CSNC - May/June 2020

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2020 C-STORE SOLUTIONS DIRECTORY MAY/JUNE 2020 CCentral.ca @CSNC_Octane PM42940023

COVID-19 reshapes convenience It’s crunch time for salty snacks PLUS C-store design for a modern world

MAY/ JUNE 2020

Volume 3 | Number 3




ILLUSTRATION: agoodson.com, Miguel Monkc


Editor’s Message Here’s to moving forward, together


The Buzz People, places, news and events


Quick Bites Delivering profits: The timing is right for c-stores to embrace home delivery


Top Ops Clean routine: Expert advice on refrigeration maintenance


Feature Plain packaging 2.0: Challenges and solutions


Spotlight Dépanneur R. Prud’homme: A modern approach with small-town charm


Category Check It’s crunch time for salty snacks


C-store IQ: National Shopper Study Payment Solutions Report


COVER: C-store Solutions Directory Your resource for store equipment


Ask the Expert Devin Mahaffey of CTM Design on reimagining c-stores to meet the evolving needs of a modern world


Snapshot Kathy Perrotta, Ipsos Canada: Wake up to a new breakfast routine


Voices C-store operators share stories from the front lines


Backtalk Russell Large looks ahead to how COVID-19 will reshape convenience




The latest industry news and information, plus COVID-related resources, foodservice, store solutions, tobacco/vaping and more. Don’t miss our e-newsletters! Sign up today at www.CCentral.ca






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Email: info.outofhomecanada@kellogg.com Online: www.kelloggoutofhome.ca


36 X 85 g


6 X 92 g

*©2020, Trademark of Keebler Company used under licence.


6 X 92 g


20 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON M4R 1K8 (416) 256-9908 | (877) 687-7321 | Fax (888) 889-9522 www.CCentral.ca SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CANADA | Donna Kerry EDITORIAL EDITOR, CSNC Michelle Warren | mwarren@ensembleiq.com EDITOR, OCTANE Kelly Gray | kgray@ensembleiq.com TRANSLATION | Danielle Hart ADVERTISING SALES SR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Chantal Barlow | cbarlow@ensembleiq.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Elijah Hoffman | ehoffman@ensembleiq.com VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS Michael Cronin | mcronin@ensembleiq.com SALES & EVENTS COORDINATOR Claudia Castro DESIGN AND PRODUCTION VICE PRESIDENT, PRODUCTION Derek Estey | destey@ensembleiq.com DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION Michael Kimpton | mkimpton@ensembleiq.com ART DIRECTOR | Linda Rapini DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Alexandra Voulu | avoulu@ensembleiq.com SENIOR DIRECTOR AUDIENCE STRATEGY Lina Trunina | ltrunina@ensembleiq.com SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CANADA & SPECIAL PROJECTS Valerie White | vwhite@ensembleiq.com CORPORATE OFFICERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER | Jennifer Litterick CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER | Jane Volland


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Please contact Wright’s Media | ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com 1-877-652-5295 CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is published 6 times a year by EnsembleIQ. CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is circulated to managers, buyers and professionals working in Canada’s convenience, gas and wash channel. Please direct inquiries to the editorial offices. Contributions of articles, photographs and industry information are welcome, but cannot be acknowledged or returned. ©2020 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying and electronic retrieval/retransmission, without the permission of the publisher.

Thank you! Here’s to moving forward, together

Masks, gloves, sneeze guards, in-store traffic restrictions, stockpiling, disruptions across categories and front-line retail heroes—it’s fair to say the world of convenience has changed dramatically in recent months. What an unprecedented whirlwind of activity, uncertainty and opportunity for the industry. As the COVID-19 pandemic upended every aspect of society, the Canadian convenience industry stood strong, unwavering in its commitment to fulfill the wants and needs of communities coast to coast to coast. Thank you to everyone, from cashiers to operators, suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and associations, for your steadfast dedication and leadership. These are extraordinary times for individuals and business owners. As everyone continues to adapt, the Convenience Store News Canada team is here for you and your business. Whether via the magazine, our twice weekly newsletters, website or social media feeds, we are committed to bringing you the latest news, information and resources to help you succeed and prosper. With that in mind, we are pleased to debut the C-store Solutions Directory. Our goal is to create a useful resource to bridge the gap between busy retailers and those supplying the valuable equipment necessary for the day-to-day operation of a c-store. From freezers to signage, security, automated tobacco dispensers and more, we’ve got you covered.


Michelle Warren | Editor

Printed in Canada by Renaissance Printing | PM42940023


That’s not all. We’re bringing you the big picture—industry expert Russell Large weighs in on how COVID-19 will reshape convenience (p. 32), while CTM’s Devin Mahaffey discusses rethinking c-store design to meet the evolving needs of modern consumers, operators and franchisees (p. 27)—and delving into minute details (Are you properly maintaining and disinfecting your freezers? Find out on p. 10). In this ever-changing industry, we know how important it is to stay on top of the latest trends and opportunities. Foodservice expert Darren Climans charts the meteoric rise of automated delivery and its potential for the convenience sector (p. 8) and we examine the explosive demand for contactless payment in the C-store IQ: Payment Solutions Report (p. 19). While we are carefully chronicling the evolution of the c-store industry as it adapts to the new realities, it’s worth noting the business of publishing is different, too. Our team is working remotely, but we are together in our efforts to bring you a quality magazine. We look forward to the day when we can meet with each other and with you, our valued readers and industry colleagues, in person. When we do, there will be much to celebrate! (We’ll announce the 2020 Star Women in Convenience Award winners in the July/August issue.) Until then, take care and please stay in touch.

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stacked logo (for sharing only)




Convenience Central








Parkland is entering into a multi-year agreement to strengthen its range of freshly prepared and quality meal options by expanding its long-standing relationship with Triple O’s restaurants. This builds on the success of Parkland’s existing network of On The Run and Town Pantry convenience stores that already feature Triple O’s in B.C., paving the way for more restaurants in the province, as well as entry into Alberta and Ontario. Triple O’s operates more than 60 quick service restaurants offering freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options.



The tax on a carton of cigarettes in Manitoba is to rise by $1 on July 1. The move is designed to help offset the reduction of PST, which was announced in the province’s most recent budget.

Mondelēz International purchased a significant majority interest in Toronto-based Give & Go Prepared Foods Corp., maker of baked goods such as Two-Bite Brownies, Create-ATreat, Mason St. Bakehouse and the Worthy Crumb Pastry Co. Founded in 1989, Give & Go’s management team will maintain a minority interest in the company.



With COVID-19 concerns at the forefront, the Ontario government is delaying the implementation of new vaping regulations from the original May 1 deadline to July 1. Regulations will “restrict the retail sale of flavoured vapour products to specialty vape stores and cannabis retail stores, except for menthol, mint and tobacco flavours” and “restrict the retail sale of high nicotine vapour products to specialty vape stores.” Industry associations commended the delay, but are still disappointed in the overall impact on c-stores. “At a more appropriate time, CICC will continue to express our concerns about the proposed vaping regulations which will fail to solve the problem of youth vaping. But right now, we will continue to focus on our vitally important role to ensure that Canadians are well supplied with their daily needs during this crisis,” says president and CEO Anne Kothawala. C-stores have until July 1 to sell out their existing inventory of higher nicotine and flavours. “Independents should start rationalizing slower moving brands and start educating their customers of the potential changes,” says OCSA CEO Dave Bryans, adding: “They also still have the option to call their MPP and speak out about this unfairness and potentially sending tobacco smokers to another unproven channel with no track record.”


On July 1, B.C. is to add provincial sales tax to all carbonated beverages that contain sugar. The new rules span bottled and canned soda, as well as beverages dispensed through soda fountains, soda guns and vending machines. The 7% provincial sales tax is expected to generate $27 million in revenues in the 2020-2021 budget year.

COVID-19 Timeline DEC. 31, 2019

CHINA INFORMS THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION of a cluster of 41 patients with a mysterious pneumonia.



JAN. 27, 2020

MAN WHO RECENTLY TRAVELLED from Wuhan, China to Toronto becomes the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Canada.

| MAY/JUNE 2020

MAR. 11, 2020

WHO DECLARES A PANDEMIC, prompting panic buying as Canadians stockpile toilet paper and essentials.

MAR. 17, 2020

B.C., ALBERTA, ONTARIO AND P.E.I. become the first provinces to declare states of emergency.

MAR. 20, 2020

7-ELEVEN announces plans to hire up to 20,000 workers in North America.

MAR. 21, 2020

RABBA FINE FOODS installs cashier safety barriers at all 34 GTA locations.


TIMELINE FROM LEFT: Open source, AP, Shutterstock, open source, (and the remaining) Shutterstock.


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The Government of Canada is putting more buzz into the country’s zero-emission infrastructure with a program that puts cash in the hands of facility site developers. The Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Initiative is a $182.5 million program designed to support the establishment of a coast-to-coast charging network for electric vehicles, natural gas stations along key freight corridors and stations for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in metropolitan centres. The program is available to a range of groups and agencies, as well as private businesses, including service stations, convenience stores and car washes. For details, visit www.nrcan.gc.ca


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In B.C., the minimum wage will rise to $14.60 on June 1. On April 1, the minimum wage in Newfoundland & Labrador jumped to $11.65 and on October 1 it will further increase to $12.15. Also effective April 1, the minimum wage in New Brunswick hit $11.70, while Nova Scotia jumped to $12.55 and Prince Edward Island to $12.85.


Greenergy, an international supplier of transportation fuels, and BG, a high-profile Canadian gasoline and convenience retailer that operates under the Mobil, Mr. Gas, Waypoint and Oops brands, are merging. BG Fuels is being integrated into Greenergy and Greenergy CEO Christian Flach is leading the combined business.


Julie Sirois joins Mondelēz Canada as vice-president of sales, becoming a member of the company’s management team. She joins the cookie and cracker maker after 17 years with PepsiCo Foods Canada. “We are very pleased to welcome Julie to our leadership team, especially amid these challenging times,” said Mondelez president Martin Parent. “Our global ambition is to ‘Empower People to Snack Right’ and Julie will be instrumental in helping us achieve that by building a winning, growth culture across our teams with a focus of becoming our customers’ snacking company of choice.” Jack Clare joins United Natural Foods as chief information officer. Clare will oversee strategy and operation of UNFI’s IT team. UNFI says this will allow the company to better serve more than 30,000 customers throughout Canada and the U.S. Clare most recently served as chief information and strategy officer at Dunkin‘ Brands and has held senior roles at Yum! Restaurants International and Constellation Brands.

B.C. $14.60 NL $11.65 NB $11.70 NS $12.55 PEI $12.85

SAVE THE DATE October 27-28, 2020 The Convenience U CARWACS Show Greater Vancouver convenienceu.com November 4, 2020 Star Women in Convenience Awards Toronto


MAR. 23, 2020

PROVINCES BEGIN CLOSING nonessential businesses: C-stores and gas remain open.


MAR. 24, 2020

COUCHE-TARD increases pay by $2.50 an hour for Canadian retail staff.

MAR. 27, 2020

OTTAWA ANNOUNCES 75% wage subsidy and other business supports.

APR. 7, 2020

QUEBEC OFFERS $100 WEEKLY incentive for essential retail employees.

APR. 19, 2020

COUCHE-TARD pulls out of Caltex bid, citing uncertainty around COVID-19.

APR. 28, 2020

AS PROVINCES OUTLINE PLANS TO REOPEN, all levels of government release a set of common principles for restarting the Canadian economy.






Delivering profits Coca-Cola is in the process of testing robots equipped with GPS technology and laser sensors to deliver drinks at a large theme park in the United Kingdom. The bot, a kind of R2D2-like threewheeled trolley, picks up product in a warehouse and brings it to beverage kiosks across the park. The expectation is that robots will, in the near future, be used to deliver beverages directly to guests in the park or the 700 hotel rooms on the property. In a recent article—"Food delivery—disrupting the future"—David Tate, retail, food and beverage practice leader for the consultancy company Marsh, notes that “the rapid rise of online… delivery by retailers, restaurants, and producers was borne out of a desire to improve the customer experience. These new models are now moving at a pace, and new solutions and partnerships are creating disruptive business opportunities.” Tate talks about the “dark kitchen” phenomenon, which is essentially a commercial back-of-house-without-a-front-of-house foodservice operation that is set up to receive orders and dispatch meals to consumers. This is the foodservice equivalent to the model retail is already embracing, with brands increasingly eschewing bricks-and-mortar locations and piling into online sales. While the convenience sector is not mentioned specifically, all of the same principles (and end goal of consumer need satisfaction) apply. Key players, as well as forward-thinking independent operators, in the convenience sector are already moving down the delivery path (Exhibit 1).

International perspective Early in 2020, I travelled extensively in Chile in South America for the first time. I was taken aback by the small army of scooters, bicycles, and motorcycles zigzagging through the streets of Santiago. Uber Eats was only



| MAY/JUNE 2020

The future is now

one of the players; there were multiple other delivery systems. Walmart acquired Chilean food delivery service Cornershop in September 2016. As well, in 2016, Colombian startup delivery service Rappi,with its ubiquitous moustache logo, achieved a US$1-billion valuation. Delivery Hero is one of the multinational players active in Chile. It is a Germany-based multi-billion dollar global enterprise that is leveraging expertise in technology and logistics to grab a growing slice of the foodservice pie around the world. The numbers for the most recent year are impressive: close to 700-million in total system orders; gross sales of more than $10-billion. The growth rates for Delivery Hero (Exhibit 2) and its contemporaries are even more telling—double to triple digits yearover-year in orders, gross merchandise volume (GMV) and revenues.

As an admitted trend nerd, I’m always looking for the next big thing in technology, food and consumer behaviour. No doubt, the explosion of smartphone technology is greasing the wheels of delivery disruption. However, several factors are at play, including the widespread use of robot chefs to automate food prep, and the mainstreaming of delivery drones. The Federal Aviation Administration in the United States is expected to define rules for drone deliveries by the end of 2020. With the promise of significantly lower delivery costs, and potential for urban deliveries within five to 10 minutes, this technology could be a game changer. Finally, consider the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. This global phenomenon is turbo-charging the adoption of home


Consistent Strength of Top line Growth Orders


Superior growth vs. peer pro forma average of 19% • Grubhub 8% • Just Eat 10% • Takeaway 20% • Meituan 38%




+ 117 %






391 1,684












125 95 681

























Source: Delivery Hero Financial Report Q4-19, Chart adapted from this report.

