annual inside sales of $4.4 million and sells 3.8 million fuel gallons annually, she is the first line of contact for team member relations, oversees inventory management and on-budget performance, and monitors compliance measures. • She is lauded for playing a role in the continued development of hundreds of team members and leaders for the organization, and is considered a resource and mentor to dozens on a day-today basis. • Klamer has led multiple successful pilot programs and is currently working on a Giant Eagle/ GetGo program to develop team members who are differently abled.

Altria Group Distribution Co.

• After holding various leadership roles within the Altria family of companies, Hendrickson currently oversees the organization responsible for developing trade marketing, sales strategies and operations support to enable the field salesforce to create the best in-store experience for the adult tobacco consumer. • As a steward for the development and advancement of women, she has played a key role in the growth and development of Altria’s broader organization. She personally led the development and implementation of the company’s executive development program for women, titled Women Executives Leading and Learning. The program combines enterprise business immersions, executive mentor pairings, personalized external executive coaching, and leader skill development.

Jami McDermid President, Sales Agency CROSSMARK

• McDermid manages new business development, customer management and client execution for CROSSMARK. In addition to overseeing project-based teams, she is responsible for the dedicated merchandising and selling teams that call on more than 2,000 independent convenience stores. • Her role supports teams in both the United States and Canada, which represent more than 500 CPG clients across all major brand categories within more than 250 unique retailers. Convenience is one of CROSSMARK’s largest retail channels. AUGUS T

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• McDermid founded the company’s mentorship program, which established a formal process to pair mentees with likeminded leaders within the broader organization. The inaugural cohort included more than 20 mentor volunteers, accounting for 10 percent of CROSSMARK’s leadership staff, and drew hundreds of mentee applications. The program was so successful that it doubled in size in its second year.

Angela Pimental

• A three-time President’s Circle winner and project management specialist, she drives more than $26 million in annual direct purchases and 35 million product units. • Recognizing the need for young women to have female mentors within sales, Simon founded Professional Women Rising (PWR), Swedish Match’s first-ever women’s resource group. PWR consists of five female board members who mentor two mentees each. Simon leads the development, recruitment and training of mentor peers and is responsible for developing the mentee curriculum.

Executive Director of Environmental & Licensing RaceTrac Inc.

• Pimental leads RaceTrac’s environmental and licensing functions, which support its convenience stores, franchise division, and wholly owned subsidiaries. Functioning as a shared service, she provides support and guidance to all divisions of the company relative to environmental and licensing. She plays a pivotal role in ensuring that RaceTrac is a steward of environmental, tobacco, lottery and alcohol laws in the communities it serves. • She is the former chair of LEAD, RaceTrac’s business resource group for women. While in the role, Pimental oversaw a group of approximately 50 RaceTrac team members who carry out LEAD’s mission by planning events, programs, internal communications, and development seminars for women and women’s allies throughout the company. • Pimental is also an ally for RaceTrac’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, and participates as an instructor in the company’s new Leader Development Training program.

Stephanie Simon

Vanessa Turner Executive Team Leader GetGo Café & Market

• Turner is responsible for all aspects of store operations for her location, while leading 31 team members. Her location is a pilot for the GetGo Forward project, which challenges the status quo and promotes process improvements and simplifications for day-to-day tasks and a more robust training program for new team members. • She has mentored dozens of team members who are now current leaders of the organization as district leaders, store leaders, café leaders, and assistant store leaders. Over the course of her 18-year career at GetGo, Turner has held many roles and can relate to the team members she mentors because she’s been in their shoes. • Turner is a key member of GetGo’s Store Leader Council, where she gives vitally important feedback and direction on key issues. She is also a member of the company’s Women’s Business Resource Group. CSN

Business Development Manager Swedish Match

• Simon has dedicated 17 years of her career to the CPG industry. PepsiCo’s fast-paced DSD environment prepared her for seizing retail opportunities at Swedish Match, where she has worked for the past 11 years.

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TWIC 2022

2022 Top Women in Convenience Advisory Board • Ericka Ayles, Brookwood Financial

• Melanie Isbill, RaceTrac Inc.

• Renee Bacon, Murphy USA

• Marissa Jarratt, 7-Eleven Inc.

• Matthew Domingo, Reynolds Marketing Services Co.

• Lisa Koenig, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K

• Laurie Greer, NextUp

• Christine Vondran, BIC USA Inc.

• Danielle Holloway, Altria Group Distribution Co.


Platinum Sponsors:

Founding & Presenting Sponsor:

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:


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The Stackadilla, which has become one of Dash In's most popular products, was created using ingredients already found on its menu.

The Challenge of Doing More With Less C-stores can’t give up on expanding and enhancing their prepared food and beverage programs even during periods of extreme opposition By Angela Hanson

AS SUPPLY CHAIN woes continue, employee recruitment remains difficult, and rising inflation affects both the cost of ingredients and consumers’ purchasing habits, operating a successful prepared food program is more challenging than ever. Despite these headwinds, the foodservice category remains important to convenience store operators, who are being pushed to find new and innovative ways to succeed by doing more with less.

