Octane-English- July/August 2022

Page 1


2022 FORECOURT PERFORMANCE REPORT Constant change stokes the fuel sector



JULY / AUGUST 2022 CCentral.ca

@CSNC_Octane PM42940023 $12.00








MONDO PRODUCTS manufactures and distributes a complete line of concentrated chemicals and equipment for the car wash industry. Mondo is the largest supplier of vehicle washing chemicals in the Canadian marketplace and has built its reputation on supplying superior products at the lowest cost with unmatched service. MONDO PRODUCTS COMPANY LIMITED www.mondo-products.com 695 Westney Road South, Ajax, Ontario L1S 6M9 | 1.800.465.5676

CONTENTS J U LY | AU G U S T 2 0 2 2

VOLU M E 27 | N U M BE R 4

5 Editor’s Message Be a part of the adventure 6



Together again!


Challenges and opportunities: Highlights from the Canadian Fuel Marketing Conference The Convenience U CARWACS Show is back in-person and you don’t want to miss it

2022 Forecourt Performance Report

A story of fuel prices, pandemic fatigue, electrification and the search for new lines of business

18 Making contact A new Petro-Canada station south of Muskoka

cottage country puts customers—and their four-legged friends—at the heart of the journey


An open-door policy

Tips, tactics and techniques to keep your car wash running like a well-oiled machine.

Increase Profits

Drive Traffic


Don’t miss our e-newsletter! Car wash, petroleum, and convenience news & insights, delivered weekly. Sign up today at www.CCentral.ca/signup

PLUS, turn to p.15 in CSNC to meet the 2022 Star Women in Convenience Award Winners, which include gas and car wash leaders!

Inspire Loyalty LIVE and IN-PERSON

Simply hover your phone’s camera over this code:


13-14, 202

Toronto Congress Cent




ConvenienceU. CARWACS.co

July | August 2022


Pump up the volume

Push the pace to 45 cars per hour when you convert your in-bay or rollover to a tunnel. Tommy Car Wash Systems’ conversions use your existing structure and add new equipment for faster processing and a smoother customer experience. Our conveyor belt makes loading easy and our proprietary cleaning equipment modules provide a fantastic wash.

Contact us today to convert your in-bay

©2022 Tommy Car Wash Systems 373A 04/22

EDITOR’S MESSAGE 20 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON M4R 1K8 (416) 256-9908 | (877) 687-7321 | Fax (888) 889-9522 www.CCentral.ca SVP, GROCERY AND CONVENIENCE | Sandra Parente


Michelle Warren | mwarren@ensembleiq.com


TRANSLATION | Danielle Hart


Elijah Hoffman | ehoffman@ensembleiq.com


Michael Cronin | mcronin@ensembleiq.com


Michael Kimpton | mkimpton@ensembleiq.com


Alexandra Voulu | avoulu@ensembleiq.com

VICE PRESIDENT EVENTS & CONFERENCES Megan Judkins | mjudkins@ensembleiq.com

SENIOR DIRECTOR AUDIENCE STRATEGY Lina Trunina | ltrunina@ensembleiq.com

SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CANADA & SPECIAL PROJECTS Valerie White | vwhite@ensembleiq.com



Subscriptions: Print $65.00 per year, 2 year $120.00, Digital $45.00 per year, 2 year $84.00, 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

Be a part of the adventure

If you’re anything like me, driving is almost always a pleasure and occasionally a real adventure. If you think of the classic road trip, it’s possibly the only type of vacation that can go horribly wrong or incredibly well—and, either way, still leave people wanting to try it again. Some might think the idea of piling the whole gang into the Family Truckster and hitting the open road is the proverbial recipe for disaster. Of course, they’re right. But they’re also wrong. The road trip is a part of North American culture, one of the only somewhat affordable ways for a family to explore this great nation of ours and to experience our neighbours to the south. Over the past two years, we’ve been collectively starved for adventure. This is at least part of the reason why airports around the world are so chaotic these days. There’s too much pent-up demand from people who have been stuck at home for too long. But there are cars just sitting in driveways, right? So this could be the year the classic road trip makes a great comeback. For our Operator Profile (p. 18) in this issue, we had the chance to speak with Pat Ritchie, VP sales and marketing for Suncor. He shared some fascinating insights that his organization had gathered through customer research. It turns out that customers viewed service stations as locations that checked off certain criteria. It’s almost as if they have a to-do list in mind when they choose one site over another. These stations, it turns out, are more than just places to refuel or to recharge or to grab a double-double to go. They’re important stops along the way to adventure, like stepping stones linking one stage of the customer’s journey to the next. So it follows that operators have the chance to make the journey a little more enjoyable and a lot less stressful. Do things go wrong on road trips? All the time. Can a great operator make all the difference when things go wrong, tipping the scales back towards the positive? Absolutely. OCTANE

LICENSING AND REPRINTS Please contact Wright’s Media | ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com 1-877-652-5295

Mark Hacking OCTANE, guest editor

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. ©2022 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. standard

Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Printing PM42940023 CHANNEL ALLIANCES:

no gradients



stacked logo (for sharing only)