Scale translates into faster deliveries— currently averaging less than 28 minutes system-wide for Delivery Hero—and cost savings. In retail, this is a winning formula. In Santiago, I saw delivery take many forms. It’s not exclusively restaurant food on offer. I observed beverages being delivered, and even non-food items. Sometimes the delivery person drops his/her package at a residence, and sometimes a pre-arranged drop spot.

delivery. Consumers enduring mandatory self-isolation, and those in the general population choosing to reduce the risk of human contact, are trying and embracing home delivery disproportionately. Accelerated consumer conversion may be an unintended aftershock of the crisis. Consumers, having experienced the convenience and value of home delivery, may seek out this point of difference going forward. CCentral.ca

LOCAL DELIVERS Next level convenience Convenience Store News Canada’s recent C-store IQ: National Shopper Study shows that while c-stores are relatively strong when it comes to using some technologies, such as mobile coupon/discounts and payment apps, the industry lags on home delivery, ordering online and pick-up in store. More than a quarter of convenience store shoppers (28%) have tried home delivery on the grocery front—that breaks down to 24% of boomers, 30% of millennials and 31% of Gen X— but only 6% have done so with convenience. This illustrates a significant willingness to use the technology and opportunities for c-stores to step up to the plate. C-Store IQ, the first convenience-specific study delving into the wants, needs, perspectives and habits of Canadian c-store shoppers, found convenience stores that prioritize simplifying the shopping and purchase steps are more likely to see rewards. For most c-store shoppers, satisfaction comes down to saving time and effort: Automated delivery is an opportunity for operators to meet those needs and grow their business. According to Donna Hood Crecca, principal of Technomic, there are several factors for c-store operators to consider on the home delivery front: · C-store shoppers have a high rate of smartphone adoption. · By next year, Amazon will have thousands of Amazon Go locations that are app-based and cashless—40% of consumers say that availability of CCentral.ca

COVID-19 is having a significant influence on the trend of eating and shopping local, according to research from Tastewise, which harnesses billions of online data points to provide a real-time understanding of the consumer motivations behind food trends. In March, supporting local businesses, pick-up and delivery exploded in popularity, as consumers adjusted to social distancing, shuttered restaurant dining rooms and shelter-in-place orders.

frictionless checkout payment would increase their likelihood of visiting a location. · Aging boomers over index on current and future delivery of products from convenience stores. · Consumers in the U.S. who use third-party delivery companies, such as DoorDash for convenience stores, do so once a month or more.

Missing the boat There are two general types of errors: errors of commission and errors of omission. Humans are extremely averse to errors of commission—when we choose to act to invest resources, and, after-the-fact, determine that it was not a sound course of action. As a result, we tend to lean towards making errors of omission—failing to act when it would have been profitable to do so. Our aversion to doing the wrong thing, can diminish our capacity to take on risks, even when the upside is significant. The C-store IQ study shows Canadian consumers are already embracing home delivery on many fronts—c-stores are simply lagging behind in offering the service. Wayne Gretzky once wisely said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” When the competition is already delivering the goods, offering some form of delivery may be a shot you can’t afford not to take.◗ Darren Climans is a foodservice insights professional with close to 20 years’ experience partnering with broadline distributors, CPG suppliers, and foodservice operators. His practice is to understand issue-based decisions by taking a data-driven approach to strategic decision making.



interest in delivery

interest in pick-up

+93% interest in supporting local businesses


DELIVERING THE GOODS · Partnered with Foodora in Canada · The pilot project started in Montreal with select products available in a growing number of areas. However, Foodora announced in April it was planning to shut down its Canadian operations · Couche-Tard’s Circle K brand in the U.S. initially partnered with Texas-based Favor Mobile to add delivery service to more than 160 stores in the Houston metropolitan area. At the end of 2019, Circle K expanded delivery across Texas to 550plus Circle K stores · Initially partnered with Grubhub for third-party delivery in 2015 · Started testing proprietary delivery in the U.S. in 2018 and now offers on-demand ordering of select product categories for both delivery and in-store pickup with its 7NOW app · In Canada, 7-Eleven offers #GetItDelivered service—consumers can order a Slurpee, pizza, wings, wedges, taquitos, snacks, chips, ice cream and daily essentials via Uber Eats · Partners with Uber Eats and other delivery services in Canada · Delivers snacks, such as chocolate, candy, chips and drinks, within minutes (in some cases) · · · ·

Chain has more than 800 U.S. locations Initiated a pilot with Grubhub in September 2017 Expanded the service in January 2018 Now delivers foodservice items, beverages, chips, candy and desserts

· Operates 800-plus c-stores and fuel service stations in the U.S. · Tested delivery in February 2018 through Uber Eats at 10 of its stores across Tulsa, Okla. · Still testing, but plans to expand delivery · U.S.-based digital convenience retailer delivers snacks, drinks, ice cream, beverages, groceries, household goods directly to customers from centrally located warehouses for a flat US$1.95 delivery fee. · All orders are accessible through the goPuff mobile app or goPuff.com. Delivery hours run from noon to 4:30 a.m., seven days a week.






Clean routine

Expert advice on maintaining refrigeration equipment to protect against COVID-19 and food-borne bacteria With convenience stores and micro markets declared essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, your site likely adopted a stricter cleaning routine to prevent the virus spread. This is also an ideal time to look at best practices for food safety, because commercial refrigerators and freezers can quickly become bacterial carriers if not properly maintained.

Before deep cleaning your unit’s interior or exterior, always unplug it. Never apply or spray any undiluted cleaner directly to the unit, since excessive liquid can seep into the electrical connections and cause a malfunction or electrical hazard. To avoid any contamination, ensure all cleaning materials are cleaned themselves (for instance, use a fresh cloth each time) and stored so bacteria is not transferred from one surface to another. Also, keep cleaning equipment for refrigeration Given the right conditions, bacteria found units separate from those used for floors or in food can double every 10 minutes, which other store equipment. means that 1,000 bacteria can grow to 1/2 Cleaning also gives you a chance to inspect million about 90 minutes! So, let’s look at the unit for any damage. For example, when how to create conditions where wiping down the door gaskets and glass, neither COVID-19 or foodcheck for gaps or tears in the gaskets, Given the right borne bacteria can survive. which can cause air leakage or a conditions, build-up of dirt or grease. If you’re bacteria found in food can double Cleaning 101 not able to snap them back into every 10 Research shows COVID-19 place, they need to be replaced. minutes can survive several days Most units are self-defrosting, but on metal, glass and plastic if if you have manual defrost units, folthese surfaces are not properly low the manufacturer’s instructions— disinfected. While it can be tempting regular defrosting is essential, as it helps to saturate your refrigerated units with a prevent serious damage to compressors. strong cleaner like bleach or ammonia, don’t, If your unit has a conventional condenser, as these products can contaminate food. it should also be cleaned monthly to avoid Instead, use a soft cloth with a non-abrabreakdowns caused by an overworked motor. sive liquid detergent cleaner mixed with waTo clean it, remove the front grill, switch off ter. Soap and water are proven to eliminate the control panel and unplug it, then use a the virus, as soap interferes with the fats in small, hand-held duster to clean inside, and, if the virus shell, which lifts the virus from surnecessary, a vacuum cleaner for any additional faces and is then rinsed off with water. (This debris. Don’t forget to reattach the front grill, is also why frequent handwashing is effective which helps to protect the condenser from at preventing the virus spread.) debris and damage. Some units are built with We recommend deep cleaning your relow maintenance condensers, which require frigeration units monthly, but exterior door regular visual inspections and much less frehandles and doors are high-traffic areas quent cleaning than conventional condensers. and should be wiped down several times a Temperature matters day. While most sites these days have hand Technically, a refrigeration unit can’t get sanitizer available for customers to use at the checkout counter, it’s also a good idea to pro- a “fever”, but temperature variations are a serious threat to food safety, potentially vide hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipes contributing to bacteria growth, pathogens (with at least 70% alcohol content) directly and cross-contamination. beside any refrigerated merchandisers.



| MAY/JUNE 2020

Freezers need to breathe Without optimal airflow, you risk a blocked condenser, which can result in equipment failure, overheating, spoiled product, higher electrical costs and even a possible void on your warranty. ✔ Position each unit away from the surrounding walls ✔ Ensure each unit has a dedicated electrical outlet ✔ Situate away from other equipment that radiates heat or produces airborne oil and grime ✔ Inspect regularly to check for blockages In addition, distribute the product evenly inside the unit, as overloading blocks interior airflow, which can lead to spoiled food and equipment damage. Cabinets are also better able to maintain a stable temperature if they’re stocked, but not overstocked, versus empty, as the thermal mass of the refrigerated or frozen products helps to maintain the interior temperature.

In an environment where doors are being opened and closed frequently, maintaining optimal temperatures within the unit is crucial. For example, chilled foods, such as sandwiches, should be kept within the 37°F to 41°F range. Short spikes, not exceeding 30 minutes, above 41°F are acceptable. If you do not have a temperature malfunctioning safeguard, you should aim to monitor temperatures frequently each hour to make sure they are within the healthy range. Since you need to sanitize the handles on merchandiser doors often, you can do both cleaning and temperature monitoring tasks at once. ◗ Randy Skyba is the vice-president of sales and marketing at Minus Forty Technologies in Georgetown, Ont. He helps retailers merchandise their frozen and refrigerated products. CCentral.ca

PLAIN PACKAGING 2.0 Challenges and solutions


As the coronavirus reaffirms the value of convenience stores to communities across the country, those same stores are grappling with an unprecedented upheaval to one of their core channel businesses: plain packaging. On February 7th, plain packaging regulations— deemed the “best in the world” by the Canadian Cancer Society—came into full effect across Canada. C-store owners and their teams are looking for ways to make the transition from branded packaging smooth and seamless for both their business and their customers. Here are some suggestions to help address the biggest problems presented by plain packaging.


Avoiding customer confusion SOLUTION:

Information and insight Tobacco smokers are traditionally brand loyal—and they instantly recognized their brand by its distinctive packaging. Those days are gone. Now all packages look the same, sporting a dull brown colour, specifically Pantone 448C. To add to the confusion, the names of some brands have changed, while others are gone for good. This results in confused customers who often don’t know they have the wrong brand until they light up. “Some jurisdictions saw a huge impact and a lot of returns from customers. The increase in returns reflects an increase in frustration,” says Markus Merrill, general manager Canada with Vend Data Media Solutions in



| MAY/JUNE 2020

Mississauga, Ont. This adds to the burden of c-store operators. “You have to spend more time managing that category.” Reducing frustration requires reducing the likelihood of mix-ups or delays caused by customer and employee uncertainty. “Staff need to be educated,” stresses Sara Clarkson, president and CEO of Storesupport Canada Inc., a national sales and merchandising company in Mississauga, Ont. Fortunately, help is at hand. Tobacco companies have stepped up to assist. In many cases, the companies have already experienced the transition to plain packaging in other countries and have identified issues and best practices. They also moved quickly and early to lend a hand to their c-store customers. Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, for example, updated the names in its ordering system months in advance and set up a website for consumers to find out what products would be affected.

If you’re struggling, reach out to your suppliers to tap into materials, programs and opportunities designed to help stores and employees adapt quickly and effectively to this new way of selling cigarettes.


Reducing clerks’ uncertainty SOLUTION:

Training and technology Customers expect a seamless transition to plain packaging, and they’re counting on c-stores to deliver. Extra effort will be required. “You need to know who your customers are. Know who your loyal customers are, and know their brands,” says Clarkson. Staff will also need to know the current brand names, she adds. “Steer customers to a cigarette that is close to what they used to smoke. That is a new role for c-stores.”


Tobacco companies can become an important partner. JTI-Macdonald Corp., for instance, organized information sessions and prepared communications materials to explain what’s changing, why and what the alternatives are. The company also worked closely with c-stores to better understand their needs going forward, suggest storage solutions and ways to organize shelving so that clerks are able to more easily identify products when consumers ask for them. Find the system that works best for your store. Plain packages can be organized alphabetically, making it a little easier for clerks to reach out and select the correct product. Memorization will undoubtedly kick in. Or, you may want to use dedicated flaps to identify packages. Either way, stick with a system so employees get comfortable quickly. With change comes opportunity and technology is helping in the form of automated dispensing systems—high-tech vending machines that help clerks quickly and easily find what they’re looking for. For instance, Vend Data offers a smart dispensing system designed to overcome the challenges of plain packaging at the store level. There are more than 3,000 in market in

Australia, which introduced plain packaging in 2012 and the numbers are quickly growing here in Canada. “It gets rid of the guessing,” says Merrill. “You don’t have to train employees how to sell tobacco…. Just press a button.” Montreal-based Artitalia Group, which creates custom fixtures and other retail design elements, has also created a vending system to dispense controlled products, such as tobacco. The Audimac is an automated distribution machine designed to simplify the tasks of clerks, produce faster transactions and reduce theft. As the price of cigarettes rises, so too does their appeal to thieves. These automated systems, with secure metal containers that house tobacco packages, discourage burglars looking to make a fast and easy score.


Managing inventory levels SOLUTION:

Education and real-time data Managing inventory levels is a major challenge in the wake of plain packaging.

Verifying you have received the items you ordered and have enough on hand is significantly more difficult when all the products look alike. “It’s not like cigarettes are on a shelf and you can see if the shelf is empty,” says Clarkson. “You have to understand how inventory will change in the new environment,” she adds. “Take advantage of any education program you can.” Technology can help. For instance, the new smart dispensing systems not only help clerks get the right products into the hands of customers, but also they’re also programmed for ongoing and accurate inventory monitoring. Operators can access sales, out of stock and inventory data online or through an app. Custom reports can help operators track what’s selling and what’s not to better streamline offerings. “We’re in real time capturing the data,” says Merrill. As an added bonus, vending systems feature digital media advertising capabilities at POP, which can be used for in-store promotions, community outreach and to create additional revenue streams from vendor advertising. ◗

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SOCIALLY CONNECTED Located on the edge of Quebec’s vast wilderness, Dépanneur R. Prud’homme combines a modern approach with small-town charm BY MARK CARDWELL PHOTOS JUSTIN LAPIERRE



| MAY/JUNE 2020



How is it that a family-owned convenience store and gas station in a remote corner of Quebec has generated more than

40,000 followers on its

Facebook page, making it by far the most popular dépanneur on social media in la belle province?

“I think it reflects the quality of our store and products and the way we treat our employees and customers,” says Vicky Beauséjour, who helps run Dépanneur R. Prud’homme, a family business owned and operated by her parents, Éric Beauséjour and Nathalie Richard. Located in the small town of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, a two-hour drive north of Montreal at the end of a provincial highway, the store, which operates under the Beau-soir banner, is the last place where cottage- and camping-bound tourists can buy food, gas and other c-store items before entering Quebec’s vast wilderness. “Don’t think that because we’re in a remote community this is a sleepy, backwoods business,” 25-year-old Vicky told Convenience Store News Canada during a recent phone interview. “We have a modern, big-city store with friendly, small-town charm.”

‘Don’t think that because we’re in a remote community this is a sleepy, backwoods business’ Built and opened in the fall of 2017 (next to the now-demolished, decades-old general store that the family bought in 2012), the store features the same menu of homemade traditional and fast food items—everything from chicken pie and ragout to pizza and poutine, eaten on premise or takeout—that earned the original store local fame. It also stocks a growing variety of specialty local food products, including craft beer, wine, dairy and charcuterie, as well as modern ready-to-eat and madeto-order items that span healthy snacks, breakfast sandwiches, daily lunch specials and meals. All are made fresh daily in the big kitchen, where most of the store’s 15 full-time employees work under the supervision of Richard, a trained chef who also runs a local catering service.