While the sourcing and delivery situation remains in flux, c-store retailers have to be ready to think quickly and move fast when it comes to adjusting their prepared food and beverage offerings. “There have been several instances when product was expected at our delivery partners and the load did not show up or showed up with product shortages. Several times, this has happened the day before delivery to our stores, so we had a very short window of time to coordinate alternative product,” Heather Davis, director of foodservice at Savannah, Ga.-based Parker’s, told Convenience Store News. Several c-store operators report a degree of

improvement in the level of out-of-stocks they are encountering, while others have seen the problem worsen in recent months as initial supply chain problems have created a domino effect. A larger number of operators have begun turning to the same alternative as Parker’s. Prioritizing certain ingredients or products and taking a pragmatic approach to outages enable c-store retailers to react more productively. For example, resorting to generic coffee cups rather than branded designs may be frustrating, but it is preferable to running out of chicken for a chicken-heavy menu. “We have to be open to that adjustment,” said Benjamin Lucky, category manager of foodservice at La Plata, Md.-based Dash In, a subsidiary of the Wills Group. He acknowledged that the adjustment is “not ideal by any means.” But now is the time for operators to leverage strong relationships with their suppliers and distributors to ensure product availability. “We have remained flexible with our supplier partners to keep our core items in stock,” Davis said, citing this as a reason Parker’s, which operates 71 c-stores across Georgia and South Carolina, has not had to remove

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any core items due to unreliability.

Creativity in the Kitchen

“Keep working with vendor partners to review items and push them to help come up with ideas to complement your offering.”

One silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is that c-stores repositioned themselves as strong competitors to quickservice restaurants, fast-casual outlets and other foodservice operators outside of the convenience channel.

During the planning process, operators should think beyond introducing a single new offering. “If you choose to add an item, have plans to use it beyond what you initially bring it in for,” she added.

However, to keep this momentum going, retailers can’t rest on their laurels; under current circumstances, menu innovation and new product introductions may have to be less of a priority as brands find ways to avoid the perception that their prepared food offering has stagnated.

“We refuse to accept complacency and stagnation as the end result of this [supply chain] situation,” Lucky expressed. “We use products in different ways and recipe engineer to adjust our mix.”

At Parker’s, this has meant giving focus to non-made-to-order offerings. “We have focused on expanding our graband-go options in our kitchens. Cold items such as salads, sandwiches and parfaits were first to expand. We are now working on expanding hot grab-and-go items,” Davis explained. Strong relationships with key suppliers aren’t just good for managing supply chain difficulties, but they are also vital for menu development. Suppliers serve as valuable partners in assessing what is both feasible and practical for c-store operators to execute.

Similarly, Dash In is focused on using the same ingredients that can be sourced reliably to make creative new variations of menu items.

As part of its goal to use the tools it has at hand creatively, Dash In embraced working within increased limitations and experimented with items already on the menu to come up with the “Stackadilla,” which features multiple quesadillas piled on top of each other. The Stackadilla’s ingredients are largely the same as a standard quesadilla, but its unique presentation makes it different enough to capture a great deal of consumer interest, Lucky pointed out. In fact, two varieties of the Stackadilla have become Dash In’s top sellers.

“You can lead by taking a food everyone is familiar with and make it unique with a special twist.” — Benjamin Lucky, Dash In

“Don’t stop with ideation,” Davis advised.

Dash In uses the same ingredients in different ways and engineers recipes to adjust its offers.

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The lesson is that product innovation “doesn’t have to be wildly different,” according to Lucky, who stressed that the Stackadilla was not born out of desperation, but out of a creative mindset. “I was looking at what ingredients we have available and what we can make that will be intriguing to guests,” he pointed out. Retailers also recommend experimenting with small product changes that can have an outsized impact on the final product. Using new sauces, different types of cheese, or other toppings can make a new product taste special and different without adding a burden to the logistics of procurement. “You can lead by taking a food everyone is familiar with and make it unique with a special twist,” Lucky said, pointing to the emergence of Dash In’s Nashville Hot fried chicken sandwiches as one example. The ingredients are very similar to a standard fried chicken sandwich, but the spicy flavor profile is distinct enough to make a major difference in its popularity. Details of preparation can also make a difference, according to retailers. For example, preparing a cheese melt on a griddle and allowing it to become a little crunchy on the edges provides a more interesting texture that also emphasizes its freshness. Finally, focusing on making items as simple to prepare as possible will go a long way to minimize difficulties in both sourcing their ingredients and preparing them while short-staffed.

Beyond Menu Innovation Doing more with less doesn’t only happen in the kitchen. Making investments in new technology requires longer-term planning than just getting through a period of supply chain crunch, but it will pay dividends. For several years now, Parker’s has invested in its Smart Kitchen technology, which uses machine learning to offer justin-time foodservice and stretch resources farther without waste. In 2020, Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker set a goal of 97 percent accuracy, and the company continues to push the technology today. “Our innovation team has developed and continued to enhance the functionality of our Smart Kitchen, which allows Parker’s Kitchen to predict food demand, keeping

Parker's continues to make investments in its Smart Kitchen technology to stretch resources without waste and ensure accuracy.