July | August 2022


Challenges and opportunities Highlights from the Canadian Fuel Marketing Conference For the first time in nearly three years, the annual Canadian Fuel Marketing Conference was held this spring, and the federal government’s Emissions Reduction Plan and Budget 2022 were key discussion points. The three-day conference, in Montreal, included 215 attendees from across the country, and revolved around collaboration and creativity to navigate Ottawa’s environmental and economic goals. On March 29, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault released his government’s plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions; deep cuts to the electricity, oil, gas, and transportation sectors were included. The plan also includes an ambitious target for emissions; by 2030, the government wants to see up to a 45% reduction compared to 2005 emissions levels. The end goal: to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Eight days after that presentation, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the federal budget, with new measures to help businesses adopt clean technologies. Questions about these timelines and funding commitments by the federal government were raised throughout the Canadian Energy Marketers Association (CEMA) conference by speakers and panel participants alike. Here are the highlights from the conference. The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper was the conference keynote speaker and was interviewed by CEMA emcee and renowned entrepreneur Catherine Clark. Harper, who served as prime minister from 2006-2015, told conference attendees: • Carbon emissions reductions are necessary, but targets and timelines need to be realistic • Canada needs to become more energy independent • Vilifying the energy sector is not useful; we need to embrace its value to our economic growth and resilience. Chantal Hébert is a national affairs


July | August 2022



writer for the Toronto Star, weekly participant on CBC’s At Issue Panel and the author of two books. She led a 45-minute talk on Canadian politics, with highlights including: • The impact of the Conservative leadership race and the potential challenges certain candidates present for the Liberal agenda • The future for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; she believes he will resign to allow for a Liberal party leadership race prior to the next federal election • The top contenders to replace Trudeau, the main one being Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. Douglas Dias is a representative of Renewable Industries Canada, a coalition of producers of renewable fuels, products and technology. He spoke about his organization’s commitment to consumer awareness and policy building and mentioned that: • Low-carbon biofuels are expected to outperform others due to availability • Capital investment will determine which categories grow the most • Under the proposed Clean Fuel Standard, producers and distributors of fossil fuels would have to reduce the CI by 3.5g starting July 2023 and 14g in 2030 • Biofuels and other clean fuels will play a more important role in achieving carbon reduction targets until the shift to ZEVs moves further down the road. Bob Larocque, president of the Canadian Fuels Association, spoke about the role of low-carbon fuels in the transportation sector and noted: • The federal regulatory landscape for this sector is very complex • It’s a challenge to keep Canadians and goods moving while pushing forward with the transition to net zero • Significant efforts and investments are helping to ensure renewable fuels are a player in the future. David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada, said he doesn’t know what the future looks like for automotive manufacturing and Canada’s green economy, but the

BY J E N N I F E R S T E WA R T disruption is happening faster than many anticipated: • The global EV fleet is set to top 25 million this year • North America is hardest hit by chip shortages in the global supply chain • Four key challenges for the industry include jurisdictional “one upmanship,” economic vs. environmental drivers, myopic politics over greater good and a lack of federal leadership. In addition, Catherine Clark moderated a panel representing the Canadian Transportation Alliance, in which Andrea Kent of Greenfield Global Inc, Jason Vaillant of the Canadian Fuels Association and yours truly discussed the fact that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to our transportation needs—just as there’s no silver-bullet solution to the future of energy overall. The Canadian Transportation Alliance, which brings together industry associations and organizations to take a deep dive into research on the low carbon economy, was recognized as a valuable resource, helping decipher what is a complex regulatory system with often competing objectives. With three full days of content, the conference reconfirmed the importance of continuing to work together as an industry to advance low-carbon transportation energy solutions. Collectively, we have shown that the energy sector can meet the challenges that lie ahead, while providing Canadians the services they need today. We should be proud of what’s been accomplished, but need to keep our eyes on the prize as we head down the path towards net zero. OCTANE Jennifer Stewart is president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Marketers Association (CEMA), formerly CIPMA.



Serving the Canadian Retail Petroleum / Convenience Industry for over 35 Years

We provide over 100,000 service visits annually to our customers

Fast & Easy – Enhance customer satisfaction

Safety First Culture


800-263-1429 www.air-serv.ca






ServiceWorks Company


AIR-serv is a





More hose options for more fuel demands. Introducing the Wayne Ovation® Multi-hose fuel dispenser with up to four hoses per fueling point for up to five grades dispensed, increasing to seven when upgraded to the DFS Anthem UXTM user experience platform! Enhance your forecourt with technology you can trust while improving customer experience and extending your brand in style.

Wayne Ovation Multi-hose fuel dispenser

Visit Website


©2022 Dover Fueling Solutions. All rights reserved. DOVER, the DOVER D Design, DOVER FUELING SOLUTIONS, and other trademarks referenced herein are trademarks of Delaware Capital Formation Inc., Dover Corporation, Dover Fueling Solutions UK. Ltd., and their affiliated entities, registered or claimed in the United States and various other countries. 12 JUNE 2022

Together again!