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The store’s foodservice offering has expanded to include a well-stocked salad bar, which Vicky says was added at customers’ bequest: “We’re glad we did because it’s very popular.” Another popular feature— one that has been a game changer for the family’s business—is the Esso gas station. “Adding gas was big because it made us a one-stop destination for both locals and tourists,” says Vicky, a new mom who works throughout the store, often alongside her fiancé, Marc-André Soulière. “Now people don’t have to run around to different stores to find things. We’ve got it all here.” While it was her mom who showed her how to cook as a young child, Vicky credits her dad, Éric, a former candy salesman who always dreamed of being a c-store owner, for her entrepreneurial

zeal. “My dad’s like a big kid. He loves to be at the store meeting people and being involved in everything. I’m a lot like him.” They use the store’s Facebook page to actively promote the business and to post updates, like the closure of the store’s dining area during the COVID-19 crisis and the expansion of home delivery service. “We use social media a lot to announce our menus or promotions, like draws,” says Vicky. She credits those postings—including several of customers posing with a skid of Budweiser cases made to look like a single case costing nearly $4,000 (part of a promotion by Labatt)—for generating both buzz and likes online. “We work hard to provide people with the things they want and need,” she adds. “ I think people understand and appreciate that.” ◗

Snapshot Location: The Saint-Michel-des-Saints-based store is the last place where cottagers and campers can buy food, gas and other c-store items before entering Quebec’s vast wilderness. Social media: Boasts more than 40,000 followers and likes on Facebook. Appeal: Operates year-round, offering a popular and extensive foodservice menu, as well as c-store essentials, gas and alcohol.

The Beauséjour family’s top tips ➦



1 | Listen to employees:

“They are the most valuable asset a store owner has. They are on the front line for us every day. They are constantly interacting with customers and can provide valuable insights and feedback on services and operations.”

| MAY/JUNE 2020

2 | Listen to customers:

“If someone asks for and wants a new product or service we will try to get it for them, like with gas or local food products or craft beers. That’s really the foundation of our business.”

3 | Work as a team:

“It’s not easy running a big familyowned retail business that’s open every day because you can never forget about it. You have to talk and communicate to make it work.”




Accelerate your business


GREATER VANCOUVER October 27-28, 2020 Tradex, Abbotsford


March 2-3, 2021

Toronto Congress Centre ConvenienceU.ca | CARWACS.com



It’s crunch time for salty snacks New options and flavours expand the market Who needs sugary snacks when you can have salty ones? That seems to be the thinking of many Canadian consumers opting for savoury munchies these days. Mintel research shows the salty snack market is poised for more growth this year and that has attracted new players to the Canadian market, such as Kellogg’s Cheez-It Crackers introduced early this year. Revenue from potato chips alone in 2020 is expected to edge upward by 1.4%, according to Statista. That is good news for c-stores when it comes to ‘crunching’ sales figures. The numbers are no surprise to Ajay Handa, business head, Canada, of Future Enterprises Pte Ltd./Food Empire, who brought Singapore-made Kracks stackable potato chips to this country almost three years ago. He says Canadians are voracious consumers—the highest in the world. “The shelf space devoted to potato chips is larger than that devoted to them anywhere in Europe,” he notes. “A large percentage of sales in Canada comes from convenience stores so they are important channels.” The brand supports sales through consumer promotions and social media campaigns to build awareness. He suggests c-stores can maximize sales by having newer products, like Kracks, available next to big players in the potato chip sector so shoppers can access a competitively priced alternative. In April, Kracks, available in resealable canisters, added two new flavours—cheese and hot and spicy—to its top-selling roster, which includes original, sour cream and onion, wasabi, and barbecue. The focus on daring flavours is an unstoppable trend—one that Bigs roasted sunflower seeds has embraced wholeheartedly. “We are known for developing products that deliver on big, bold flavour,” says Andrea



| MAY/JUNE 2020

Stodart, marketing director, snacks, Conagra Brands Canada. “Partnering with unique brands like Taco Bell has given Bigs a point of differentiation in the market. The latest flavour from Bigs— Smokey Bar-B-Q, in partnership with Stubb’s Bar-B-Q sauce—has launched in Canada and is rolling out in stores throughout April.” Offering a unique taste is just one part of the strategy to stand out in a competitive market. This spring, Conagra is launching a promotion with Toronto Blue Jays third baseman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In-store displays, digital ads, and a strong presence on Instagram and Facebook will be a home run for fans of Guerrero’s and Bigs sunflower seeds. Salty snack enthusiasts are also health-conscious, opening the door for innovation and new players. You could say that Saskatoon-based Three Farmers is feeling the ‘pulse’ of these consumers. Its latest introduction, Crunchy Little Lentils, offers crunchiness, fibre, iron and a protein kick (18 g per 28 g serving) in four flavours, including barbecue, garlic and herb. It joins chickpea and pea SKUs. “Three Farmers Foods is focused on nutrient-dense, whole foods that taste good and satisfy, not only those salty cravings but the desired crunch and nutrition that consumers are looking for,” says co-owner Elysia Vandenhurk. “Many ‘pulse’ snacks are highly refined into puffs, chips or other snack types. Our snack lines are minimally processed, and keep the quality and integrity of each ingredient intact.” With more, better-for-you salty snacks launching, what can c-stores do to capture the attention of consumers and boost sales? Brandon Whitehead, marketing and social media manager, On The Go (owned by

Stanmar International), offers a suggestion: “Create a healthy/natural section or premium snack section with focused signage to highlight healthier snack options.” Among them should be salty-sweet snacks, the latest global trend. On The Go Fusion Snacks satisfies both preferences with a trail mix made from roasted, salted edamame beans and sulphite-free dried fruit, like goji berries and cranberries. A granola-based snack mix is coming soon. “Consumers want healthier snack options with low sugar, low fat, lower sodium and high protein. This is why On The Go is such a great product. It ticks all those boxes.” ◗


Payment Solutions Report

Look, no hands: Convenience shoppers prefer to tap and pay BY MICHELLE WARREN

Cash is no longer king, having been dethroned by shoppers opting for contactless payments at the c-store level. Fittingly, a primary driver is overall convenience, as shoppers seek quick and easy ways to pay, whether in store or at the pump, according to Convenience Store News Canada’s proprietary research report C-store IQ: A National Shopper Study. C-Store IQ is the first convenience and gas specific study that delves into the wants, needs, perspectives and habits of Canadian consumers. Of course, these days contactless isn’t just the word for tapping to pay with a credit card, debit card or mobile app—it’s a strategy to help combat the spread of COVID-19. According to C-store IQ research, the definition of convenience, for most shoppers, is an experience that ultimately saves time and effort: 41% of those surveyed said it purely comes down to having a “convenient” experience and 34% define this as a “quick stop/in and out.” This need for speed extends to the checkout experience, CCentral.ca

where tap and pay rules. It’s the method of choice for 67% of Canadian c-store shoppers when asked: “How did you pay for your purchase during your most recent in-store visit to a convenience store?”


✔ Wipe using a lightly damp microfibre cloth only ✔ Make sure to disconnect and turn off the terminals first ✔ Do not use solvents, detergents, or abrasive cleaners ✔ Devices may be disinfected using a suitable alcohol-based wipe or disinfectant applied to a microfibre cloth *Source: Moneris

35% used a debit card 31% used a credit card 30% reached for cash 1% opted for mobile payment 1% used a gift card 0.3% used a retailer’s mobile app

Of course not everyone has access to a debit or credit card, which highlights another key payment option—prepaid reloadable cards issued by credit card companies. In most cases, these are sold by c-stores alongside gift cards. Convenient for everyday spending, they’re suitable for people who might not qualify for a credit card, budgeting or privacy, as well as for children as an allowance card. C-store IQ data shows that 6% of shoppers purchased a gift or prepaid card during their most recent visit—that’s more than those who purchased wine (3%) or e-cigarettes (3%). Overall, research shows younger shoppers demonstrate higher usage of debit and MAY/JUNE 2020


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66% mobile payment compared to older generations. As a result, convenience stores will continue to feel the pressure to offer more digital or frictionless shopping, payment, and promotional solutions. That pressure is mounting in the era of COVID-19, with customers across generations getting on board to minimize handling cash and the hand-to-hand contact involved with payment and making change.

The future is frictionless Whether spurred by convenience or precaution, C-store IQ findings are in line with overall payment trends across Canada. New technology and payments innovation are transforming the way Canadian consumers make payments, according to Payments Canada’s annual Canadian Payment Methods and Trends report: “In pursuit of more convenient, faster and secure payment experiences, Canadians are rapidly adopting newer digital channels, such as contactless (tapping card or mobile), e-commerce, mobile and online transfers.” · Contactless payments grew 30% yearover-year from 2017 to 2018, with a total of 4.1 billion contactless payments (card and mobile) worth $129.9 billion at the point-of-sale · Debit represents almost 60% of volume for these contactless payments · Debit, often viewed as a convenient substitute for cash, overtook cash for the first time · Mobile devices were used by nearly 35% of Canadians for contactless payments on a regular basis

“We are at a pivotal moment, with a number of key driving forces that are accelerating the transformation of Canada’s payment environment,” Cyrielle Chiron, Payments Canada’s head of research and strategic foresight, said in a statement. “Evolving technology and industry innovation are changing the game, fuelled by consumer and business demands for friction-free, fast and secure payments.”

To be adaptable is to be mobile While mobile payments represent a slower uptake than cards overall, nowhere is this more apparent than at the c-store level, according to data from C-store IQ. However, the 1% of shoppers who paid with their



| MAY/JUNE 2020

used a credit or debit card

Most recent convenience trip spend

30% reached for cash

mobile during their last c-store visit doesn’t tell the whole story. Broken down by generation: 4% of millennials used mobile payment or a retailer’s mobile app, compared to 1% of Gen X and less than 1% of boomers. Survey participants said they used mobile payment apps far more frequently during transactions with grocery stores, big box and restaurants. This indicates the issue might be one of the payment option simply not being widely available at the c-store level. In fact, when shoppers did have the opportunity for mobile payment at a convenience store, more than 80% rated their experience as satisfied or very satisfied. This further implies that speed and value are primary expectations of c-store shoppers. There are generally two approaches at the c-store level: 1. Accept payments via mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. Basically, this means ensuring your terminal is programmed so customers can tap and pay with their mobile phone. 2. Create a branded mobile app with inapp payment functionality. This is an effective way to build brand loyalty and engage with customers through rewards and special offers. Starbucks does a great job of this. Overall, mobile payments represent a massive opportunity for c-stores, especially when it comes to satisfying younger shoppers. And, in most cases, this doesn’t require a whole lot of work at the operator level if your terminal is already enabled for contactless card transactions.

I purchased gasoline only: 2% Less than $2: 4% $2-$4.99: 14% $5-$9.99: 24% $10-$14.99: 19% $15-$19.99: 13% $20-$30: 12% $30 or more: 10% I don’t know/can’t recall: 2%

Cash on demand While digital payment methods are growing in scope, it’s worth noting that cash still has a valuable role to play on the c-store landscape—after all, it usually accounts for 30% of transactions. The Canadian Bankers Association emphasizes that while consumers are increasingly using touchless payment (especially during the COVID-19 crisis) cash remains important. In fact, the Bank of Canada recently stepped in, “strongly” urging retailers to accept cash: “Refusing cash could put an undue burden on people who depend on cash as a means of payment.” Convenience stores also play an important role in ensuring Canadians have easy access to cash. Of the ancillary services offered by c-stores, ATMs came out on top, with 24% using an in-store ATM, according to C-store IQ data. In this case, millennials (29%) are more likely than boomers (20%) to use the ATM. The bottom line, according to data from C-store IQ, is convenience stores that prioritize simplifying the shopping and purchase steps are more likely to see rewards with increased traffic and basket size. This means operators of all sizes can benefit from offering multiple payment solutions spanning credit, debit, mobile and prepaid card acceptance. Whatever the motivation—speed or safety— as more consumers go contactless, they’re opting to shop at c-stores and gas sites that accommodate such payment solutions.◗

Prepay at the pump

There’s a growing movement encouraging all gas customers to prepay at the pump with a debit, credit or mobile app. The push is designed to protect customers and employees. ✔ Less traffic in stores ✔ Less hand-to-hand contact at checkout ✔ Minimizes theft in the form drive-offs CCentral.ca



C-store Solutions Directory Welcome to the inaugural C-store Solutions Directory, a valuable resource for convenience operators across Canada. The focus is on essential equipment—from security to refrigeration, signage, displays and safety shields—necessary in the day-to-day running of a c-store. The goal is to bridge the gap between operators and suppliers; saving everyone valuable time and ensuring you have the information you need, when you need it, at your fingertips.




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Display Fixtures AM Shelving Inc. Artitalia Canada

Architectural Décor Systems & Services

Artitalia Group Inc. Bestworth Rommel Goldcon Industries Ltd. Roll-A-Shade Ultra-Lite Shutters


Access Cash General Partnership Cardtronics Sureguard / Post Guard

Automation/Back Office Software Solutions

ADD Systems CStorePro Technologies Inc. Infonet Technology Corporation SPS Commerce

Bases, Light/Sign

Hi-Sharp Products Inc. Instachange Displays Ltd. KMD Distribution Inc. Teksign Inc. Webco Lighting Ltd. Westeco Inc.

C-store Layout & Design

AM Shelving Inc. Artitalia Canada Continental Store Fixture Group Inc. DSL Inc. Goldcon Industries Ltd. McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. Movilume Inc. Roll-A-Shade STM Display Sales


Goldcon Industries Ltd. McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. Shure Manufacturing STM Display Sales Talius Ultra-Lite Shutters

Cashless Debit Leaders

Global Payments Canada Inc. MONEXgroup



Checkout Equipment Goldcon Industries Ltd. MONEXgroup Shure Manufacturing

Cigarette Cabinets

AM Shelving Inc. McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. SITE Capital Talius

Cigarette Dispensing Machines Artitalia Canada VDMS Canada

Cigarette Merchandising Screens Goldcon Industries Ltd. Instachange Displays Ltd. VDMS Canada Inc.

Cigarette Pricing Signs VDMS Canada Inc.

Cigarette Security Merchandisers

McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. Talius VDMS Canada Inc.

Computer Software Management Systems Hi-Sharp Products Inc. Infonet Technology Corp. PDI Software SIR Solutions SSCS Toshiba Tec Canada Inc.

Computing Registers SIR Solutions Toshiba Tec Canada Inc. Wiz-Tec Computing Technologies Inc.

Credit/Debit Card Terminals

Global Payments Canada Inc. Verifone Inc.

| MAY/JUNE 2020

Continental Store Fixture Group Inc.

Forte Products Goldcon Industries Ltd. Instachange Displays Ltd. LSI Industries Inc. McCowan Manufacturing Movilume Inc. Promolux Lighting International RTS Retail SRP Canada (Creative Planogram Company) STM Display Sales Ultra-Lite Shutters Wilson Display Limited

Display Fixtures, Refrigerated

Promolux Lighting International Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd.

Fixtures & Heated Displays Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd.

Food & Beverage Service Counters AM Shelving Inc. Continental Store Fixture Group Inc. Country Style, Mr.Sub divisions of MTY Group McCowan Manufacturing Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd.