“Don’t stop with ideation. Keep working with vendor partners to review items and push them to help come up with ideas to complement your offering.” — Heather Davis, Parker’s food fresh and stocked for customers while reducing waste,” Davis said. Dash In’s Lucky named Restaurant Technologies Inc.’s Total Oil Management System as an example of an initiative that minimizes the processing of waste oil, which frees up employees to focus on food preparation and other tasks. Finally, c-store retailers can lean on their marketing efforts to boost sales even when it isn’t a good time to launch a new product. By opening the lines of communication with customers, operators can highlight the good qualities of their prepared food program that already exist but may not be recognized by customers on a day-to-day basis. “Talk about the quality of your offering. Let the consumer know what you are doing to provide them with high-quality food they may not expect from a convenience store,” Davis recommended. “If you are hand breading fresh chicken tenders, tell them. If you are cutting potatoes for logs or fries, tell them. If you are making something from scratch, tell them.” Renew that interest, Lucky added, suggesting that c-stores may want to position their marketing efforts as reminders of what customers may have already tried and liked but not thought about recently. “So, you promote it, stir the pot, so to speak.” If retailers know they have ingredients available for a period of time but are uncertain about future outages, they can also position products as limited-time offers. The use of mixed light meat and dark meat in a chicken item may be the result of ingredient outages, but it could also draw in customers who are interested in a new spin on old favorites. “We have to roll with the punches,” Lucky said. CSN AUGUS T

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Capturing the Mobile Customer Consumers are bombarded with digital messages today, so c-stores must find ways to stand out By Tammy Mastroberte CAPTURING a

customer’s attention, and actually maintaining that attention over time, is harder than ever before in today’s noisy and distracting world. But one advantage retailers have is that most people are never very far from their mobile devices, even when traveling. Convenience store retailers that capitalize on this by providing a compelling mobile experience will win both consumer dollars and loyalty. “Mobile is the primary way we interact with our guests,” Mike Templeton, director of digital experience and guest loyalty at Casey’s General Stores Inc., based in Ankeny, Iowa, and operating more than 2,200 convenience stores in 16 states, told Convenience Store News. “The Casey’s app is our starting point. From there, guests can decide how they want to interact with our brand — push notifications, messages within the app, text messages and email, too.”

Mobile apps are a big piece of the puzzle for many retailers, but the mobile experience goes beyond just having an app for customers to download and use, according to Kevin Rice, executive vice president of growth, restaurant and convenience for Bounteous (formerly Hathway), a digital consulting company based in San Luis Obispo, Calif. “People think, ‘I have a mobile app so check that box and we are done,’ but mobile is more of a customer behavior,” he explained. “It’s the way a customer interacts with your brand and is not static. It’s not a single tech. Consumers are mobile and c-store retailers need to reach them where they are.” Looking at the total mobile experience of a consumer — which can cover discovery of products, searching or redeeming coupons or deals, finding the nearest store location, placing orders for pickup or delivery, and more — there are various possibilities to connecting across mobile channels. This includes a mobile app, mobile website, SMS or text messaging, email viewed on a mobile device, push notifications from an app, kiosks, and even car dashboard systems like Apple's CarPlay. But no matter what ways a c-store chooses to interact with its mobile customers, consistency is key, according to Lori Stout, vice president of marketing at Punchh, a loyalty and reward program provider based in San Mateo, Calif. “There needs to be consistency with messaging and the expe-

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rience a customer has with the brand across all the different channels, including at the pump,” she noted. At Casey’s, which works with Punchh, consistency is at the core of the mobile experience it creates for customers, and it starts with determining the right message for every customer, and then “immersing them in that across whatever channels they prefer,” said Templeton. “We personalize that messaging so that they see consistent offers at the top of the app, in email, and through the reminders we share.”

guest isn’t interested, it’s all for nothing. When you get the experience right, traffic and engagement will follow.” Convenience retailers also need to realize that creating a mobile experience is not a one-time expense. It’s an ongoing line item, and the retailers that are doing it right make sure this is part of their yearly budget. “Investments in technology are an ongoing concern, not a single investment,” noted Templeton. “It’s not pay $1 million for this project and then I’m done. Brands who are successful in mobile, like Starbucks who started investing in digital technology back in 2007 and 2008, are still investing millions a year because it’s an endless amount of work to be done.”

Mapping out a strategy is also important, and that strategy should be unique to a c-store’s brand by highlighting or capitalizing on its strengths, according to Rice at Bounteous. For example, if a brand has a strong foodservice offering, or a unique car wash offer, that should be “leaned into digitally,” he said.

Make It Simple

Customer feedback can also point retailers in the right direction of meeting needs.

“Something as simple as letting them login to your app or account with their Apple, Facebook or Google sign-in so they don’t have to remember another password goes a long way,” suggested Stout. “With an app, you can offer the

Creating a simple and easy-to-navigate experience on a mobile app, mobile website or online loyalty program is something today’s consumers expect when it comes to interacting with brands. Whether it’s logging into an account, redeeming a coupon or placing an order, having too many steps or a clumsy experience will deter consumer interaction.