The Convenience U CARWACS Show is back in-person and you don’t want to miss it BY M A R K H ACK I NG

Don’t just save the date. Don’t just mark your calendars. This is serious business. The 2022 Convenience U CARWACS Show is back in-person September 13-14, 2022! The March 2020 Show was one of the last major Canadian trade shows to be staged before the world went into lockdown. Now, a full 30 months later, The Convenience U CARWACS Show is back on the calendar and it’s again the show that industry professionals cannot afford to miss. The world has changed a lot since March 2020. Of course, this goes without saying. The COVID-19 pandemic has reverberated around the world; its presence continues to be felt strongly in many corners of the globe. In our relatively small world here in Canada, we’ve fared better than some places, worse than others. But in many ways, we all live in a changed place now. Perhaps one of the bigger changes is a shift in what people truly value. Over the course of the various shutdowns, we had to learn how to live without many things we once took for granted. Spending time with our extended families. Getting on an airplane, either for business or for pleasure. Going to the movies. Eating in restaurants. Participating in sports and cultural activities. Sending our children off to school. Shaking hands. Seeing smiles on faces. When you stop to think about it, it’s mind boggling to consider how much change was triggered by the pandemic. For some, the change was so profound, they’ve vowed never to go back to the way things were; .for others, they may want to go back, but it’s not possible anymore.” For those of us in this business, there’s no going back. “What’s happened to consumers over the last


July | August 2022



Driv 12 to 18 months, what they value now compared to what they valued before—the times have changed,” says Michael Cronin, VP, The Convenience U CARWACS Show. “People have been given a new lease on life, in many ways. They want to make up for time lost over the past few years. But they’re also moving around in a completely different landscape with new challenges that demand a new angle of attack. And the pace of change? Well, it’s not really slowing down at all, is it?” These are the reasons why The Convenience U CARWACS Show is such an important event. After such a long interruption, this is the chance to meet with thousands of retailers, suppliers and distributors for two full days of valuable learning, networking, and product and service discovery. There’s been a lot of development over the past 30 months—and that’s another reason why attendance is vitally important. “After a two-year interruption, we’re excited to bring the convenience, gas and car wash industries back together in person this fall,” Cronin adds. “These industries are constantly evolving and so are customer expectations. The event will introduce attendees to new product and service offerings that drive traffic, drive revenue and help their businesses thrive. If you’re not here, I think you would definitely experience the fear of missing out.” In the past, the show has seen strong attendance from key decision-makers. An estimated 92% of past attendees had purchasing authority or direct purchasing influence. Meanwhile, close to 93% of past attendees planned to purchase products they saw on the trade show floor. With so many new innovations coming to market over the past two years, The Convenience U CARWACS








Show will be the one-stop shop for catching up and powering forward. “There is no other place in Canada where all the key stakeholders and buyers from petroleum, car wash and convenience come together in one place,” says Cronin. “Whether you’re already an operator and you’re looking to expand or you’re a vendor looking for growth opportunities, you need to be here.” This year, the opening conference on Day 1 will place increased emphasis on consumer insights in a shifting market. Attendees will access exclusive research about Canadian convenience shoppers, gather insights from a top business coach and be better equipped to understand customer expectations and how to meet them. Plus, the Canadian Carwash Association will host wash-specific education. The trade show floor is open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The Convenience U CARWACS Show will take place at the Toronto Congress Centre from September 13-14, 2022. For more information and to secure your registration, visit ConvenienceU.ca. OCTANE




Poles and LED Lighting EV Charging Station NEW

Visit us at Booth 214

Office: 1-844-696-8600 Sales: (416) 819-2900 web: xtronpoles.com sales@xtronpoles.com

No-Weld Aluminum No Maintenance Light Weight Fully Modular 20 Year Warranty Fast Delivery

Real Time, Cloud-Hosted

Come see us at the Toronto Convenience U CARWACS Show

Dan Goldberg | 260.438.7319 Dan.Goldberg@MYFUELMASTER.com

Proudly Canadian


Novyc International has been designing, producing and delivering Electronic Price Systems to sign manufacturers, installers, contractors and petroleum retailers since 1985.






ADDITIVE INJECTION SYSTEM Automate Your Premium Fuel Program

Over 40,000 systems installed in over 40 countries around the world - a testament to Novyc product quality & customer service.

Major Canadian retailers such as Suncor, Parkland, Esso, Canadian Tire and others have specified Novyc LED price systems for their stations.

Key Novyc advantages include : • Quality design using Cree LED’s • Encapsulated LED price panels with IP67 rating • Simple & fast installation • 5 year Industry leading warranty coverage

2294, Ch. St-François, Dorval, QC, Canada H9P 1K2

www.novyc.com Toll free US-Canada: 1-800-99NOVYC

The Additive Injection System (AIS) is a complete solution for retailers seeking to meet TOP TIER™ fuel requirements or differentiate their brand with a premium fuel program to improve consumer loyalty. Taking control of the additization process allows retailers to expand their fuel sourcing options and produce additive blends at lower costs as compared to the rack. The AIS integrates with TLS Automatic Tank Gauges (ATGs) to automate the injection of additives into fuel storage tanks. This system provides consistent distribution of additives throughout the entire delivery of fuel into gasoline and diesel storage tanks. It continuously calculates and injects every few seconds, directly into the flow stream, over the course of the delivery, which greatly improves blend uniformity as compared to competitive batch blend systems. TOTAL METER SERVICES INC.