Food Storage & Preparation Forte Products

Food Storage, Freezers

Forte Products GBS Foodservice Equipment Igloo Refrigeration Minus Forty Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd.

Foodservice Equipment

DSL Inc. GBS Foodservice Equipment Hubert Canada Igloo Refrigeration Market Group Ventures Inc TFI Food Equipment Solutions

Garbage & Recycling Bins Forte Products McCowan Manufacturing Paris Site Furnishings


Erb And Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd.

LED Signs

Country Signs Movilume Inc. Nu-Media Display Systems Teksign Inc. Wallace E. McBrien Inc. Webco Lighting Ltd.

LED Retrofits

FC Lighting | SSL Flexx Corporation Market Group Ventures Inc. Movilume Inc. Pappi Lighting PM Electric Corporation Principal LED Teksign Inc. Wallace E. McBrien Inc. Webco Lighting Ltd.


Cool Fin LED Cree Lighting Webco Lighting Ltd.

Lighting Controls

Digital Electric/Digital CSM FC Lighting | SSL LSI Industries Inc. Movilume Inc. Wallace E. McBrien Inc. Westeco Inc.

Lights, Sign

Country Signs ElectraLED Inc. Everbrite LLC FC Lighting | SSL Instachange Displays Ltd. LSI Industries Inc. Movilume Inc. Novyc International Pappi Lighting PM Electric Corporation Principal LED Promolux Lighting International Teksign Inc. Wallace E. McBrien Inc. Webco Lighting Ltd. Westeco Inc. CCentral.ca

C-store Solutions Directory 2020

Lights, Drop

POS Software & Systems

FC Lighting | SSL Movilume Inc. PM Electric Corporation Promolux Lighting International Teksign Inc. Webco Lighting Ltd. Westeco Inc .

Infonet Technology Corporation MONEXgroup PDI Software SIR Solutions Verifone Inc. Waleco Inc. Wiz-Tec Computing Technologies Inc.

InComm Canada SIR Solutions

Global Payments Canada Inc. MONEXgroup National Parts Distributing Ltd. SITE Capital Toshiba Tec Canada Inc. Verifone Inc Wiz-Tec Computing Technologies Inc.

Loyalty & Gift Card Programs


Continental Store Fixture Group Inc. Forte Products Goldcon Industries Ltd. RTS Retail SRP Canada (Creative Planogram Company) STM Display Sales Sureguard / Post Guard Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd.

Marketing, On Site Gorrie Marketing

Money Handling Equipment Gunnebo Canada MONEXgroup Toshiba Tec Canada Inc.

Outdoor Furnishings Paris Site Furnishings

Personal Protective Equipment

POS Terminals

Refrigeration Equipment

Market Group Ventures Inc. Minus Forty Norbec Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd.

Registers, Sales & Service Creative POS Ltd. SIR Solutions Toshiba Tec Canada Inc.

Risk Management

Erb And Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd. Gunnebo Canada SSCS

ATM Reliability is Not a Given Cardtronics, the world’s largest ATM operator, is your safe and stable partner in ATM management, processing and service in Canada.

2555176 Ontario Inc. Cole-Palmer Canada Company Instachange Displays Ltd. Robco Inc.

POP Materials

Innovative service

Competitive ATM pricing

POS Signage

Proven crisis management

Local support

Gorrie Marketing Instachange Displays Ltd. RTS Retail SRP Canada (Creative Planogram Company) United Sign Gorrie Marketing Instachange Displays Ltd. STM Display Sales Teksign Inc. United Sign Webco Lighting Ltd.


www.cardtronics.ca | solutions@cardtronics.ca | 1.888.414.3733


Safety Shields/Barriers

Access Cash General Partnership 4-191 Attwell Dr. Etobicoke ON M9W 5Z2 Tel: 1.888.289.3939 www.access-cash.com

Continental Store Fixture Group Inc. 3432 Garrard Rd. Whitby, ON L1R 2C1 Tel: 647.808.2837 www.continentalsfg.com

Security Storage Cabinets

ADD Systems 6 Laurel Dr. Flanders, NJ 07836 Tel: 800.922.0972 www.addsys.com

Cool Fin LED 18805 – 87 A Ave. Edmonton, AB T5T 5Z7 Tel: 780.905.3970 www.coolfinled.ca

ADT Security Services Canada Inc. 2815 Matheson Blvd. E. Mississauga, ON L4W 5J8 Tel: 888.474.6307 www.adt.ca

Country Signs 75 Industrial Rd. Tottenham, ON L0G 1W0 Tel: 905.936.5888 www.countrysigns.ca

AM Shelving Inc. 18 Progress Ave. Toronto, ON M1P 2Y4 Tel: 844.686.1786 www.amshelving.ca

Country Style MR.SUB - divisions of MTY Group 2 East Beaver Creek Rd. Building One Richmond Hill, ON L4B 2N3 Tel: 905.762.4681 kweldman@mtygroup.com

Instachange Displays McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. Robco Inc. STM Display Sales Inc. Gunnebo Canada McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. Shure Manufacturing Talius VDMS Canada Inc.

Security, Equipment & Services ADT Security Services Canada GHC Safety and Security Solutions Gunnebo Canada Protelec Checkmate Shure Manufacturing Talius Toshiba Tec Canada Inc. Ultra-Lite Shutters VDMS Canada Inc.


Country Signs Daktronics Inc. Everbrite LLC Flexx Corporation Formashape Ltd. Instachange Displays Ltd. Media Resources Inc. Novyc International Principal LED Roll-A-Shade Soft Signs SRP Canada (Creative Planogram Company) STM Display Sales Teksign Inc. United Sign


AM Shelving Inc. Continental Store Fixture Group Inc. McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. STM Display Sales Sureguard / Post Guard Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd.

Shelving Systems

AM Shelving Inc. Instachange Displays Ltd. RTM Retail STM Display Sales Sureguard / Post Guard



| MAY/JUNE 2020

Artitalia Group Inc. 11755 Rodolphe Forget Montreal QC H1E 7J8 Tel: 514.643.0114 www.artitalia.com Bestworth Rommel 19818 74th Ave. NE. Arlington, WA 98223 Tel: 360.435.2927 www.bestworth.com Brokerhouse Distributors 108-4 Woodbine Downs Blvd. Rexdale, ON M9W 5S6 Tel: 416.798.3537 johnq@brokerhousedist.com Bulloch Technologies 6275 Northam Dr. Unit 5 Mississauga, ON L4V 1Y8 Tel: 416.574.2242 www.bullochtech.com Cardtronics 3269 American Drive Mississauga ON L4V 1V4 Tel: 1.866.877.8384 www.cardtronics.ca Cole-Palmer Canada Company 210-5101 Buchan St. Montreal , QC H4P 2R9 Tel: 1.800.363.5900 www.coleparmer.ca

CStorePro Technologies, Inc. One Sugar Creek Center Blvd., Suite 1050 Sugar Land, TX 77478 Tel: 866.265.5826 www.cstorepro.com Creative POS Ltd. 2600 Skymark Ave. Building 4, Suite 104 Mississauga ON L4W5B2 Tel: 416.894.0446 www.creativepos.ca Cree Lighting 4401 Silicon Dr. Durham NC 27703 Tel: 1.800.236.6800 www.lighting.cree.com CTM Design Services, Ltd. 210, 340 Midpark Way SE. Calgary, AB T2X 1P1 Tel: 403.640.0990 www.ctmdesign.ca Daktronics Inc. 331 32nd Ave. Brookings, SD 57006 Tel: 605.696.3567 tschlim@daktronics.com CCentral.ca

C-store Solutions Directory 2020 Digital Electric/Digital CSM 3474 Mainway Burlington, ON L7M 1A8 Tel: 905.335.2999 digital-electricinc.com Distex 585 Avenue Meloche Dorval QC H9P 2T1 Tel: 514.382.3620 www.distex.ca DSL 14520-128 Ave. NW. Edmonton, AB T5L 3H6 Tel: 800.665.1125 www.dslinc.com ElectraLED, Inc. 12722 62nd St. N, Suite 200 Largo, FL 33773 Tel: 727.561.7610 www.electraLED.com Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers 818 Victoria St. N. Kitchener, ON N2B 3C1 Tel: 800.265.2634 www.erb-erb.com Everbrite LLC 4949 S 110th St. Greenfield, WI 53228 Tel: 414.529.3500 ckrebs@everbrite.com EXP Services Inc. 1595 Clark Blvd. Brampton, ON L6T 4V1 Tel: 905.793.9800 www.exp.com FC Lighting | SSL 3609 Swenson Ave. St. Charles, IL 60174 Tel: 800.900.1730 www.fclighting.com Flexx Corporation 1460 Bishop St. N. Cambridge, ON N1R 7N6 Tel: 519.621.9955 nando@flexx.ca Food Service Solutions Inc.

2 - 6599 Kitimat Rd. Mississauga, ON L5N 4J4 Tel: 905.363.0309 foodservicesolutions.ca

FormaShape Ltd. 9505 Haldane Rd. Kelowna, BC V4V 2K5 Tel: 250.766.5152 www.formashape.com

Hubert Canada 108 Valleywood Dr. Markham ON L3R6G1 Tel: 905.752.3025 www.hubert.ca

Infonet Technology Corporation 3480 Gilmore Way Suite 202 Burnaby, BC V5G 4Y1 Tel: 888.925.8125 sales@infonet-tech.com

Forte Products 4801 Main St. Kansas City, MO 64112 Tel: 816.813.3337 dhimes@ forteproducts.com

I.C.E. Inc. 68 Route 125 Kingston, NH 3848 Tel: 603.347.3005 www.icesigns.com

Instachange Displays (IDL) 1360 Harry Walker Pkwy. S. #1-3 Newmarket, ON L3Y 9E9 Tel: 1.877.579.1882 www.idldisplays.com

Igloo Refrigeration 124 Norfinch Dr. Toronto ON M3N 1X1 Tel: 1.888.408.8819 www.igloofoodequipment.com

LSI Industries Inc. 10000 Alliance Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45242 Tel: 513.379.3200 www.lsi-industries.com

InComm Canada 7025 Langer Dr. Mississauga, ON L5N 0E8 Tel: 905-567-5040 www.incomm.com

Market Group Ventures Inc. PO Box 40 Shawnigan Lake, BC V0R 2W0 Tel: 250.743.1222 www.pled.promolux.com

GBS Food Service Equipment 2871 Brighton Rd. Oakville, ON L6H 6C9 Tel: 1.888.402.1242 www.gbscooks.com GHC Safety and Security Solutions 7450 1st Line RR3 Arthur, ON N0G 1A0 Tel: 519.848.2171 admin@ ghcsafetyandsecurity.com Global Payments Canada Inc. 200-3381 Steeles Ave. E. Toronto, ON M2H 3S7 Tel: 800.263.2970 info.canada@globalpay.com Goldcon Industries Ltd. 7331 Bramalea Rd. Mississauga, ON L5S 1C5 Tel: 905.671.1746 nash@goldcon.com Gorrie Marketing 2770 Matheson Blvd. E. Mississauga, ON L4W 4M5 Tel: 416.760.9100 www.gorrie.com www.gorriercp.com Gunnebo Canada 9 Van der Graaf Crt. Brampton, ON L6T 5E5 Tel: 877.486.6326 www.gunnebo.ca Hi-Sharp Products Inc. 69 Baywood Rd. Unit 1 Etobicoke, ON M9V 3Y8 Tel: 647.221.8340 ed@hisharpproducts.com


INNOVATION + DURABILITY + MODULARITY Experts in complete modular store fixture solutions for Convenience & Gas Bar, Pharmacy, Food Service & other Specialty Retailers Our Products Include: Cash Desk / Paypoint Systems Service Counter Systems Gondola & Shelving Pharmacy Forecourt Solutions Signage Tobacco Displays Security Solutions Specialty Displays


Our Services Include: Project Management from design & layout to production, rollout & installation In-House Design & Engineering 200,000 Square Feet domestic manufacturing space

From idea to installation, let’s work together on your next project.

Import through network of offshore suppliers


C-store Solutions Directory 2020 McCowan Manufacturing Ltd. 1760 Birchmount Rd. Toronto, ON M1P 2H7 Tel: 416.291.7111 www.mccowan.ca

PM Electric Corporation 12925-148th St. Edmonton, AB T5L 2H9 Tel: 780.454.6490 www.pmelectric.ca

SRP Canada 802 Cochrane Dr. Suite 1 Markham, ON L3R 8C9 Tel: 905.947.8791 kjohnson@creativeplanco.com

United Sign 444 Irwin Ave. Muskegon, MI 49444 Tel: 231.733.5692 rbogue@UnitedSign.com

Media Resources 1387 Cornwall Rd. Oakville, ON L6L 7T5 Tel: 416.213.0993 www.mediaresources.com

Principal LED 3490 Venture Dr. San Angelo, TX 76904 Tel: 810.632.5004 jeffb@p-led.com

VDMS Canada Inc. 2460 Tedlo St. Unit C Mississauga, ON L5A 3V3 Tel: 888.611.VDMS www.venddatams.com

Minus Forty 30 Armstrong Ave. Georgetown, ON L7G 4R9 Tel: 905.702.1441 www.minusforty.com

Promolux Lighting 1869 East Shawnigan Lake Rd. Shawnigan Lake, B.C. V0R 2W0 Tel: 1.800.519.1222 www.promolux.com

Service Station Computer Systems, Inc. 650 Work St., Suite A Salinas, CA 93901 Tel: 800.972.7727 www.sscsinc.com

MONEXgroup 5075 Yonge St #301 Toronto, ON M2N 6C6 Tel: 866.286.7787 www.monexgroup.com

Robco Inc. 7200 St. Patrick LaSalle, Que. H8N 2W7 Tel: 514.367.2252 www.robco.com

Movilume Inc. 96070 42 Ave. NW. Edmonton, AB T6E 5R2 Tel: 780.851.2280 www.movilume.com

Roll-A-Shade 112 College St. Toronto, ON M5G 1L6 Tel: 416.639.1365 paul.bruin@rollashade.com

NORBEC 97 Rue de Vaudreuil Boucherville QC J4B 1K7 Tel: 450.449.1499 www.norbec.com

RTS Retail 1027 Industrial Place St. Clements, ON N0B 2M0 Tel: 800.663.2803 www.rtsretail.ca

Nu-Media Display Systems Inc. 165 Matheson Blvd. E. Mississauga, ON L4Z 3K2 Tel: 905.568.0990 www.nu-mediadisplays.com

Shure Manufacturing 1901 West Main St. Washington, MO 63090 Tel: 800.227.4873 www.shureusa.com

Pappi Lighting 5598 Ambler Dr. Mississauga, ON L4W 2K9 Tel: 905.625.1139 www.pappilighting.com

SIR Solutions 3565 Jarry E, Suite 650 Montreal, QC H1Z 4K6 Tel: 844.687.6747 infoventes@sirsolutions.com

Paris Site Furnishings PO Box 490, 259 Third Concession Rd. Princeton ON N0J 1VO Tel: 519.458.4882 www.peml.com

SITE Capital 1100 Burloak Dr., 6th Floor Burlington, ON L7L 6B2 Tel: 905.319.9956 www.sitecapital.ca