“Casey’s spends a lot of time talking to our guests about what they’re looking for in a convenience experience,” said Templeton. “That helps drive our roadmap and what we decide to build. If the

Casey’s loyalty program and app use what the company calls a “re-order flow” that anticipates when a customer might be ready to order.


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ability to store payment information, so they can earn, redeem loyalty points and pay with a single scan. It needs to be easy to use.” Simplicity often trumps other bells and whistles like rewards or discounts, which is evident for Wingstop, based in Addison, Texas, and operating more than 1,400 locations in the United States. The company does not offer a loyalty program, but provides a simple and seamless mobile experience through an app and mobile website, according to Rice. “Their digital experience is about convenience and making it easy to order and get your wings however you want them,” he explained. “You can order food, pick it up or have it delivered, and they make the process so easy that 62 percent of their transactions come from digital channels.” For those offering mobile apps or websites, retailers need to avoid “feature overload” with too many options or distractions, Rice added, noting that the user experience must be easy to navigate. “It’s function over form, and if you look at the restaurant industry, there is a big investment in experience, the design and how people interact and navigate apps and websites,” he said, pointing out how fast-casual restaurant chain Shake Shack spent a lot of time to make its mobile apps and sites easy to use. “It’s almost fun to navigate and place your order, and they won a Webby award for the best mobile app in the entire food and drink category.”

Ways to Engage There are so many options to engage with customers via mobile in today’s world, and many c-store retailers start with the creation of a mobile website and app. In fact, 19 percent of shoppers choose to shop at a store because it has a great mobile app, according to the Inmar Intelligence 2022 Shopper Experience Survey. Additionally, 29 percent of respondents indicated they use retailer apps every week, and another 13 percent reported using the app constantly to build a list or check for deals. But app space on a consumer’s phone is prime real estate, and retailers need to give consumers a reason to download and keep the app. “The fight for real estate on consumers'

phones is growing more by the day,” said Jeff Hoover, director of c-store data insights at Newton, Mass.-based Paytronix, which provides customer engagement solutions and loyalty programs for restaurants, retail chains and c-stores. “If there isn’t a real utility to using the app, it will quickly be deleted.” Creating a strong “value exchange” where customers benefit from having the app or joining a loyalty program with an app attached to it is the way to win space on a consumer’s device. This can include saving them time, money, or access to something they would not get without it, said Rice. “It could be access to special products, limited-time offers, or even priority on how quickly I get my order or can get gas at the pump — as we are seeing priority loyalty drivethru lanes for restaurants now,” he noted. “C-stores must have a strong value proposition that gives something to customers in exchange for the interaction.”

“The fight for real estate on consumers’ phones is growing more by the day. If there isn’t a real utility to using the app, it will quickly be deleted.” — Jeff Hoover, Paytronix

One way c-stores are keeping consumers engaged is through gamification where loyalty members or app users can participate in challenges to complete tasks, sweepstakes or giveaways. Some retailers are offering VIP tiers, badges or experiences based on interaction with the brand. This also creates reasons for repeat visits and purchases. “Everyone wants to be treated like a VIP and unlocking those experiences and exclusivity as they shop more with you vs. your competitors is a way to create engagement,” recommended Stout. There are some retailers offering actual video games inside an app leveraging gaming tiers, challenges and leaderboards to engage customers and reward them. At Dutch Bros Coffee, a drive-thru coffee chain based in Grants Pass, Ore., which operates 538 locations in 12 states, customers get rewarded with digital stickers as they make purchases. They can collect the stickers and build a collection while also earning discounts and rewards, noted Rice. “Using sweepstakes, contests and challenges are a way to keep customers engaged, but they have to be contextually relevant,” he said. “Starbucks, for example, will say if you purchase three times in the next seven days, then you get XYZ, and they base the challenge off purchase data so if I already purchase three times a week, then my challenge would be four times.”

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Another way to engage customers and encourage repeat visits is through geofencing or text messaging. Whether they are in the area of a store or onsite, geofence messaging can encourage both visits and purchases, and can be done within an app or via SMS. “Geofence messaging is a great way to target guests with a message when they come within a certain radius of a store location,” said Hoover. “This can be a great way to target them with a gas discount or remind them of an existing offer they have in their account.” When a guest is actually onsite, either at the pump or in the store, push notifications from the app or text messaging can be helpful to get them to make an additional purchase or take advantage of a special in the store. This type of messaging can also be used to thank guests for visiting and retarget them with another offer to get them to come back, he noted. In fact, 62 percent of shoppers said they would like a store to send mobile notifications in anticipation of their trip, according to the Inmar Intelligence 2022 Shopper Experience Survey. “Our customers integrate SMS and push notifications with a loyalty program, and we tell them to segment the database so they are sending the right offers to the right guest on the right channel, whether it's SMS, push notifications or email,” said Stout.