70 Worcester Road, Toronto, ON | www.totalmeter.com | 416-225-5867

20 22 TK



July | August 2022





0 2

A story of fuel prices, pandemic fatigue, electrification and the search for new lines of business BY M A R K H ACK I NG

Once again, we’re privileged to be sharing with our readers information from the latest edition of the Forecourt Performance Report, the most authoritative research on the Canadian retail refuelling sector. This article provides a brief snapshot of this year’s data, the sum total of which comprises 30 pages of rigorous insight. The report is researched and published by Kalibrate, a leading data firm with over 50 years’ experience in the sector. The company is recognized as an authority in performance measurement, benchmarking, industry economic research and analysis. In 2004, the first Forecourt Performance Report was released, making this the 19th consecutive year for this indispensable resource. Over that period of time, much has changed within the retail refuelling sector. But in recent years, there’s been a certain level of stability in some respects. This latest report reflects these changes and these sources of stability, giving the retailer the information needed to understand consumer behaviour and maximize site potential. To start, the landscape for retail refuelling stations has remained fairly stable, despite the challenges the past two years have brought to bear on the market. At the end of 2021, there were 11,934 retail refuelling stations operating in Canada, a gain of 26 sites over the previous year. The report indicates


that the number of stations has hovered around 12,000 for the last decade, settling in after two prior decades of significant decline. This is not to say that the lagging recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has not had an impact; rather, refuelling stations were still reporting lower average site throughputs last year, forcing retailers to pursue other sources of revenue. Following a steady increase in throughput over the last three de-



July | August 2022


FORECOURT PERFORMANCE REPORT cades, the average site throughput at Canadian sites declined by 16.8% in 2020 and, as of the end of 2021, was still 11.9% below pre-pandemic levels. The report indicates that the demand for fuel is expected to increase over the next few years as the impact of the pandemic subsides further. But in the long term, there could

likely be a decrease in demand again, the result of “…factors such as higher fuel economy standards, alternatives to petroleum in the automotive fleet, and evolving attitudes towards ride-sharing, public transit, or working from home.” The topic of inflation in general and the price of fuel specifically were not a significant factor in this study—they have

Canada’s gasoline outlet distribution 13.26 11.43

2021 Retail outlets per 10,000 population




5.52 4.24


4.99 3.90






Historical Canada-average Throughputs (millions of litres)

2.1 1.9 2.0



2.5 2.6 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.3


2.7 2.7 2.8


3.2 3.1






3.8 3.8 3.9 3.9 3.7 3.5 3.6


3.3 3.5

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008 2010 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1.8 1.5 1.6 1.7



July | August 2022






V i s it u s a t t h e CARWACS Show, Booth #421!

only become headline news since the start of 2022. But fuel pricing is a significant part of the report because it canvasses who controls the prices: marketers or dealers. In the study, the analysts discovered a range of dealer-marketer relationships and a variety of types of brand marketers, which fall into one of two broad categories: integrated refiner-marketer and non-refiner marketer. Only 1,266 (or 11%) of all retail gas stations in Canada are price-controlled by the major integrated oil companies—namely, Shell and Suncor/Petro-Canada. Of the retail gasoline stations in this country, 2,402 (or 20%) are price-controlled by integrated refiner-marketers and the remainder are price-controlled by independent proprietors or companies not involved in refining petroleum products. This figure of 80% for independents is up from 73% a decade ago. This almost goes without saying, but the majority of retail refuelling stations depend on more than just fuel to drive traffic. Convenience stores and other non-petroleum offerings, or “backcourt” offerings, are critical to supporting their businesses. Detailed backcourt site offerings were reported for 9,934 of the sites across Canada, or around 83% of all locations. Of all the backcourt offerings, convenience stores continued to be the most popular. The big trend here is the size of the store, with mid-size sites of between 5001,500 square feet the preferred choice. The analysts reasoned this may be the ideal size for today’s market given

Historical gasoline retail outlet counts

SAVE MONEY AND REDUCE YOUR EQUIPMENT DOWNTIME Weights & Measure Leak Detector Testing Authorized Bulloch System Seller


Meters repair and replacement Card Reader, Keypads, and more.