PDI Software 11675 Rainwater Dr. Suite 300 Alpharetta, GA 30009 Tel: 254.410.7600 www.pdisoftware.com



Soft Signs 207353 Hwy. 9 Mono, ON L9W 6J2 Tel: 519.938.9986 www.softsigns.com

| MAY/JUNE 2020

SPS Commerce 44 Peel Centre Dr. Suite 300 Brampton, ON L6T 4B5 Tel: 905.458.9262 www.spscommerce.com

Verifone Inc. 36 Sherwood St. Brockville, ON K6V 5N2 Tel: 613.498.6212 jim_s6@verifone.com

STM Display Sales 2230 Meadowpine Blvd. Mississauga, ON L5N 6H6 Tel: 888.846.6548 www.stmdisplays.com

Wallace E. McBrien Inc. 35 Taylor Blvd. Port Perry, ON L9L 1B2 Tel: 905.985.5550 /Toronto 416.494.2407 wemcbrien@bellnet.ca

Sureguard/Post Guard 5 Shirley Ave. Kitchener, ON N2B 2E6 Tel: 800.756.3537 www.sureguard.ca

Webco Lighting Ltd. #8-2100 Denview Ave. London, ON N6G OJ5 Tel: 519.643.6913 db@webcolighting.com

Talius 5501-46 Ave. SE. Coquitlam, BC V3K6M8 Tel: 604.468.7655 www.talius.com

Westeco Inc. #101, 125 South Ave. Spruce Grove, AB T7X 3B3 Tel: 780.962.2530 jamie@westeco.ca

Teksign Inc. 86 Plant Farm Blvd. Brantford, ON N3S 7W3 Tel: 519.756.1089 www.teksign.com

Western Refrigeration & Beverage Equipment Ltd. 1232-36 Ave. NE. Calgary, AB T2E 6M8 Tel: 403.250.9656 www.wr.ca

TFI Food Equipment 52 Armthorpe Rd. Brampton ON L6T 5M4 Tel: 905.790.2211 www.tficanada.com Toshiba Tec Canada Inc. 370 Britannia Rd. E., Unit 1 Mississauga, ON L4Z 1X9 Tel: 905.890.8283 www.toshibateccanada.com Ultra-Lite Shutters 7307-40 St. SE. Calgary, AB T2C 2K4 Tel: 403.280.2000 www.ultraliteshutters.ca

Wilson Display Ltd. 1645 Aimco Blvd. Mississauga, ON L4W 1H8 Tel: 905.625.9200 www.wilsondisplay.com Wiz-Tec Computing Technologies Inc. 17-4312 Ogden Rd. SE. Calgary, AB T2G 4V3 Tel: 403.250.8660 www.wiz-tec.ca 2555176 Ontario Inc. 16-2590 Carberry Way Oakville, ON L6M 5G2 Tel: 289.795.9899 jhmiller@live.com



Buy design Devin Mahaffey, president of and the aim was to CTM Design, has seen a lot spend as little as you of changes first hand in the could. Now, convec-store space. Back when nience stores are investhis Calgary-based company ing to retain the client first began 30 years ago, it in store much longer. was a different landscape. Flow is important— Convenience stores had limited how to move customers offerings and few amenities. within the space to get He and his firm have been able Devin Mahaffey them to key areas where to lead the way in reimagining they can invest their c-stores to meet the evolving dollars while they’re there. The thought proneeds of modern consumers, operators cess includes what you put front and centre and franchisees. We caught up with and how to catch their eye to drive them him for a peek back—and forward— through the whole space. The worst thing about what’s in store.


How have convenience stores changed over the years?

DM: There’s definitely much more competition now. Back then, they were often small spaces with limited offerings. Now c-stores are quite expansive with various profit centres. There’s a big push right now to offer hot food, like we’re seeing with operators like 7-Eleven and Circle K. They’ve expanded to provide more opportunities for their customers to get the things they need.


What’s influencing your decisions now about design?

DM: We consider a lot more things, especially those related to customer interaction. Our clients are spending money on washrooms, for example. They used to be afterthoughts CCentral.ca

is for customers to come in and go straight to the pay point or sales counter, then avoid 90% of the rest of the store. Our interior designers are talking with our clients about current design trends. They’re engaged in discussions about revamping stores on a much more frequent basis. Those discussions are about revisiting those profit centres and the touch-and-feel aspect of stores. It’s a much more common topic than it used to be.


Can you talk more about those touch and feel aspects?

DM: They are really important—lighting, for example. There was a time when we did store design and wouldn’t give lighting a second thought. Nowadays, we’re running lighting analysis, and following retail space guidelines to ensure products are lit in a way that grabs a customer’s attention. It also includes the aesthetics around coffee

and food—clean design, a wide variety of options, including the addition of health foods and fresh food products. They need to be presented in a manner that really pops.


What have you seen that’s new and notable in design?

DM: We did a recent project for Husky Energy in Banff. They really thought about why visitors were coming to that destination—not just the building’s architecture. They had a higher-end coffee offering and a free bottled water fill-up station. They had top-end fancy washrooms with $10,000 toilets with heated seats and everything was hands-free. They focused on what they knew those particular clients were looking for. They really went out of the box.


What will we be seeing more of in the future?

DM: There’s more attention being paid to picking materials and finishes that can make a store look newer and cleaner longer with less effort from an operational standpoint. There has been a lot of focus on picking those, especially more premium finishes, than we’ve seen in the past. There’s also lots of talk about automation and less necessity for the interaction with someone that’s working at the pay point counter as an example. But, I mean, I think to some degree some of that’s going to be limited as well. We’re always going to need, from a safety standpoint, somebody physically there.◗ MAY/JUNE 2020


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Wake up to a new breakfast routine How convenience can rise to the foodservice occasion Most of us are familiar with the slew of well-known phrases that, for decades, have been imprinted into the eating culture of Canadians. In addition to ‘spinach will make you strong like Popeye’ and ‘carrots will improve your eyesight’, one of the most well worn phrases in the cultural consumption arsenal is ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’.

New dietary regimes

While many of us have grown up believing that skipping breakfast is a blasphemous corruption of dietary obedience, Ipsos FIVE daily consumption tracking reveals that, in the past year, a quarter of Canadians skipped breakfast during an average day. This skipping rate has risen 20% (more than four points) in just the past three years. Given considerable changes in both eating patterns and item choices during that time, the big question is: What is happening at breakfast?

Ipsos FIVE’s daily tracking of what individuals eat and drink reveals that, while three-quarters of consumers believe that breakfast remains an important occasion, there is a new school of thought emerging, one that challenges whether or not the first meal of the day should remain a priority occasion. Undoubtedly, the rising popularity of new eating regimes, including morning fasting (which now ranks third among alternative eating regimes) and adherence to dairy-free diets (which ranks second), are clearly influencing early day eating decisions. Additionally, changes in the ‘how’ may also be contributing to the de-prioritization of breakfast, including shifting togetherness habits at the morning breakfast table. Today, almost two-thirds of first meal (breakfast) occasions are consumed alone, which begs the question: How much time, effort and dollars are consumers willing to invest for a party of one?

Deferring breakfast to morning snack

Slow movement to foodservice

As consumers face the daily early morning gauntlet of hectic commuting schedules, competing family priorities or forgoing breakfast to get a bit of extra sleep, we have often assumed that most simply defer their breakfast to the later less frenetic morning snack occasion. However, this is not always the case. Ipsos FIVE data shows that the majority of those skipping breakfast simply do not eat until lunch, back-end loading their daily eating choices—opting to not eat less, but just to eat later. This presents new challenges, particularly for traditional morning foods and beverages, such as cereal, yogurt and milk. All of these categories are heavily dependent on their inclusion in an ever-shrinking universe of early day consumption occasions.

Although contemporary dietary and cultural trends have altered Canadians’ morning consumption patterns, the five morning Hs (hunger, health, habit, hearty and hurry) remain critical to shaping our food choices in the morning, especially as a wider variety of channels are entering the battle to win a share of stomach at breakfast. With only a slim array of portable breakfast options available, one in five morning occasions are now sourced from foodservice operators, led by strong growth in fast food restaurants (QSR) over the past five years. While the quest for convenience remains a priority for many time-starved consumers opting to pair their morning hot beverage with an evolving array of foods offered away from home, foodservice operators will need to remain committed to also meeting consumers’



| MAY/JUNE 2020

With only a slim array of portable breakfast options available, one in five morning occasions are sourced from foodservice operators

needs for high quality options, including clean labels and nutrient dense benefits.

The rise of early day hearty, warmth and satiation needs The focus on evolving wellness goals in the morning has also given rise to the importance and prioritization of choices that serve to meet a growing variety of functional health needs, while providing distinct emotional benefits. Warming satiation, comfort, gut health, physical energy and mental focus have risen to the top of early morning needs, with consumers trading out traditional food favourites, such as eggs, bacon, pancakes, bagels and vegetables. Food and beverage manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators who want to win the battle for breakfast in the dawn of this new era, should consider creating intentional experiences that are engaging, enjoyable and serve to discourage meal skipping. Consider moving beyond traditional sweet food. Instead, focus on offering savoury options, with a fresh and global flair, that will fill, nourish and delight consumers, while also building a new level of interest and engagement in the still-important breakfast occasion. ◗ Kathy Perrotta is a vice-president with Ipsos Market Strategy and Understanding, working with the Food & Beverage Group Syndicated Services. Data sources within this group include, Ipsos FIVE and Foodservice Monitor (FSM).


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Beaudry & Cadrin Inc. Ben Deshaies Inc. Consultants de L’Arctique Distribution Regitan F. Charest Ltée.



Beech Brothers Ltd. Campbellford Wholesale Co. Ltd. Courtney’s Distributing Inc. Falls Wholesale Ltd. Farquhar Massey Wholesale Ltd. Fortier Beverages Ltd. Hyde’s Distribution J.N. Webb & Sons Ltd. Loudon Bros. Ltd. Ritchie’s Wholesale Ltd. Wallace & Carey Inc.

Brown Derby Wholesale Ltd. - NL Capital Foodservice Ltd. - NB Carol-Wabush Distributing - NL C.L. Comeau & Cie Ltée. - NB E.L. Bugden Ltd. - NL F.J. Wadden & Sons Ltd. - NL Goulding’s Wholesale Ltd. - NL J.B. Hand & Sons Ltd. - NL Kays Wholesale Inc. - PEI Nor-Lab Ltd. - NL


Convenience and COVID-19 For Canadian operators, it’s anything but business as usual When provinces and territories across the country recognized convenience and gas operators as essential services, it brought with it mixed emotions for those on the front lines. On one hand, operators were honoured to step up and serve their communities in times of crisis, on the other, they were concerned about safeguarding staff and customers, stocking shelves with key items and, in some cases, keeping the lights on. Early in pandemic, Convenience Store News Canada surveyed readers online, asking: “How is the coronavirus affecting your business?” We followed up with: “How optimistic are you about the future of your business?” What we heard again and again was concern about how to protect employees and where to access personal protection gear. Others were dismayed by some customers, who at first didn’t seem to be taking stay-athome measures seriously and regularly popping in for non-essential items. As time went on, operators noted that people were catching on; adhering to social distancing measures and respecting reduced store hours. Overwhelmingly, people were interested in how this would play out long term. Would their business survive? Could they make rent and pay staff? Would they be able to access supplies to stock shelves? While many of those questions have since been answered, there is still some uncertainty as everyone adjusts to the new normal. There’s also a great deal of resilience, pride and optimism. Operators understand the important role they play in their communities and that remains consistent. C-stores are there for customers looking for flour, a carton of milk or a comforting treat that can offer a spot of brightness during challenging times.

Here’s what some of you had to say about running a business during coronavirus and the future of convenience. *responses edited for clarity and space



| MAY/JUNE 2020

COVID-19 affected our c-store dramatically, from supply shortages in almost every category to panic shoppers. We had to place limits on certain products—eggs, bread, toilet paper—to ensure enough for all our customers. We’ve had to reach out to different and new suppliers for products. At the same time, we’ve adjusted to the increased disinfecting process, which never stops. We installed clear glass to protect employees at the checkouts. We shortened our hours. Through social media and word of mouth customers are very understanding. We’ve put in place for our employees, strict new rules in regards to hand washing, distancing ourselves from each other and wearing our PPE as required. We are in this for the long haul: We are an essential service that the community needs and we will be there for them.” We are very optimistic about the future of our business. Our sales have increased as more locals are choosing to shop local, small c-stores. We are getting through this and look forward to the summer season ahead. Yes there will be new challenges, but together we will get through it.

We are still operating two c-store gas stations and offering full serve and self serve at the pumps. We have provided our staff with as much PPE as we can get and installed shields around each pay point. Face masks are hard to find and very expensive. Nitrile gloves and plain ol’ soap and water round out our regime. Staff is diligently disinfecting commonly touched areas. We discourage the use of cash— we haven’t banned it all together but we ask our customers if they have any other method they can use, that they use it. We reduced our operating hours a little and we will stay open as long as we have staff prepared to come to work. I look forward to welcoming back our customers that haven’t been getting out: We miss them. We are doing everything we can to ensure staff and customers are as safe as possible and our loyal customers appreciate that. We are very optimistic about the future, we have adapted to our new normal: We are in this for the long haul. I’ve learned not to take things for granted; we need to be prepared to change gears at a moment’s notice. Maybe it’s changing staff schedules, maybe ordering less inventory or more inventory, but you have to be tuned in to your local marketplace and be able to roll with the punches and adapt quickly.

MILTON AND DENISE WILSON Denise Wilson Foods Burks Falls, Ont.

STEPHANIE NORMORE Woodward's C-Store and Gas Happy Valley Goose Bay, N.L. CCentral.ca

We are a small business in the smallest city in Canada—700 people here. It has been very hard to get the supplies we need to stay open. Our business has dropped by about half in sales, but we are here as long as we can to serve the community. HARDY SKOTT My Udder Store, Greenwood B.C.

We are currently down 60% and decreasing in sales everyday inside the store and fuel sales. I am one of two gas stations in my community, so we will at least keep the fuel open if we are in need of closing our store. We are currently doing all food and coffee orders as take out and full service (i.e. we put the sugar and cream in coffee). We are located in a tourist area and people are still coming up from neighbouring cities rather than taking self-isolation seriously. However, this is decreasing daily.

It has slowed down traffic-wise, but in the city of Georgetown people are very appreciative with the fact that we are open. They have gotten to know us over the last 14 years and trust us to always do the right thing. They feel confident to visit us, even during these challenging times, and they commend all the efforts we have put in making this place as safe as possible. They love to come to a safe and very friendly place. We can still be kind and do things to make people happy and hopeful. For example, a regular customer walked in and started clicking photos with the Mitch Marner Red Bull cutout. He told us it was for his friend’s 19-year-daughter, who was a cancer survivor. We let him have the cutout, which he used to surprise this girl, who is a huge fan of Mitch Marner. The greatest experience has been stories of kindness and bravery from regular people. It’s incredible how people are making sacrifices by staying at home without earnings, kids off school, and front-line workers continuing to show up to do important work. I am cautiously optimistic of the future, the reason being that I am fortunate enough to be in this great situation where Suncor, the proud owner of Petro-Canada, has my back. My business is an essential service, so I get to come to work, spend time with my co-workers and with my guests in this incredible community; so for me, there is some semblance of normalcy. We are looking forward to seeing everyone as soon as the lockdown is lifted. Petro-Canada is also rising up to the challenge by authorizing and empowering me to help out people in need. My team has been authorized to buy gas or convenience store items as random acts of kindness for guests who have lost their jobs or front-line health or emergency workers. It’s a great situation where both my co-workers and my guests are thrilled. And, I get emotional about my team, who has never once hesitated in giving their best during these difficult times.