Get Personal When interacting with guests via mobile, personalization is key — especially when targeting them with coupons and offers. Gathering the data on what they purchase, who they are and what they want can facilitate this process, whether through a loyalty program, mobile website ordering or a mobile app. “You don’t want to offer a vegetarian a special on a cheeseburger,” Stout pointed out. “That is why loyalty programs are the heartbeat of engagement because you can track what a customer is buying from you and it gives you those breadcrumbs of data to make your messaging more powerful.” The best way to offer relevant coupons, specials and content is through captur-

ing customer data, and the more retailers engage with customers digitally, the more data they can capture to learn about them and the products they are interested in and will act on. “If I’m logged in digitally, you will know when I make a purchase, when I do it, how often and what products I buy,” said Rice. “This will help you understand what other products I’m likely to purchase, and you can use all this information to market to me in a personalized way.” In the Inmar Intelligence 2022 Shopper Experience Survey, 44 percent of respondents said their top driver for app usage is searching for deals and rewards. If those deals are not relevant to them, retailers will quickly lose the customer’s interest and the potential for increased visits and sales, said Omar Benguerah, general manager of retail marketing solutions at Aki Technologies, a data and technology enabled service company owned by Inmar Intelligence and based in San Francisco. “Today, personalization is key,” Benguerah noted. “Understand who the shopper is, what he is planning to do, and then provide the customized deals and products he would most likely want.” At Casey’s, the retailer’s loyalty program and app use what the company calls a “re-order flow” that anticipates when a customer might be ready to order or visit next and actually prompts them with their latest order, said Templeton. “We’ll even individualize the creative, so the visuals we’re showing are images of their favorite pizzas,” he explained. “That’s what it takes to maintain attention and engagement in a world full of marketing.” Casey’s dedicates time to understand customers using both “quantitative and qualitative research,” and spending a lot of time digging into the data and advanced analytics it captures to make decisions moving forward on how to interact with customers. “We can segment by frequency, purchase behavior, digital entertainment and more,” Templeton said. “That enables our team to put the right promotions in market to encourage the outcomes we are seeking.” In today’s noisy world, convenience stores are not just competing with other convenience stores — the competition for customer attention and dollars spans much wider, especially digital attention. Creating a successful mobile experience must take into account everyone a c-store is competing with in the digital world. “Consumers have so many options to choose from today, you can’t afford to get mobile wrong,” Templeton told CSNews. “The expectation for mobile experience isn’t just what your immediate competitors are doing. Your guests are using Netflix, Walmart and Uber, too. That is who you’re being evaluated against.” C-stores’ goal is to be both relevant and engaging with a mobile customer no matter what the situation is, and the stakes for a captivating experience continue to rise each day. “The last best experience is now the new expectation for the next,” Templeton said. CSN


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A Mixed Bag The current challenges facing the c-store industry — from inflation to supply chain issues to high gas prices — are impacting key product categories in varied ways By Linda Lisanti

AFTER WEATHERING a difficult 2020 as

consumers stayed home during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, convenience store sales began to rebound in the first half of 2021 and by the time the calendar was ready to turn the page to a new year, almost all of the industry’s key product categories were on the upswing — many registering doubledigit sales gains for the year. The story for 2022 so far is a bit different, with some product categories still seeing positive momentum, but others feeling the negative effects of inflation, supply chain issues, continued staffing challenges, and record-high gas prices (as of press time).

Inflation hit a 40-year high in June 2022, driven by record gas prices, according to the Consumer Price Index, an important economic metric. U.S. consumer prices overall jumped by 9.1 percent year over year, the largest increase seen since 1981. The good news is that even as inflation climbed higher and drove up prices across the board, retail sales rose in June, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), indicating that consumers may be modifying their shopping behavior, but they’re still spending. “Inflation has consumers modifying their spending behavior and prioritizing essentials like food, energy, and back-to-school items,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay observed.

“Inflation is impacting every level of our business, from the cost of goods [to] rents we are asked to pay, cost of repairs and maintenance, and the wages we need to offer to remain competitive,” the CEO of one roughly 100-store chain recently told Convenience Store News.

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The exclusive Convenience Store News 2022 Midyear Report Card, compiled in partnership with NielsenIQ, looks at dollar sales and unit volume metrics for January through June 2022 to evaluate which product categories are gaining vs. losing amidst today’s challenges.

During the first six months of 2022, both cigarette dollar sales and unit volume were down vs. a year ago.





Total Cigarettes



Branded discount



Fourth tier









Subgeneric/private label





Total OTP











Other tobacco

The State of Cigarettes




In 2021, total convenience store industry sales of cigarettes were flat, rising just 0.3 percent, while unit volume in the category declined by 6 percent, the largest drop in five years.

Pipe/cigarette tobacco








During the first six months of 2022, both cigarette dollar sales and unit volume were down vs. a year ago. Sales were down 3.9 percent, while units were down more than double that (8.6 percent). Fourth tier and imported cigarettes were the only segments to post both sales and unit increases during the first half of 2022. The remaining segments all posted declines, with premium cigarettes leading the decreases at 4.2 percent for sales and 9.5 percent for units.

The State of OTP In 2021, other tobacco products (OTP) had a better year overall than cigarettes, despite seeing the smallest percentage change in total industry sales of the past five years (up 6.4 percent), and marking the first instance of negative unit volume in five years (down 1.4 percent). The first half of 2022 presented a similar scene for this category, with total industry OTP sales up 4.4 percent vs. a year ago, while units were down 1.8 percent for the same period.