2021 service@alspumps.com www.alspumps.com 519-621-4309

FORECOURT PERFORMANCE REPORT the focus on non-petroleum sales balanced with the lack of available real estate space. (The increasing presence of convenience store specialists such as Couche-Tard and 7-Eleven may also be a contributing factor.) Car washes represented another popular choice: Of the 9,934 stations reporting ancillary offerings, fully 2,194 of them had car washes on-site. This represents 22.1% of total respondents, an increase of 0.6% over 2020. The three major brands (Petro-Canada, Esso and Shell) reported car washes at 14.6% of their facilities, up from 14.5% in 2019. The report also surveyed the number of electric vehicle (EV) chargers located at retail refuelling stations across Canada. In 2021, there were 302 stations with EV chargers on-site, a significant increase from 201 the previous year and 129 in 2019. It’s worth noting that EV charging stations are on the rise in other locations in Canada, including car dealerships, office buildings, parking lots, hotels, grocery stores and shopping centres. Given this fact, retail refuelling stations could risk losing revenue from their backcourt offerings if they don’t consider installing EV chargers at some point in the future. According to Statistics Canada, 5.2% of new vehicle regis-

Annual Average Provincial Throughputs (Millions of Litres) – 2021




3.88 2.29


















0.94 3.47


Measuring the Shift – Controlled vs. Non-Controlled Sites by Marketer Type

2010 4,549




Integrated Refiner-Marketer Uncontrolled

July | August 2022








29% 2,839


Non-Refiner Marketer Uncontrolled



Integrated Refiner-Marketer Controlled





Non-Refiner Marketer Controlled


The current principal players in Canada’s retail fuel market Share of Market by Number of Outlets – by Brand 2021


Esso 17.0%

Others 32.5%

Petro- Canada 13.3%

Fas Gas 1.5%

Communicates wirelessly, providing real time sales data

Easy Installation

Pioneer 1.5% Chevron 1.8%

Mobil 2.1%

Canadian Tire 2.4%

Custom branding opportunity

Shell 11.4% Husky Co-op 2.7% 3.9% Irving 3.8%

Ultramar 6.1%

Share of Market by Number of Outlets – by Marketer 2021 Others 33.6%

Filo-Sonic 2.4% Canadian Tire 2.4% Pétroles Cadeko 2.5% 7-Eleven 3.2% Husky Energy Harnois 3.2% 3.5%

Parkland 15.2%

Suncor Energy 9.8%

Modern Design Requires only standard 120V electrical hookup

Environmentally Focused Completely autonomous, no waste or stolen product

Couche-Tard 9.6%

User Friendly

Shell Canada 6.2% Federated Co-operatives 4.7% Sobeys 3.7%

SALES: (226) 916-5363 sales@ecotankcanada.com


FORECOURT PERFORMANCE REPORT trations in Canada in 2021 related to some form of a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). This figure represents 86,000 vehicles, up from a scant 518 vehicles a decade ago. What seems likely is that internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will continue to co-exist with electrified vehicles for some time to come, so retailers need to consider both sets of customers. The addition of EV chargers may alter the perception of a refuelling station from that of a “quick stop” to a “destination stop,” where consumers enjoy amenities such as free Wi-Fi or a café experience while charging their vehicle. As noted off the top, this is only a snapshot of the valuable range of information presented in the latest Forecourt Performance Report. For more information or to order your own copy of the report, please visit Kalibrate.com/Canada. OCTANE

QUICK FACTS Electric Charging Stations


of gas stations feature a convenience store

302 Total in Canada


13.3% up from 8.7% in 2010

Over the last decade, there has been a shift in c-store size as several small c-stores (less than 500 square feet) have been converted to mid-size convenience stores

500 – 1,500 square feet.


This trend is likely a consequence of significant investments in backcourt facilities, and the increased involvement of convenience retailing specialists


July | August 2022





of gas stations feature a car wash

EV or PHEV visits to gas stations may help maintain convenience stores, QSR, and car wash revenues


New Innovations to y MAke carwashing eas

Scan to view Innovations

seen at the car wash Show!!!

www.SonnysDirect.com 800-327-8723


Make CarWashing Easy

Member of SONNY’S Select Service Organization

Call Bill Barber at 1-855-695-3141 or email at bill@washlinks.ca



A new Petro-Canada station south of Ontario’s Muskoka cottage country puts customers— and their four-legged friends—at the heart of the journey BY M A R K H AC K I NG

Picture this: You’re part of the team responsible for refuelling station site development. A challenge at the best of times, considering you need to forecast what’s going to drive results for your company roughly a decade out. But what if the first global pandemic in a century lands on your doorstep in year eight? What then? How do you take what’s already been set in stone and make it work for a new set of circumstances? Or a new reality? Sometimes, when reality bites, you need to bite back. That’s just what the Suncor team did as they forged ahead with their plans to open Petro-Canada Cookstown, strategi-


July | August 2022



cally located on Highway 89 in Innisfil, Ont., a stone’s throw from Highway 400, on the verge of Muskoka cottage country. According to Pat Ritchie, VP sales and marketing for Suncor, what allowed them to bite back was a robust site development process that’s been over 30 years in the making. “The Cookstown site falls in line with our existing plan, so it made sense no matter what,” says Ritchie of the location that opened in May 2021. “It’s a highway strategy to support both wholesale and retail traffic. We estimate that 60% of our traffic there is wholesale and 40% is retail. The site supports commuter traffic in the area and sees a big surge in the sum-


“We always wanted our sites to be a destination, but the feedback suggested they’re not destinations, they’re stopovers on a journey”

Pit stop: The off-leash fenced dog park caters to a surge in people, including truckers and cottage-goers, travelling with pets