ADAM NAUNDORF Green Lake Station Whistler, B.C.

VINOD IDDYA Petro-Canada with Car Wash and A&W Georgetown, Ont.

We have been lucky enough to have supplies of essentials like eggs, toilet paper, milk, salt, sugar, even when large retailers were out. While we had to limit purchases to one per person, we were able to ensure all customers were (somewhat) satisfied, and had minimal outages. Some people are NOT heeding the stay-home directive— groups of young kids/teens coming in together for snack items, adults who are ‘bored sitting at home’ coming in for chips or ice cream—non-essentials when they should be minimizing their social interactions. I have an elderly mother who is on the at-risk list. I myself am on the at-risk list. My teenage daughter is on the at-risk list. I want to be here for my customers who need necessities—cleaning supplies, food, personal care items and medications. We are located in a remote area, and although our small village does have a grocery store, we don’t want to let our community down. I’ve been quite lucky—our customers are understanding of limits and abiding by the floor markers we’ve put down for line ups. It’s nice when customers thank us for being open, and nice to see the Prime Minister acknowledge front-line workers. Everyone is going through this together, our daily ‘normal’ is fluid, changing every day, if not hourly. We will get through this, together. JULI-ANN LEVA The Store Chippawa, Ont.




| 31



Canada’s Convenience Guru on how the COVID-19 crisis will reshape the industry Six months ago, who would have predicted that a virus would sweep the globe, forcing the closure of schools, restaurants and workplaces across Canada for months? Convenience stores, exempt from closure, quickly proved their worth as essential businesses. With an increasingly diversified product offering and a strong place in the community, research shows consumers are counting on c-stores for the usual fare, as well as household staples usually associated with drug stores and supermarkets.

Russell Large

Hoping that the worst of the crisis is over, attention is turning to recovery, and what the world will look like post-crisis. With new norms like social distancing, consumers are likely to rethink how they want to shop. The onus will be on c-store owners to adapt. Contactless payment innovations will need to be accelerated. And pre-COVID planograms and customer flow maps may no longer work as well as they once did. Russell Large, senior business development manager in Ontario for the Continental Store Fixture Group (and former VP of retail services for Hugh Large & Associates Inc.), charts how the industry can evolve from the pandemic.



| MAY/JUNE 2020


“ CSNC: What concerns have you heard from c-store operators about the coronavirus? RL: I’ve been fielding calls left and right from district managers and independents. They want to know what they should be doing now to stay afloat, how they can help customers through the pandemic and how to make sure stores are ready for customers when they come back in droves.

CSNC: How significant of an impact will the pandemic ultimately have on the industry? RL: Huge. Frictionless payment technology over the past few years has been driven largely by millennials. Now there is a whole other reason why people are going to be interested in it, from tap and pay to pre-order and locker pick-up to mobile app payment. C-store operators who have already made investments in this technology are now way ahead of the curve.

CSNC: With the rise of social distancing, should c-stores be rethinking their floor plans? RL: What is going to become really important is the store entrance. Automatic door systems will need to be the norm, and the entrance area will be nice and wide and offer a clean line to the cashier counter. It will also be more important for customers to feel like they can move around the store without jamming up against one other. That might mean instead of having four gondolas, you have three. The devil is going to be in the details.

CSNC: Do you think barriers between cashiers and customers will become the norm? RL: You are seeing grocery stores install sneeze guards because of the coronavirus: I get why they are doing it. However, if convenience stores put Plexiglas in the whole front cash area, they are losing sight of an important part of the experience for customers. It is important for customers to feel connected CCentral.ca

What is going to become really important is the store entrance. Automatic door systems will need to be the norm, and the entrance area will be nice and wide and offer a clean line to the cashier counter”

and be able to socialize with staff. I hope down the line, when it is safe to do so, we will see these types of barriers come down.

CSNC: At the height of the crisis, we saw supermarkets selling out of cleaning and hygiene products. Is this an area for c-stores to further explore? RL: Good retailers change their merchandise mix on the fly. I suspect those c-stores who were able to stock-up on those items will continue to get traction and even expand the category in their stores, because it has great margins. It also shows that you are not just out to sell gum, meat sticks and slushies, although those are all good. This has been a wake up call to almost every industry, testing their ability to manage the transportation and product supply part of their business. The convenience industry is no different—from tobacco to chips and chocolate bars, everything has to be ordered and then fulfilled. It is a good time to be in a partnership with a full-service wholesale provider (if they have their supply chains and transportation systems sorted). It keeps retailers in the store—out of the big box discount stores—and focused on managing their business for when the customers return, and they will return.

CSNC: It is heartening to hear positive stories about Canadian c-store operators. RL: You don’t have to be a parasite for your business to benefit at this time. People are going to remember the retailers who tried to help, and that goodwill they’ve built up will be theirs to lose.

CSNC: How are independents going to fare through this? RL: You look at the light at the end of the tunnel and hope it is not a train and that things are going to get better. The independent guys with deep pockets are going to fare well because they are entrepreneurial

CSNC: How did product demand change during the pandemic? RL: A guy up the street from me owns a couple of Circle Ks and he was selling more milk and dairy products than ever before because customers didn’t want to go into a big grocer. And he was clever about it by reducing his pricing on some items. It showed that he cares and isn’t just out to gouge people, but he still reaped the benefits on the backend since he moved so much more volume.

and make investments for the future. A guy in Stratford, Ont. is renovating his entire c-store. He has a Shell and is still providing fuel, but you can’t go inside because he is tearing up the floor. His renovation plan is based on what he has learned over the past few weeks that would make the experience even more convenient and easier for people.

CSNC: What advice do you have for distributors? RL: When your good customers are going through a crisis, it isn’t time to chase their business and ask about their planogram. It is time to get personal. Ask them, “Are you OK? How is the family?” Have a laugh about trying to find toilet paper. They might not need to order anything from you right then, but it is important to continue these relationships. When the situation gets better, and it will, everyone can then move forward together. ◗ *This interview is edited for clarity and length.



| 33


MAY/JUNE 2020 CCentral.ca @CSNC_Octane PM42940023 • $12.00

The HR Report: Hiring and retaining workers amid COVID-19

Wash and fuel companies pivot to fight coronavirus

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MAY/ JUNE 2020 Volume 25 | Number 3






Editor’s Message Limit HR impacts of COVID-19


Human Trafficking: It’s hiding in plain sight


Expert Q&A with Dr. Andrew Landa Cleaning solutions amid COVID-19


Stepping-up for safety Wash and fuel sectors look outside the box


COVID hits HR Huge labour market confusion as workers sent home


COVER STORY A winning hand: New London, Ont. service site breaks away from the competition


Five tips for training excellence Good training programs create great workplaces


Featured Products New products & equipment featured at the Toronto Convenience U CARWACS Show.


CCA Industry Forum


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20 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON M4R 1K8 (416) 256-9908 | (877) 687-7321 | Fax (888) 889-9522 www.CCentral.ca SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CANADA | Donna Kerry EDITORIAL EDITOR, CSNC Michelle Warren | mwarren@ensembleiq.com EDITOR, OCTANE Kelly Gray | kgray@ensembleiq.com TRANSLATION | Danielle Hart ADVERTISING SALES ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Elijah Hoffman | ehoffman@ensembleiq.com VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS Michael Cronin | mcronin@ensembleiq.com SALES & EVENTS COORDINATOR Claudia Castro DESIGN AND PRODUCTION VICE PRESIDENT, PRODUCTION Derek Estey | destey@ensembleiq.com DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION Michael Kimpton | mkimpton@ensembleiq.com ART DIRECTOR | Linda Rapini DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Alexandra Voulu | avoulu@ensembleiq.com SENIOR DIRECTOR AUDIENCE STRATEGY Lina Trunina | ltrunina@ensembleiq.com SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CANADA & SPECIAL PROJECTS Valerie White | vwhite@ensembleiq.com CORPORATE OFFICERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER | Jennifer Litterick CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER | Jane Volland


SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT | Joe Territo SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Subscriptions: $65.00 per year, 2 year $120.00, Outside Canada $100.00 per year, Single copy $12.00, Groups $46.00, Outside Canada Single copy $16.00. Email: csnc@ccentral.ca Phone: 1-877-687-7321, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST weekdays Fax: 1-888-520-3608 / Online: www.ccentral.ca/subscribe LICENSING AND REPRINTS

Please contact Wright’s Media | ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com 1-877-652-5295 CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is published 6 times a year by EnsembleIQ. CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS CANADA / OCTANE is circulated to managers, buyers and professionals working in Canada’s convenience, gas and wash channel. Please direct inquiries to the editorial offices. Contributions of articles, photographs and industry information are welcome, but cannot be acknowledged or returned. ©2020 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying and electronic retrieval/retransmission, without the permission of the publisher.

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Limit HR impacts of COVID-19 We are amid the greatest business disruption any of us have experienced in our lifetimes. COVID-19 is a massive game changer. How enterprises come back to life when the All-Clear sounds is a matter dependent on how well management pivots with the change. Putting things back to normal will be a challenge. One of the first steps will be getting staff back in place. In car wash, c-store and gas bar operations strong worker cohorts are essential. Already the sector was being hit with difficulty recruiting and retaining staff. Car wash and gas bar Human Resource (HR) challenges are among the most daunting in Canada’s labour environment with vacancy rates well above average. Within this COVID-19 situation many, if not most, operations have laid-off workers. These workers were hard to find in the first place. What are you doing to make sure these staffers return to your business once the dust settles? Here are some suggestions gleaned from conversations with operators in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba. 1. Keep the lines of communication open. Have all staff (laid off and otherwise) on an e-mail or text message chain where information about the job, the business and the challenges of COVID-19 are regularly posted.

2. Be interested in how staff are handling the work slowdown. Times are tough for business, but can be equally as tough for families and individuals navigating this new era. Be prepared to offer a helping hand and don’t wait to be asked. 3. The Federal Government has a variety of programs through COVID-19 Economic Response Plan (CERP). Use the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that guarantees 75% of wages. The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee’s wages (up to $847 per week) for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March and 30% in April and May. 4. Help staff and their families stay healthy. Have essential PPE equipment on hand for workers on-site and offer TIPS for both mental and physical health on e-mail chains and communications tools. These can be simple reposts of articles from experienced professionals. 5. Offer online training tools that both laid-off workers and retained staff can access. Trained staff is far more likely the stay on job tracks and will be easier to bring back on board once the COVID-19 challenge is behind us.


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Human trafficking:

It’s hiding in plain sight By Sean Sportun When we hear the phrase ‘Human Trafficking’ most believe it is a distant problem in another country. That it will never touch us personally. And, that we will never observe this type of activity in the communities where we live.

Human trafficking, which is not typically perceived to be a problem in Canada, has become an increasing concern across the country. If asked, the average Canadian would say they’re horrified that human trafficking exists—but are relieved that they live in a country where things like that don’t happen. The belief is that Canada is not the kind of place where men and women entrap young teenagers, then move them from city to city, buying and selling them as modern-day sex slaves. But Canada is exactly that kind of place. And, what we often fail to realize is that one of the most heinous crimes imaginable is happening right here in our backyard. The reality is, human trafficking is a growing industry that has evolved to be a multi-billion dollar business making it the second most lucrative crime in the world, second only to drug trafficking. What’s more concerning is the most recent data from Statistics Canada tell us 93% of sex trafficking victims within Canada come from Canada. The average age at which exploitation begins is 13; the average age of rescue, if a girl is rescued at all, is 17.




Sean Sportun, Manager, Security & Loss Prevention for Circle K Stores Central Canada Division These are young Canadian girls of all socio-economic backgrounds, from big and small cities, that are being recruited and forced into sex work. Given the media reports and statistics, it is surprising there hasn’t been a massive public outcry yet. However, this is the kind of problem we’d prefer to pretend doesn’t exist, although that’s getting harder to do.

What is human trafficking Public Safety Canada defines Human Trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person as a way to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. It is often described as the modern-day form of slavery. Individuals and/or organized criminal networks carry out this type of crime, operat-

ing within Canada’s borders and around the world. These traffickers reap large profits while robbing victims of their freedom, dignity and human potential. Simply put, this is a crime against humanity and action needs to be taken.

The gas and c-store industry’s role Traffickers and their victims move around in plain sight just like the rest of us and just like anyone else, they visit gas-convenience stores daily. When transporting victims from one place to another, the trafficker’s goal is to remain undetected, so they do not bring attention to themselves or their situation. As a result, these individuals will commonly end up visiting our truck-stops, travel centres, gas stations and convenience stores to fuel up on food, gasoline or use the restroom. CCentral.ca

Canadian convenience stores, with our network of almost eight thousand locations – along with the nearly twelve thousand gas stations across the country, are a valuable partner in the fight against human trafficking. As an industry, we serve more than half the Canadian population each day. This puts our employees in a unique position to disrupt this criminal enterprise and increase the likelihood that our employees can help victims of human trafficking through awareness campaigns and education. Undoubtedly, this will make it uncomfortable for the traffickers.

Here is what you can do: Implement a training program as a first step. To be effective, employees need to know three things: what they are looking for, what to do if they see something suspicious, and what to avoid doing.

✔ Have a reporting mechanism for employees to use. ✔ Partner with organizations, such as Crime Stoppers. ✔ Promote awareness campaigns to amplify the message (ie. signage in bathrooms, SafePlace program). ✔ Maintain a safe haven for community members who need help.

Circle K Stores – Central Canada Recognizing the critical importance partnerships play in the prevention of crime and the accumulative positive impact such collaborative actions can have on protecting the vital interests of a community, Circle K Stores Loss Prevention team in Central Canada maintains a commitment to community safety with a focus on crime prevention. Understanding their reach into the community, they have introduced a unique philosophy of Crime Prevention Through Community Engagement that continues to prove successful; which has also been the focus of two Harvard Business Reviews. CCentral.ca

In 2017, Circle K Stores introduced an employee training component to educate staff on the signs of human trafficking and how to report it through their in-house security hotline. Through their existing partnership with Toronto Crime Stoppers, Circle K Stores utilized their network of store locations across Ontario to amplify human trafficking awareness campaigns. In 2017, Circle K Stores partnered with Peel Regional Police to become the first retailer to implement the SafePlace Program in all their Region of Peel locations. The initiative encourages valued members of the community who are victims of crime and who need police assistance to report incidents at businesses displaying the Safe Place decal. This program has since expanded to the City of Sault Ste Marie with that local police service.