Total Packaged Beverages



Bottled water



Carbonated soft drinks



Energy drinks



Enhanced water



Iced tea (ready to drink)



Juice/juice drinks



Other packaged beverages





Sports drinks


Total Beer Budget








Flavored malt

The smokeless tobacco and pipes segments were the first-half standouts in the OTP category, posting both sales and unit volume increases. The e-cigarettes and papers segments also posted sales increases, but saw unit volume declines.




Malt liquor








The State of Packaged Beverages

Super premium

The packaged beverages category had a good year across the board in 2021, following mixed results the

Non-alcoholic Popular Premium







Source: NielsenIQ, June 2022


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previous year. The category’s total c-store industry sales rose 10.9 percent, while unit volume also grew 5.2 percent — the first notable increase in five years. The first six months of 2022, however, brought a unit volume decline of 1.3 percent vs. a year ago. Dollar sales were still on the rise, albeit at a slower pace of 6.5 percent growth.



Total Candy


Candy rolls/mints/drops Chocolate bars/packs

Energy drinks and enhanced water were the category standouts for the first half of this year, being the only segments to post both sales and unit volume increases. Sports drinks had the biggest percentage increase in sales, but saw a slight 0.1 percent decline in units.

The State of Beer Sales of beer and malt beverages contracted in 2021 following strong pandemic-related growth the previous year. Unit volume dropped 5 percent, while sales dropped 2.8 percent. The contraction seems to be continuing, but leveling off somewhat, based on the numbers for the first half of this year. Unit volume was down 3.4 percent from January through June 2022 vs. a year ago, while dollar sales were essentially flat, declining just 0.2 percent.


Bagged or repackaged peg candy 13.9%









Non-chocolate bars/packs







Total Salty Snacks Crackers Mixed Nuts/seeds Other salty snacks












Packaged ready-to-eat popcorn 20.9%


Potato chips






Puffed cheese





Segment-wise, imported beer, super premium beer and flavored malt beverages are faring well in the beer category, posting first-half growth in both dollar sales and unit volume.

Tortilla/corn chips

All segments of the candy category posted increases in dollar sales for the January-June 2022 period.



Total Edible Grocery









Other edible grocery



Packaged coffee/tea



Water beverage enhancers



Breakfast cereal

The State of Candy

The State of Salty Snacks

2021 marked a high point for the candy category’s total c-store industry sales growth over the last five years, hitting 11.9 percent growth. Last year also marked the first time in five years that unit volume in the category grew, rising 5.5 percent year over year.

Similar to candy, the salty snacks category also posted its highest c-store industry sales growth in five years in 2021, and last year marked the first time in five years that unit volume in the category grew. Sales were up 10.2 percent, and unit volume was up 4.1 percent.

The first six months of 2022 brought sustained sales growth of 10.8 percent vs. a year ago. However, unit volume returned to negative territory, dropping 0.1 percent. All segments of the candy category posted increases in dollar sales for the January-June 2022 period. Three segments also posted unit volume increases: candy rolls/mints/drops, gum, and bagged or repackaged peg candy. The rest of the segments saw a drop in units.

According to this year’s Midyear Report Card, the category is performing even better so far in 2022. First-half sales jumped 14.1 percent vs. a year ago, with unit volume rising 3.4 percent. With the exception of two subcategories, all other segments of the salty snacks category posted firsthalf growth in both dollar sales and unit volume. The nuts/seeds and mixed salty snacks segments grew in dollar sales, but posted unit declines.

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The State of Grocery Edible grocery dollars and units in the convenience channel grew in 2021, but that growth slowed compared to the previous year when many consumers were looking to make quicker stock-up trips and seeking alternatives to grocery stores during the height of the pandemic. The category’s sales last year were up 3.7 percent, while units were up 1.1 percent. The first six months of 2022, however, brought a resurgence to this category, perhaps fueled by consumers seeking to make fewer shopping trips to offset record-breaking gas prices. First-half edible grocery sales were up 14.7 percent vs. a year ago, and unit volume was up 8 percent. C-store industry sales of nonedible grocery items were also strong during the first six months of this year, with sales increasing 7.8 percent vs. a year ago, and unit volume increasing 5.2 percent. This is a reversal from 2021 when sales dropped 4.1 percent and units dropped 6.6 percent.

The State of General Merchandise In 2021, the general merchandise category continued its five-year streak of volume decreases in the convenience channel, dropping 2.7 percent. Dollar sales, however, were up 3.6 percent.



Total Non-Edible Grocery


Dish care



Household care



Laundry care




Other non-edible grocery



Paper/plastic/foil products



Pet care





Total General Merchandise








Film/photo Hardware/tools/housewares Other general merchandise School/office supplies










Smoking accessories



Looking at the first six months of 2022, general merchandise is off to a shaky start in the c-store industry this year, with both dollar sales and unit volume declining. First-half unit volume was down 6.7 percent vs. a year ago, and sales were down 4.3 percent.