An automated PizzaForno machine provides fresh artisanal pizza in under three minutes, 24/7

mer as people head to cottage country.” The location is referred to as an integrated travel centre, a designation to describe a facility with a Petro-Canada retail component and a Petro-Pass truck stop all-in-one. As such, it’s been designed to not only cater to both audiences, but to provide a few surprises along the way. Some of these features are being test-marketed at Petro-Canada Cookstown for possible roll-out in more locations down the road. Example: the off-leash fenced dog park. In the wake of the pandemic, a handful of key activities, hobbies and sports skyrocketed in popularity. Cycling was


There’s something for everyone to do, including fourlegged friends, while waiting for electric vehicles to charge



July | August 2022


one. Pickleball was another. But possibly the biggest trend of all was dog ownership. Everywhere you looked, there were dogs. For good reason, too: Our canine compatriots have a reputation for providing owners with much-needed emotional support. People take their dogs to the office. Families take their dogs for weekends away. And truck drivers? Well, they’re pretty much joined at the hip with their dogs, the result of countless miles on the road together. Viewed from this lens, if you want to make your service station a necessary stopover for wholesale and retail customers, an off-leash dog park is an inspired choice. “We had a strategic initiative to look at the customer experience, both at retail and wholesale, so we mapped out a journey together with the customer,” Ritchie reports. “We sat with retail customers in their living rooms, rode with them in their cars. Then, we did the same with truck drivers. The whole process took a year, then we did market research for about two month ands follow-up for another month.” The research led to the uncovering of key insights—and more than a few surprises. “We always wanted our sites to be a destination, but the

feedback suggested they’re not destinations, they’re stopovers on a journey,” says Ritchie. “They’re like an airport, a place you need to get to somewhere else. You still want a quick and seamless experience at that stopover, you still want a place that supports your mobility. This insight really fed into a lot of our design decisions.” The development team first needed to “check the expected boxes,” making sure that Petro-Canada Cookstown offered a baseline of typical features. So the location has a large convenience store, clean washrooms and a full-size A&W Restaurant. But there’s also a lounge area with a fireplace, an innovative PizzaForno vending machine, phone-charging receptacles and, for truck drivers, hotel-style shower rooms. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout the location. Research indicated that some people prefer to sit in their cars and scroll the news or watch their favourite streaming service, so the signal strength has been boosted to encompass the entire parking lot. In their research, the development team at Suncor worked with an anthropologist to better understand their customers’ lives and how a location such as Petro-Canada Cookstown might make those lives easier. Of course, speed and conve-





8” Insulated Forms






Heavy duty slotted fastener leg to accommodate expansion and contraction

Interlocking fastening system for quick and easy installation Concealed fasteners for a clean finish

Durable, smooth surface for minimal maintenance

FEATURES & BENEFITS • Easy Installation – no gluing • Bright finish • Will not rust or corrode

• New and retrofit construction • Mold/mildew resistant • Low maintenance

• 12” & 18” wide panels • Wide range of accessories • Standard lengths: 10’,12’,14’,16’,18’, 20’


Design with Diversity. Build with Speed. nuformdirect.com


A new design for a new era. It’s all about the details; gender neutral washrooms welcome all customers


nience are key factors. But at highway locations, customers are often looking to take a break in the middle of a long drive. The location also has two DC fast-chargers for electric vehicles (EVs); by necessity, these customers sometimes have to pause for longer before continuing their journey. The stations can provide up to 80% charge in less than 30 minutes. (Using the dedicated Petro-Canada EV mobile app for iOS and Android devices, drivers can search for the next charging station along their journey, monitor charging sessions and pay for charging using their smartphone.) While the research might suggest that Petro-Canada Cookstown is not a destination, it certainly has a lot of the elements one would look for in a destination. Great food options, fast and courteous service, and a whole lot more. So the next time you’re driving along Highway 400 between Toronto and Barrie, maybe take the Highway 89 exit and visit this next-generation integrated travel centre for yourself. Just don’t be surprised if you feel the need to linger there a bit longer—or if your dog feels likewise. OCTANE

The location also has two DC fast-chargers for electric vehicles; by necessity, these customers sometimes have to pause for longer before continuing their journey. The stations can provide up to 80% charge in less than 30 minutes

Stop Sending Money Down the Drain

High Efficiency Multi-Tank Softeners � Use 40% - 50% less salt and water* � Simple to install, service and maintain � Continuous soft water at all flow rates � 5-year warranty on valves, tanks and electronics

*compared to conventional softeners

Canature WaterGroup™ is one of North America’s leading manufacturers and distributors of residential and commercial water treatment solutions.

www.canaturewg-cied.com/car-wash-case-study Phoenix, AZ

. Carmel, IN . Pottstown, PA . Regina, SK . Cambridge, ON . Guadalajara, MX

Learn more about high efficiency water softening


AN OPEN-DOOR POLICY Tips, tactics and techniques to keep your car wash running like a well-oiled machine BY M A R K H AC K I NG

If you’re already an operator of a car wash, you know how valuable your business can be. If you’re considering adding a car wash to your location, you’re about to find out. But there’s one inescapable fact about this business: downtime is the enemy. If the car wash door is closed, the cash runs dry. So it’s in your best interest to invest in car wash equipment that’s going to boost your rate of return and keep customers coming back for more. Regardless of the specific type of car wash you’re running or you plan to open, one of the key pieces of equipment is the door. Yes, the door. While it might seem relatively straightforward to have a power-operated door for your car wash, there are many factors to consider. Here are some tips, tactics and techniques engineered to help you make the right purchase and maintenance decisions.