Community Partnerships – Crime Stoppers Toronto Crime Stoppers has taken an aggressive approach that brings awareness to this crime. Through powerful public service ad campaigns, they have created a presence in travel-related platforms and disrupted the experience to get people’s attention as a way to educate them to identify and report suspicious behaviour specific to human trafficking. In 2017, the not-for-profit organization launched their first campaign titled ‘Human Trafficking Often Hides In Plain Sight’. The campaign’s creative discreetly places the scenes and signs of human trafficking within the patterns of hotel room fabrics, including the wallpaper, bedding and drapes. The initial campaign was quickly followed by a second campaign in 2018, titled “Speak Out For Those Who Can’t”. This campaign creative displayed arresting photos of young women gagged with airline baggage tags and drove users to StopTheTraffic.ca to learn the signs of human trafficking.

Know the signs Gas-convenience employees know their customers and know what is going on in their communities. Every day, these employees engage in conversations and observe their customers’ behaviour; and if educated on the signs of human trafficking they will not only be able to identify “strange” or “suspicious” things, but they will know how to report their findings.

Indicators that can point to sex trafficking include: ✔ Young girls wearing excessive makeup or clothing inappropriate for their age ✔ Young girls in possession of expensive clothing, phones, and jewelry with no reasonable means to afford them ✔ Large age gap between male and female with no explanation for the relationship ✔ Young girls who are underweight and appear malnourished ✔ Girls whose companion does all the talking for them ✔ High-end vehicles operated by a young male and occupied by young females

Both campaigns included out-of-home placements across the GTA including, transit shelter ads, elevator advertising, TTC digital screens, advertising across Circle K Stores network of locations, and carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram targeting people with travel interests. These awareness campaigns are aimed to create discussion, educate the average citizen on the signs of Human Trafficking, let the traffickers know the community is taking action and lastly, to provide the community and/or victims with a conduit to relay anonymous information about this type of crime to the police by calling Crime Stoppers. We need to come together if we are going to stop Human Trafficking. Community safety is a shared responsibility, working collaboratively as a community we will continue to make a difference in combating human trafficking.

See it. Say it. Stop it. OCTANE MAY/JUNE 2020



Cleaning solutions amid COVID-19 By Kelly Gray Canada’s car washes know a thing or two about making vehicles shine and look their best. With the COVID-19 challenge, this expertise may be called upon to not only remove grit and grime but get cars and trucks clean on a microbial level as well. Recently we had an opportunity to discuss these needs with Zep Vehicle Care’s Director of R&D, Dr. Andrew Landa a medical microbiologist who spearheads the science behind the clean.

OCTANE: How are you seeing car wash operators step up to help with COVID-19? Andrew Landa: We are seeing that operators are taking the safety of their staff very seriously. It can be a huge challenge to have people sanitizing car interiors. However, this must be done for police, first responders, taxi’s and other essential services as well as rental cars. Uber has reached out to us for advice and assistance with products such as hand sanitizers and other disinfectants. At the gas station and car wash, bathrooms must be kept spotless and monitored well beyond what is done on a usual basis. Pay Stations and other touchpoints must be cleaned after each use and care should be taken to clean and sanitize those touchpoints while not possibly damaging the electronic components. There is fear among businesses and staff. Organizations such as ours can help with knowledge about techniques and products. We can discuss the type of cleaning necessary, how to sanitize and show the steps. For example, just using a sanitizing spray on a dirty surface is not effective. A surface must first be cleaned of surface grime and then disinfected to achieve the desired results.




OCTANE: Do you have advice on best practises for car wash sites in this current crisis? Andrew Landa: Auto-


Andrew matic wash sites offer a no Landa interaction service and are the safest option for exterior cleaning. Express exterior wash sites may be a bit more interactive with customers often having to choose their wash options. Here sites could offer clean styluses (a small pen-shaped instrument It is important to read and follow all label where the tip can be detected on a touchinstructions and guidelines for these prodscreen. It is used to draw, or make selecucts to be fully effective. Most products tions by tapping, on devices such as mobile need to be applied and then allowed to phones, ATMs, and car wash selectors) to customers to use on the pushbuttons. These rest on surfaces for several minutes to do the job. First, clean for debris and general devices can be placed in a small container grime and then apply a germicide. It is the of disinfectant for customers who can use same for hands. However, hands can have them in place of fingers to push selecother challenges caused by frequent washtions. The best case is for customers to ing and for this reason, we advise health utilize digital apps on mobile devices that care professionals as well at the general allow choice and take payments. Interior public to utilize lotions to keep the skin detailing services are very quiet right now, smooth and in better shape to hold off but with the right protective equipment germs and viruses. and proper knowledge, operators can offer their special skills to clean vehicles belongOCTANE: What other advice ing to essential services.

OCTANE: What are the products that are useful in the fight against COVID-19? Andrew Landa: We have a wide range of products such as Spirit II, a hospital-grade germicidal detergent and Whirl Away aerosol germicidal surface cleaner that are useful in this challenge. However, we ask people to look to organizations such as the CDC and EPA in the US and Health Canada in Canada for guidelines.

do you have for operators? Andrew Landa: First and foremost

would be to wash your hands. As well, post guidelines where not just staff can see them, but let customers see you are taking this challenge very seriously and let customers know you are cleaning and sanitizing all touchpoints constantly. Monitor your staff’s health and be prepared to take action immediately if a team member shows signs of illness. And, lastly, work with your chemical suppliers to get the right products to do the job. OCTANE CCentral.ca


Wash and fuel sectors look outside the box

By Kelly Gray

COVID-19 has created trying times. Both wash operators and manufacturers have pivoted to create service and product innovation amid these challenges. A good example is ISTOBAL, a leading manufacturer of car wash equipment with a presence in 78 countries. This company has reinvented uses for its automatic wash arches that are now being used to disinfect the personal protective equipment (PPE) and vehicles of health, security and emergency personnel combatting COVID-19. The company reports that over two weeks it adapted its chemical application technology that has been in use in car washes around the world. This arch adaptation, first in use in Spain’s battle with COVID-19, now disinfect personnel, vehicles and gear in just 15 seconds. The company’s equipment can be installed near main accesses, quarantine areas, operating rooms, ICUs and other points. With a capacity to disinfect more than 4,000 people with PPE a day, these arches measure two metres in height and are made up of eight sprinklers that spray a disinfectant product on the PPE of health and safety and emergency forces and are automatically activated in its path thanks to a photocell detection system that activates the sprinklers. ISTOBAL is also producing arches for the external disinfection of medical vehicles, such as ambulances and fleets of the security forces with an average disinfection capacity of about 1,000 vehicles per day. This system is designed to spray vehicles with a biocide. In the face of some operators turning away truckers and others during this public health emergency, Shell has stepped up to show its support of drivers and frontline workers. In more than 15,000 participating retail sites across 30 countries, Shell will be providing free food and warm beverages to healthcare professionals, such as EMTs, nurses and doctors. “As a small thank you for all you are doing for our




communities, we invite Canadian healthcare professionals to stop into any participating Shell gas station. All you need to bring is your medical ID and we will provide a free sandwich and warm beverage to keep you fuelled throughout your day,” says Andrea Brecka, General Manager Retail, Shell Canada. The petroleum company also announced that not only will its sites offer free sandwiches and beverages to medical crews as well as commercial drivers such as couriers, long haul and grocery and fuel delivery drivers as well as others. Drivers only need to be uniformed with a company truck. At Petro-Canada’s 1,500+ sites, operations offer plexiglass shields at cash, social distancing prompts and stations are disinfecting all internal surfaces, such as the pay-point, door handles and washrooms every two hours or more. Surfaces outside, such as pumps squeegees, vacuums and air pumps are cleaned multiple times a day. Suncor spokesperson Nicole Fisher tells OCTANE that Petro Canada sites are being made as clean and safe as possible. She reports stations are • placing indicators on store floors to ensure people remain at a safe distance from one another

• installing plexiglass shields at the main pay counters • limiting the number of customers in each of our larger stores • increasing cleaning and sanitizing procedures • reducing contact points, including closing all fountain pop and slush machines

The Chamois Car Wash and Detail Centre, a three-site business located in Winnipeg, is offering a full interior sanitizing service. The wash group offers both automated tunnels and full detailing packages in its normal menu. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, Chamois closed its standard interior service and runs only its automated lines where customers must remain in their cars. Groups such as taxi operators and first responders and others told them people were looking for safer virus-free vehicle interiors. Chamois turned to their expertise to create a service that had to be safe for employees. At their wash sites, they bath the interior with a liquid germicide that is allowed to sit for a full 10 minutes. Then a single staffer can enter safely to wipe off the residue and perform a deep clean on the interior. The service takes about 45 minutes and costs customers $49 for cars and $59 for vans. The service includes their best-selling Gold wash package. OCTANE CCentral.ca

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Huge labour market confusion as workers sent home By Kelly Gray

These are challenging times and to a large extent, previous models and economic expectations will have to be revised as our society muscles through this public health crisis. Just before our editorial close COVID-19 raised its nasty head here in Canada and created a shock wave through our economy that is still being felt and understood as we go to press.

More than 800,000 foodservice workers were laid off in March, with 10% of Canada’s restaurants closing permanently.


Currently, Canada has furloughed close to 2.5 million workers with Toronto alone seeing more than a quarter-million people sent home from jobs to stay safe. Will the economy quickly reabsorb these workers once the all-clear has sounded? Indications are that over the short term there will be pent up demand in the market and this could be good news for retail and service sectors. Government economic initiatives will also help spur the economy. However, COVID-19 has created lasting damage to the trade environment and this will be felt over the long term following back to work. Here are some figures we have been able to source about the impact of COVID-19 on employment in Canada. Restaurants Canada tells OCTANE that there are now more than 800,000 foodservice workers on lay off with 10% of Canada’s restaurants closing permanently. The ING group has reported the economy shrunk by 20% in March with some three million


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of companies have seen drops in revenue and 60% have had to lay off staff.

laid off across the country. The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce states that 3% of businesses in the city have closed permanently and 47% see this a strong likelihood in the coming period. There, 86.3% of companies have seen drops in revenue and 60% have had to lay off staff. About 40% of Edmonton businesses have shut down their offices. Even though gas station and car wash facilities have been deemed essential services (most provinces), there is still considerable pain with-in this sector across the country. Customer volumes are down dramatically with people isolating and operators are working hard to keep staff safe. For example at Valet Car Wash, an eight location full-service chain in Ontario they have stopped interior detailing, a key point of revenue, and are focusing on automated exterior service. The company typically employs just under 200 workers. Now the vast majority of Valet’s crews are on lay off waiting to see what the future will bring. According to Karen Smith, Valet’s Compliance and Training Manager, “We choose to close interiors for the safety of our employees. We are keeping exteriors open due to the fact it is a zero contact service.” Valet’s experience is similar to what other operators across the country are finding. As we move forward the labour challenge will be competition from a wide range of businesses for the laid-off employees as the country gets back to work in the months ahead. Already businesses such as c-store, car wash and gas bar were being hit by high rates of turnover and difficulty in recruitment.




Before March, operators across the country had been finding it harder and harder to recruit the staff they needed and to keep the ones they already had in place. Indeed, the number of jobs unfilled in Canada’s private sector had grown. At the end of 2019, the Canadian Federation of Business (CFIB) found almost 435,000 unfilled positions in Canada, a value that is up by nearly 10,000 over last year. Behind this was a declining labour force where gains in new workers have almost flatlined with an expansion of just 0.2% (BDC). Low wages and limited benefits packages also impacted businesses such as c-store, gas bar and car wash where their capacity to bring in new staff has been negatively impacted by competitive pressures from large operators such as Amazon and Walmart (Walmart is currently advertising job openings for 10,000 workers). Among the most difficult spots to fill were in the services sector where businesses such as car wash found a 5.1% vacancy rate, a number well above the national average of 3.2%. The retail sector is also where 54% of respondents to a BDC study reported hiring was very difficult. Regionally, the Atlantic (50%) was tops in reporting trouble sourcing new hires. British Columbia was next up at 45%, with 40% of Ontario respondents telling BDC they had Human Resource (HR) challenges. Hardest hit were small businesses with between five and 49 employees. The study found 49% of businesses in the five to nine

worker set had real difficulty finding new staff with 55% of 10-19 worker enterprises reporting major challenges and 58% in the 20-49 worker group finding HR grief. The Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CCIC) is a national body dedicated to convenience sector advocacy, research and education. Recently they took an in-depth look at B.C.’s labour market. Findings mirrored other studies and showed specifically that the c-gas channel was being hammered by hiring and retention challenges. Industry participants to a round table discussion told moderators that: • Employees of any kind were difficult to find but especially difficult to find suitable ones • They found very low response rates from ads • They were interested in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and found they could rely on that program to help fill positions, but with recent program changes, such as application fee increases and more paperwork, the process became more onerous and stressful. • Present staff is mostly students and mostly part-time. These workers tend to be very hard to retain and they quit easily often without notice.

Retention cost for employers is about $4,000 (e.g., it costs about $4,000 to recruit and provide each new employee with approximately 50 hours of initial training). After all that training, however, employers can’t pay wages high enough to recruit and retain high-quality people. CCentral.ca

Help at hand At Valet Car Wash, Karen Smith reports they recruit using organizations such as Second Chance in Guelph, the YMCA and use federal government programs to assist with training. They also turn to Indeed, Facebook and through word of mouth. “Friends tell friends if the employment environment is good,” she says adding that they seek employees who are a good fit with Valet’s core values. “When the fit is there, retention is high. During our interview, I tell applicants about our values and ask them to give two examples of core values they possess,” she says mentioning that road signs can also be effective. “We also use the local universities and colleges online career pages to post job openings and have had some success with the local high-schools co-op program, resulting in hiring after the co-op term finished, this includes students with disabilities, who have developed into valuable employees. “Give some thought to the questions you want to ask in the interview, you want to make sure the applicant is qualified and understands the adverse conditions they will be working in; weather, noise, physical, fast-paced. Not only do you want to hire qualified staff that can do the job, but employers also have to consider if they have the right personality to fit into the culture of your business.” Smith tells OCTANE that at Valet they don’t do exit interviews with general labour, but do so for managers and supervisors who leave. She comments that this final talk with an exiting staffer can offer tremendous insight into working challenges every business faces. “The goal is continuous improvement in everything we do.” Are temporary foreign workers still a viable option given the current state of affairs? The short answer is yes, especially once the dust settles from COVID-19 labour challenges and the economy corrects. Foreign temporary worker numbers have been climbing as Canada faces labour market shortages. By 2017 Canada had over 214,000 foreign temporary workers. This is a number that is up by 50% from 2015 and reveals a strong trend across the country. “Restaurants, c-stores and gas stations can be challenging environments for hiring,” suggests Parvinder Burn, Director with Canadian Immigration Centre, a consultancy specializing in student visa, business immigration and skilled foreign workers. He has seen Tim Horton’s locations with 110% turnover, gas and c-stores that are finding it tough to compete with wage and benefits from other businesses, and sites where temporary workers fill entire staffing cohorts. “Having skilled workers come in from other countries can be a good solution to these challenges. However, we see that businesses are both confused and intimidated by the government paperwork and regulations." OCTANE CCentral.ca

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A WINNING HAND New London, Ont. service site breaks away from the competition with Greenergy's new Canadian fuel brand By Kelly Gray Photos Daniel Weylie






perator Harsha Nimrani is making a strong play with the opening of her latest business in London, Ont. Nimrani’s winning hand includes her partnership with Greenergy Canada and its Breakaway brand, as well as her development of an innovative new car wash that uses state-of-the-art technology. Already, she operates five other fuel and vehicle service sites in Ontario with a variety of gas brands, but this is her first with Breakaway and she is enthusiastic as the facility opened this January.