Telecommunications hardware -14.2%


Trading cards

Only one segment of the category saw growth across both sales and units during the first half of this year: hardware/tools/housewares. Most other segments were down in both metrics.


The State of Health & Beauty Care

Total Health & Beauty Care



Last year, the health and beauty care (HBC) category experienced its largest c-store industry sales growth in five years. Unit volume also increased, reversing four years of declines. Sales rose 4.1 percent year over year, while units increased 2.8 percent.




Baby care








The first half of 2022 brought continued HBC sales growth, to the tune of 3.1 percent growth vs. a year ago. Unit volume, however, retreated back into negative territory, dropping 3.3 percent. Segment-wise, the first-half standouts in the HBC category were vitamins/supplements, cosmetics, and other internal over-the-counter medications. These segments produced growth in both dollar sales and unit volume during the first six months of this year. CSN



Video/audio tapes







Cough/cold remedies Family planning Feminine hygiene Grooming aids







Liquid vitamins supplements/energy shots



Other health & beauty care



Other internal OTC medications 14.4%


Skin care/lotions/external care



Smoking cessation



Stomach remedies





Vitamins/supplements Source: NielsenIQ, June 2022


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It’s ‘Full Speed Ahead’ for Convenience Store Retailers The 2022 NACS Show is ready to help the industry innovate and find new ideas By Kathleen Furore


Oct. 1-4, 2022 EXPO:

Oct. 2-4, 2022 Las Vegas Convention Center nacsshow.com


products from 1,200-plus companies, education sessions and more are on tap for the 2022 NACS Show, scheduled for Oct. 1-4 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Convenience Store News reached out to Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives for NACS, who revealed the theme of this year’s event and shared insights about what’s in store. “The themes selected for each year are determined after holding focus groups for what the industry most wants and needs both from the NACS Show and from NACS,” Lenard explained. “Last year, it was important to demonstrate how we are resilient and support each other and that led to the ‘We Got This!’ theme. This year, we heard loud and clear that our industry can’t wait to innovate and find new ideas, so the theme is ‘Full Speed Ahead.’”

Numbers Trending Up for 2022 Show With a show floor of approximately 420,000 net square feet and more than 1,200 exhibitors, this year’s expo will be bigger than last year’s show — on par with its pre-COVID size. “We did not hold a NACS Show in 2020, and in 2021 we slightly scaled back the expo in anticipation of decreased attendance because of COVID,” said Lenard, who noted that as of early July, the expo was “almost sold out” and expected to be a completely sold-out event this year.

With more than 45 education sessions, attendees will find content specifically designed to address their biggest challenges.

“We want to ensure that we have proper floor density for the expo and would only expand the size of the expo if we can also bring along more buyers,” Lenard said. “While this strategy leads to a waiting list for companies seeking to exhibit, we want to ensure the long-term value of the NACS Show to all attendees." That doesn’t mean, however, that the attendance is sold out. “There’s plenty of room for more attendees!” added Lenard, who anticipates attendance will be back to prepandemic numbers. “As of mid-June, attendance was tracking in line with previous years when we have the NACS Show in Las Vegas, and that’s great news,” he reported. “As we usually do, we are working with groups that represent both domestic and international buyers to help them facilitate registrations. ... Our members are telling us that they are very excited to get together, and the early registration numbers reflect that enthusiasm.”

Content Designed to Tackle Challenges What enthusiastic NACS Show attendees will discover are products and services from vendors representing

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six categories: Merchandise; Candy & Snacks; Technology; Facility Development & Store Operations; Fuel Equipment & Services; and Food Equipment & Foodservice Programs. They will also find: • The Cool New Products Preview Room featuring novelties, trends and must-haves; • New Exhibitor Area where attendees can engage with the latest technology, products and companies entering the convenience store market; • 45-plus education sessions designed to deliver relevant and stimulating content; • Four hands-on training workshops created to help solve challenges unique to the industry’s smaller operators; and

facing is always a NACS Show draw for attendees like JP Patel, vice president of the Strategic Alliance for Affiliated Store Owners of America, based in Fairhope, Ala. “The NACS Show allows us to find solutions to problems that are much more difficult to solve alone. And let’s face it, we have a lot of challenges to solve right now,” Patel said. “Every year, I have come back from the NACS Show with a renewed enthusiasm for what’s possible — and [with ideas about] how we can overcome our challenges with a new perspective to solve them.” There are myriad reasons members of the convenience store industry attend the NACS Show. “Everyone attends the NACS Show for different reasons. Some are looking for great new products or solutions on the amazing expo floor. Some are looking to solve problems or challenges in the education sessions and in the networking sessions,” commented Annie St. Romain Gauthier, chief financial officer and co-CEO of St. Romain Oil Co. LLC (dba Y-Not Stop) in Mansura, La. “But we all have one thing in common: We are using the NACS Show as our strategic summit to help define how we will go to market in 2023. Every year, our team comes back energized about the possibilities for our business, and we get to work in making these ideas a reality to grow our business.” CSN 22_001621_Conv_Store_News_AUG Mod: July 21, 2022 3:03 PM Print: 07/21/22 3:03:51 PM page 1 v7

• Two pre-conference workshops called NACS Advanced Category Management Certification and the NACS Food Safety Conference. Registration can be done as an add-on when registering for the show and attendees must be registered for the show to attend a pre-conference workshop. “We know there are significant challenges facing retailers around the globe, from labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, inflation, an evolving energy landscape. And we are creating specific content to address those concerns so that the industry can move full speed ahead,” Lenard told CSNews. “There is always a focus on issues of most importance to retailers because our session topics are designed by retailers, specifically our Convention Content Committee. There will be a focus on strategies to address the labor shortage and supply chain challenges, among many other topics.”