July | August 2022



1 Measure your volume. No, we’re not talking about the sweet sound system you’ve installed in your location. We’re talking about an estimate of how many car wash customers you see over the course of the year, broken down by season and by month. This number will give you a good sense of how much wear and tear your car wash door will sustain. It will also help you determine when to schedule service intervals. Remember: The goal here is to reduce downtime, so you need a door that’s capable of withstanding a certain level of use and abuse. You also need to ensure your doors are working properly by taking advantage of slow periods to perform critical maintenance and repairs.


2 Take your temperature. Anyone who’s lived through a Canadian winter in the Prairies or on the Atlantic Coast knows that it can be a brutal, unrelenting experience. A classic Canadian winter also has the capacity to exact a unique form of punishment on anything it comes in contact with, including your car wash doors. You could take a flyer and buy the exact same doors you saw at that car wash in Phoenix, but be prepared for disappointment—and keep a pick axe handy to chip away all that ice. There are certain door designs, features and materials that are made for the heavy lifting of winter and others that are not. Think long-term, choose wisely, celebrate your win.

3 Consider the material evidence. When choosing a car wash door, it’s important to assess the design of the door itself, how it’s intended to function and what it’s made of. The modern car wash door has many advanced features, including counterweight systems, couplers and heavy-duty track construction. In terms of materials used, stainless steel is a solid bet for the cables, tracks and hardware, while the most sophisticated doors are made from polycarbonate blended with anodized aluminum. “Choosing an inexpensive system over a high cycle and low maintenance system is a mistake,” says Lana Winterfield, manager, marketing & communications for Creative Door Services. “The return on investment is extremely fast if you choose the right system.”

Leading door manufacturers recommend consistently cycling doors to keep all the working parts well-lubricated



Initiate damage control. One of the most common causes of car wash door damage is customer error—a simple case of a driver misjudging his entry and exit. But there are technological solutions available to help mitigate the damage. Safety features such as photo eyes, which track motion near the door and prevent it from closing, are worth their weight in gold. Another safety feature to consider is an emergency open system that works in the event of a power failure, allowing the door to be operated independently. You can also adjust the open and close limits of your door to ensure it reaches the proper height every time.

Make it an open and shut case. In the warmer months, it can be tempting to keep your car wash doors open. While this may seem like a solid plan for extending the lifespan of your doors and all the related equipment, it’s not the case. Anything mechanical in nature needs to be in operation regularly; in fact, leading door manufacturers recommend consistently cycling doors to keep all the working parts well-lubricated. After all, even if the door is open, it’s still subjected to the same harsh conditions coming from the car wash itself. Temperature changes. Highpressure jets of water. Chemicals, dirt, muck and grime. All of these can affect door performance, especially if the door has been sitting idle for some time. In particular, lubricant will naturally gravitate to the lower areas of bearings, so regular operation helps ensure the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so to speak.

There are certain door designs, features and materials that are made for the heavy lifting of winter and others that are not

Email us for a quote today: sales@airliftdoors.com



Plan your schedule, schedule your plan. According to the experts at Airlift Doors Inc., the best time to think about door maintenance is before “winter panic” begins. This is especially true in our country, where the percentage of car washes purchased in winter easily outpaces any other season. A solid maintenance plan should include making sure weather stripping around the door is in good shape and there’s no damage to the door itself. You should also check that the roller bearings are well-lubricated, the frame rails are clear of debris, the seals are in good shape, and all mounting hardware and anchors are secure. After all that, you should cycle the door a few times to make sure it’s in top working condition. At minimum, says Kevin Baumgartner of American Garage Door Supply Inc., you should check and tune your car wash doors and rollers twice a year.

Keep it clean. Another form of door maintenance—one that might seem unnecessary—is cleaning. Yes, cleaning your car wash door! For the polycarbonate or vinyl panels, a specific cleaner and cotton cloth will do the trick. For the clear vision panels, spritz with a regular glass cleaner and wipe away the streaks. The experts call for cleaning doors on a monthly basis to give the car wash a more attractive appearance and allow passersby to clearly see activity inside, making it more inviting to the customer. Remember: If your car wash door is not becoming to your customers, you customers will not be coming to you! OCTANE

Suppliers, what’s new in your product line? Contact Elijah Hoffman at 647-339-9654 or ehoffman@ensembleiq.com

Product News DOVER FUELING SOLUTIONS BRINGS YOU MORE HOSE OPTIONS FOR MORE FUEL DEMANDS Dover Fueling Solutions brings you more hose options for more fuel demands. Introducing the Wayne Ovation® Multi-hose fuel dispenser with up to four hoses per fueling point for up to five grades dispensed – and up to seven grades with the DFS Anthem UX™ user experience platform! Enhance your forecourt with technology you can trust while improving customer experience and extending your brand in style. www.doverfuelingsolutions.com/ovation