Top: Majestic Auto Wash offering great washes and even propane tank exchange from Mighty Flame. Bottom: Hockey themed forecourt sporting Wayne's Ovation Series B23/4 3+1 blender.


Nimrani reports that after coming to Canada in 2012, the family got involved with the service station business when her husband took on a job as an accountant at a location in Mississauga, Ont. “My husband and I agreed after our children were born that we needed to get into businesses of our own. We had experience with gas stations so there was a natural fit. My first location was in Niagara Falls and now I have five sites in Ontario and we are looking at two more this year,” she says commenting that she brings a background in banking and real estate to the business. Development on Nimrani’s new London Breakaway station began last September and lasted five months, with the opening in mid-January. What Nimrani has on offer is a triple threat site with c-store, gas bar and car wash. Under the Breakaway canopy, her new business features six gas dispensers with two diesel pumps. Fuel is provided by Greenergy, a growing supplier that launched Breakaway in 2018 and Inver in 2019. The c-store and gas bar are branded as a Breakaway location and come with all the bells and whistles. This includes Breakaway’s signature hockey-themed look and promotions in the c-store and under the canopy. Majestic Auto Wash features a 90’ tunnel Fusion Process wash, as well as detailing area. “This site was previously a Shell,” says Nimrani. “When we looked at this location we had interest from both Mobil and ESSO, but after our research, we decided to go with Greenergy and Breakaway. Early on we saw that they could do more for us and would be a more willing partner in our success,” she says, mentioning that the simple fact that Greenergy staff just pick up the phone when she calls was a big improvement over her experience with other fuel brands. “Breakaway gives us the flexibility to price match on fuel. This is important to us. We are competing as the best price option in this market and are selling 17,000 litres of fuel each day. It is the fuel quality and price that gets people onto our site where we can sell them other goods and services such as car wash and convenience products.” Here, Nimrani mentions the Breakaway c-store and points to the business as a key aspect that drives the location’s success. The c-store kiosk is approximately 200 square feet and is replete with sports themes throughout.


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The environment is important to us. We already have water reclaim where we reuse 70% of the car wash water. We don’t want to use more chemicals than necessary and the Fusion system allows us to be very careful with amounts and its easier on our staff who don’t have to lift heavy pails and containers of detergents.”

Harsha Nimrani

“Canada is hockey crazy. We saw this theme as highly attractive to our target market here in London,” she says, noting that Breakaway’s hockey-theme makes their site stand out from the competition in a tough local market. The car wash is yet another key point of market differentiation and innovation. Nimrani went with a Fusion Process system from Diamond Shine and Sonny’s. “We turned to

Washlinks for advice and came up with this new system that is the first in Canada. The tunnel can clean 90 cars an hour with a staff of seven or eight on the crew that handles detailing as well.” She reports that their Majestic Auto Wash offers four clean packages— Ace, King, Queen and Jack. “Every gas fill gets a free ‘Jack’ wash,” she says mentioning the basic exterior service. Products such as their King wash with interior and exterior

clean is $60 and the basic with an interior clean is $36. Customers can choose between a monthly subscription for $29 or an a la carte offering where they can add on services such as tire and rim cleaning. Helping to drive wash business is a dedicated app for payments, loyalty program and promotions. “We went with ICS for this system and have found that our growth in this area is very good. The app allows us to better


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know our customers and their preferences and it makes it easier for customers to access our services. Already we have more than 1,000 customers signed up to our club membership and expect this to grow to 5.000 customers over the next several months as more people learn about us.” In the wash, Majestic’s Fusion Process system offers six-stage cleaning, a step up from the usual four stages typically found in most wash tunnels. It starts with a Fusion Bath designed to break the bond of surface contaminants with a specialty low pH detergent. Next is a Fusion Prime application, an ultra-low pH chemical coverage that preps the surface of the vehicle for better adherence of the upcoming sealant and makes the painted surfaces shine. The Fusion Rinse cycle is step three. Here a thin sheet of water with a chemical additive helps dissipate any remaining foam on the vehicle. This step clears out vehicle crevices and removes any left behind soap or hard water in preparation for the upcoming paint sealant. Fusion Seal is the next step. Fusion Seal is a paint sealant that, with the help of the Fusion Prime, bonds with the vehicle’s paint to capture the shine and smooth out the surfaces. The seal forms a glossy shell that protects the paint against UV rays and contaminants. Applying it in a stream of droplets ensures the chemical penetrates and completely coats all surfaces. The Fusion Wax cycle provides an additional layer of CCentral.ca

protection on top of the sealant that helps the vehicle retain the benefits of the full Fusion Process for longer. Lastly, the system applies Rain Repel, a glass specific step where finishing touch applicators are targeted at the glass surfaces of the vehicle and apply the chemical in a fanned spray. Once the Fusion Rain Repel is applied, water beads and runs off the glass providing additional safety and visibility in adverse conditions. The Fusion system uses Sonny’s Bullseye backroom chemical storage and distribution system. Nimrani remarks that she likes the ease of calibration, lack of waste and total control over chemicals. “The environment is important to us. We already have water reclaim where we reuse 70% of the car wash water. We don’t want to use more chemicals than necessary and the Fusion system allows us to be very careful with amounts and its easier on our staff who don’t have to lift heavy pails and containers of detergents,” she says, noting that Bullseye features a cost measuring sight tube, instant cost per car analysis and easy product mix. “Establishing a new site is always a challenge. There is much to do and much to learn. We were fortunate to have partners in the process that helped to take some of the bumps out of the road,” she says, concluding that their upfront research, previous experience and leading suppliers helped them enter the London market with a winning hand. OCTANE

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FIVE TIPS FOR TRAINING EXCELLENCE Good training programs create great workplaces By Kelly Gray


Train to develop a team culture

Good training delivers worker retention and enhances customer service. Here are five suggestions from leading wash operators that help raise the bar on workplace labour challenges.


Give new hires a proper orientation not just a manual.

“The orientation is your first opportunity to create a positive culture and direct workplace behaviour. Don’t just hand new workers a booklet and think the job is done. Spend some time here and reap the rewards with motivated crews and incoming staff that has a basis of core knowledge.” (Karen Smith, Training and Compliance Manager, Valet Car Washes)





Do a full safety tour on the first day.

Explain the equipment and talk about the various noises in the plant. “Car washes can be intimidating places to work. They are noisy and dangerous environments that require a presence of mind on the job. In-coming staff need to be walked through the full operation and shown all the hazards and how to work safely in this setting.” (K. Smith, Valet)


Shadow established workers.

“Our training program is two weeks long. We team a new worker with one and only one of our established staffers. Over two weeks they follow and mirror the job with the experienced worker. (K. Smith, Valet)

“A lot of our detailing staff have been with us for the long haul. This has enabled us to develop a crew with unique skill sets that deliver quality performance and customer engagement.” At Skogie’s they start by paying staff a higher wage than competitors. “We also pay a commission to any staffer that sells products and services. Tips are also shared at the Kelowna AutoSpa and this helps level things out and makes a positive addition to wages. The result is a highly competent team that is supportive of the business. It’s a win/win for everybody.” (Chris Skoglund, Skogie's)


Be proactive.

“Anticipate a problem before it becomes a problem. A customer that receives a wash and was not happy after leaving, is a lost opportunity. Not only the single wash but the washes they would have purchased afterwards. We train specific staff to conduct daily, weekly and monthly Preventative Maintenance Checks. The checks are all documented and followed up with our maintenance supervisor to ensure the problem is corrected. The very first thing we do every morning before opening is to conduct a test wash. Is everything turning on like its expected? Are there any nozzles plugged? Is their enough chemical in the barrels? Are the doors and ba clean? Is the garbage at the entrance emptied?” ( Randy Andrusiak, Gas Bar Operations Manager, Red River Cooperative Ltd.) CCentral.ca

Suppliers, what’s new in your product line? Contact Elijah Hoffman at 647.558.0103 or ehoffman@ensembleiq.com

Product News



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Certified EMV Processing Including lnterac Chip and Pin Debit Moneris Direct Processing without Gateway Fees Contactless Reader for Tap and Pay, Mobile Wallet Card Holder Data Encrypted at the Device and Sent Direct to Processor No Card Data Ever Touched or Stored by ICS Software Real-time Multi-site Data Multi-site Code Acceptance 24/7 Support Over 30 Years Serving the Car Wash Industry

“It’s the perfect solution for fast, easy, and secure car wash transactions” Mike Black - Valet Car Wash

800.642.9396 | www.icscarwashsystems.com

BLENDCO SYSTEMS - CERAMIC PROTECTANT Blendco Systems is proud to introduce our NEW line of Ceramic Protectants! These products are specially formulated with a proprietary polymeric silica base, which forms a ceramic glass-like barrier, bonding fully with glass, chrome, rubber, plastic, and paint. These products come with the Rust-Oleum® name synonymous with high quality and trust, which will outlast all others! This fantastic line of innovative products includes our Ceramic Total Body Protectant, Clearcoat Protectant, and Foaming Protectant. Combining these products can help you to produce the driest and shiniest cars possible. 800.446.2091 | www.blendco.com


GALLOP BRUSH CLEARVIEW DOOR The Gallop Brush Co. ClearView Roll up door will keep the heat in and the wind out, saving on your energy costs. Made from 40 oz. coated vinyl, these innovative doors utilize stainless steel construction to create doors that are 2X thicker and more durable than any other vinyl doors on the market. 866-242-5567 www.gallopbrush.com


ChargePoint operates the world’s leading EV charging network, and builds the technology that supports it. We’ve been building the fueling network of the future. Someone plugs into the ChargePoint network every two seconds. We’ve delivered more places to charge than anyone else, and people count on us for charging every day. Contact your local Dover/Wayne Fueling representative to find out more about the Federal NRCAN incentive program, as well as Provincial financial support opportunities. 613.475.3313 www.wayne.com | www.chargepoint.com


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Mitchell Easton – Sameer Haidari – circle






Jason Kaye –


Terry McGowan – Jamie Shaw –



Karen Smith –


Tim Walker – Rudy van Woerkom –



NATIONAL OFFICE Director of Operations Nicole Cork Accountant Ricky Nason Event Coordinator Martha Feenstra Canadian Carwash Association Please note our new address: 411 Richmond Street East, Suite 200 Toronto, Ontario M5A3S5



canadiancarwash.ca/search http://canadiancarwash.ca/search on the CCA website has close to a thousand member sites on it. Is your carwash listed? Member sites are listed for free, contact office@canadiancarwash.ca for more information.

MAY 2020

CCA NATIONAL BOARD WELCOMES TWO NEW MEMBERS AND APPOINTS A NEW NATIONAL PRESIDENT. The Canadian Carwash Association membership elected a new Board member at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held March 2, 2020 in Toronto, ON. Mike Jacques, Sales Consultant at Washtech Vehicle Wash Systems, was elected to serve a one-year term. At the first meeting of the Board, Karen L. Smith, Training and Compliance Manager at Valet Car Washes was appointed as the National President and Michael Howe, General Manager and Sales at BayWatch Enterprises - Canada Division, was appointed as a Director to serve a one-year term. Mike and Michael join 11 re-elected Board Members all serving one-year terms: Christopher Armena, Mark VII Equipment; Morgan Arnelien, Federated Co-operatives Limited; Jeff Beam, Mondo Products Co Ltd; Mitchell Easton, Petro-Canada, a Suncor Business; Sameer Haidari, Circle K - Central Canada Division; Jason Kaye, Bayview Car Wash Ltd.; Terry McGowan, Mosaic; Jamie Shaw, 7-Eleven Canada, Inc; Karen L. Smith, Valet Car Wash; Rudy van Woerkom, Belvedere Technical Service Ltd.; and Tim Walker, Revin Media. CCA would like to thank the following Directors who did not renew their term on the Board of Directors: Cristina Caruso, Petro-Canada; Kirsten Vaive, Mosaic; Sean McBride, Giant Eagle, Inc.; and Domenic DiMonte, Crosstown Car Washes.


Karen L. Smith, Training and Compliance Manager, Valet Car Washes Karen began her career in the industry in 1993 as a retailer, operating gas bars, convenience and carwash at Shell Canada. She also served on the Shell training team. Karen joined the Valet team in 2012 in a management capacity, where her role quickly developed into Training and Compliance Manager. With the ever-changing and additional rules and regulations on labour laws, health and safety and compliance, it became a full-time job keeping up with new information, developing policies and procedures and enhancing the health and safety program. Karen has previously served on the CCA Board of Directors from 2002-2004.


Mike Jacques, Sales Consultant at Washtech Vehicle Wash Systems For more than 30 years, Mike was a Regional Sales Manager for various large manufacturers, including MacNeil Wash Systems, PECO Car Wash Systems, Mark VII and Deltic Wash Force. He possesses a solid understanding of the business, as well as exceptional technical knowledge. Mike has been an integral part of many ground up design, build car wash projects, and tunnel retrofit projects. He sees customer education as a critical part of getting teams into the business.

Michael Howe, General Manager and Sales, BayWatch Enterprises Canada Division Michael started out as a licensed electrician prior to becoming a seasoned overhead door mechanic almost 30 years ago. During his professional career, he has occupied many senior executive roles spanning a wide variety of industries, including credit, call centre management and renewable energy. In March of 2019 he was tasked to develop the Canadian market for BayWatch Car Wash Door Solutions, a 25 year manufacturer and service provider for car wash entities of all sizes. As General Manager and Sales, Michael is not only passionate about car wash door technology, but also providing value to the professional community around him through his wide range of background and experience.


COVID-19 AND THE INDUSTRY During this uncertain time, it is important that the CCA remains a vital source of information for our members and the carwash Industry. It is our priority to provide important and evolving information to our members.

WHAT THE CCA IS DOING: Power in numbers – We’ve engaged with our partner, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), to gain information and share knowledge on what is an essential service during this time. Since the types of carwashes in Canada vary (full-serve, self-serve, hybrid etc.) and our Members are spread out in different provinces, we’re seeking clarity on the issue and the specifics to your region. We will be updating the website frequently as information is received. Resources to help you – As always, Members have access to a library of resources through the CCA and CFIB partnership. We have created a resource page on our website that includes an online forum, which is being updated frequently, as information is received. We encourage you to post any related questions and comments in this forum. To access the information and forum, please visit canadiancarwash.ca. We have also created a Facebook group to allow industry members to share information with each other – we encourage everyone to join this page and engage. Information on how to join is available on the website as well. If you see any information that would benefit your colleagues, please don’t hesitate to share it with the National Office at office@canadiancarwash.ca or through either of the resources listed above. In closing, thank you for your selfless commitment to protecting the health and safety of your fellow Canadians.


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