1-800-295-5510 uline.com

Delivering content that helps c-store retailers tackle the challenges they’re


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Kiosk Pre- Paid Services

General Merchandise

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Age Verifier

Promotional Services











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POS/ Equipment

ADINDEX Wholesale Refrigeration 7-Eleven...............................................33

Liggett Vector Brands......................19

ADD Systems......................................29

Mars Wrigley Confectionery...........51

Altria Group Distribution.................5, 39

McLane Company..............................59

BIC USA Inc.........................................11

Modern Store Equipment.................23

Calico Brands, Inc..............................16

Murphy USA........................................55


Phoenix Research Industries...........13

Chevron Corporation........................25

Premier Manufacturing.....................1

Circle K.................................................43

Reynolds American Trade Marketing.................................47

Convenience Distribution Association..........................................37 Core-Mark International...................57


Crane Payment Innovations............20–21

Swedish Match North America LLC............................65, 112

E-Alternative Solutions....................15 Essentia Water....................................17 Forte Products....................................18 Giant Eagle Inc...................................67 Glanbia Performance Nutrition......61 ITG Brands...........................................34–35

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Phone 773-992-4450 Fax 773-992-4455 www.ensembleiq.com

Juul Labs..............................................111 Kwik Trip, Inc. ....................................63


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Sheetz Inc............................................53

Swisher International, Inc................9 The Coca-Cola Company.................49 The Hershey Company.....................7 Tyson Foods........................................41 Uline......................................................93 Uno Foods...........................................81 Universal Merchant Services...........Outsert


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A Tasty Option Convenience store foodservice is grabbing the attention of more consumers As more convenience store operators up their foodservice game, consumers are taking notice. The 2022 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle Study, which surveyed 1,500-plus consumers who shop a c-store at least once a month, showed an increase in the percentage of c-store shoppers who say they’re buying prepared foods in the channel. What’s more, the number of shoppers who reported that they were “extremely satisfied” with their latest c-store prepared food purchase increased significantly compared to a year ago.


of shoppers surveyed in the 2022 Realities of the Aisle consumer study said they bought prepared food at a c-store in the past month — UP FROM 52% a year ago.

The average frequency was 3 times — also up from 2.7 times the prior year.

Most Important Factors When Purchasing Prepared Food at Convenience Stores Consumers know what they want: food quality, price/value, taste and freshness remain the most important attributes of c-store prepared food year after year.

The number of at-least-monthly buyers of prepared food is still down from pre-pandemic heights, but a 6-POINT IMPROVEMENT year over year is encouraging.

Food quality


Menu choice




Portion size








Selection of brands




Delivery available




Drive-thru available




Speed of service


Availability of healthier options


Customer service


Curbside pickup available


Satisfaction With Most Recent Prepared Food Purchase at a Convenience Store Not only do two-thirds of shoppers indicate high levels of satisfaction with their last prepared food purchase at a c-store, but more than a quarter report feeling “extremely” satisfied.

66% Extremely/ very satisfied

30% Somewhat satisfied


Not very/not at all satisfied

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JUUL Products REMAIN Available For Sale What does this mean for retailers who sell JUUL? On July 5, 2022, JUUL Labs, Inc. was granted an Administrative Stay of our marketing denial order (MDO) from the FDA. The Administrative Stay allows Juul Labs and its customers to continue selling JUUL products until the regulatory review process is complete. Please see below answers to common questions:


Can the FDA take enforcement action against Juul Labs or its customers during this Administrative Stay? A: The FDA does not intend to take enforcement action against JUUL products while the Administrative Stay is in place. Therefore, we will continue to operate fully in the United States, receiving orders and shipping JUUL products to our customers.


What are the next steps for Juul Labs as a company? A: We will respond to the FDA with clarifying information and an explanation of the issues it raised in the MDO. The FDA will then


Where can I receive the latest information on Juul Labs’ market order?

determine whether or not to place our applications back into

A: Please visit the Juul Labs

review, which would require FDA to complete its substantive review

Retailer website.

of the PMTAs, allow us to re-engage on a science and evidence-

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based process, and ultimately secure a marketing authorization.


What does this mean for me as a retailer? A: Juul Labs will continue to sell JUUL products in the United States just as we did before the MDO. If the FDA decides to maintain our MDO after the agency review is completed, we have thirty days to return to the court and seek another stay, while our products can continue to be sold through at least that period.

This information is for retailer use only and is not for advertising or promotional purposes or intended for a consumer audience.

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