ALBERT’S GAS STATION MAINTENANCE The preferred Gas Station solution provider since 1997! Whether is hanging hardware, EMV, Bulloch, Veeder Root, or Tanks, we got you covered. We take pride in helping customers in Niagara, Hamilton, Brantford, Cambridge, Oshweken, Mississauga, Milton, Guelph, Georgetown, London, Dundas, Oakville, Kitchener, Waterloo, Simcoe, Strathroy, Listowel, Clinton, Goderich, Kincardine, Port Elgin, Owen Sound, Chatham, Woodstock, Caledonia, Fort Erie, Fergus, Elmira, Collingwood, and more. service@alspumps.com 519-621-4309



JULY 2022



SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT OF CCA Did you know one of the benefits of being a CCA member is a free membership to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB valued at $500)? This gives member’s access to online training (such as WHMIS), HR templates, exclusive discounts and dedicated advisors, advocacy and resources.

Cristina Caruso – SUNCOR ENERGY INC. Mike Destro – RAINBOW CAR WASH

You may also be interested in:


NATIONAL OFFICE Director of Operations Kelly McLaughlin Accountant Ricky Nason Event Coordinator Jennifer Hickey

• Details on the WSIB rebates in Ontario. If a business has a clean record, they will get back 30% of what they paid in 2019 or 2020, whichever is higher. https://www.wsib.ca/en/rebate • Class Action Credit Card Lawsuit: What is CFIB doing? CFIB wants to make sure our members that accept credit cards are aware of the opportunity to claim a portion of this settlement. We have developed a landing page (https://initiatives.cfib-fcei.ca/en-ca/credit-card-class-action-lawsuit) where merchants can get more information including how they can apply.

Canadian Carwash Association 411 Richmond Street East, Suite 200 Toronto, Ontario M5A3S5


RESOURCES Members have access to a library of resources through the CCA and CFIB partnership. Visit https://www.canadiancarwash. ca/COVID-19-and-the-Industry for more information.

First payin...first playin…just sayin…


CCA annual golf tournament is finally returning Tuesday October 4th. This will be first live event that we are hosting since 2019! This year’s tournament will be hosted at Georgetown Golf Cub. Participants will enjoy breakfast, lunch, networking opportunities and of course a round of golf. Canadian Spinal Research Organization CSRO – we will be partnering with CSRO once again for the raffle. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated for research on the cure for paralysis. We are currently accepting donations for our raffle. If interested in donating please contact events@canadiancarwash.ca. If golfing isn’t your thing, you can still get involved in our tournament as we have limited sponsorships opportunities available. These are fantastic ways for your company or brand to get exposure to car wash owners/operators, suppliers and oil companies. To find out more and secure your sponsorship today please contact events@canadiancarwash.ca.

CARWACS is returning, live and in person For the first time since 2020, the Convenience U CARWACS show will be back in person at the Toronto Congress Centre on September 13 & 14th. Discover the latest products, innovations and opportunities to drive traffic and increase profits. CCA members will get complimentary access to our education sessions and the trade show. Just another benefit of our membership! For more information please contact events@canadiancarwash.ca.


Special issue


Kristin Valles GREENERGY Mary Shigematsu JTI-MACDONALD CORP. Rima Rabba RABBA FINE FOODS Carolane Juanéda ALIMENTATION COUCHE-TARD Shannon Wing PETRO-CANADA | SUNCOR JULY / AUGUST 2022 CCentral.ca @CSNC_Octane PM42940023 $12.00




42 Winners





Congratulations to JTI’s 2022 Star Women in Convenience Award winners! JTI takes pride in being a Top Employer for the fifth consecutive year, ranking number 1 for the second time in Canada, aspiring to be a leading inclusive company towards gender equality, fostering growth and equal opportunities for all. Nancy and Mary are essential to the positive momentum of both JTI and the convenience industry as a whole. They have demonstrated exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment to the growth of JTI’s people and culture, and the nurturing of good relationships with trade partners.

Mary Shigematsu Key Account Manager

Nancy Bourdon People & Culture Director

CONTENTS J U LY | AU G U S T 2 0 2 2

VOLU M E 5 | N U M BE R 4






Editor’s Message It’s time to celebrate

Star Women in Convenience Meet the 2022 winners

The Buzz People, places, news and events


Quick Bites Ahead of the curve: These trends are influencing the future of the beverage aisle. What are you waiting for?


Location, location, location High school confidential: Welcome them today, and students can be A+ customers for life

Feature Up your promo game: How smaller chains and independents can work with vendors to boost their bottom lines


Category Check Crunch time: Potato chips and other salty snacks continue to be the go-to nibbles for Canadians, but will supply issues and rising costs ruin the fun?

Comprised of leading retail executives and convenience operators, this volunteer group of industry champions offer advice, key insights and on-theground perspectives that serve as an invaluable resource to ensure content is relevant and meets the needs of the industry.


Snapshot Kathy Perrotta of Ipsos Canada looks at what new front of package labels will mean for Canadians’ c-store buying decisions


C-store IQ National Shopper Study Purchasing habits: A look inside the shopping bag


Delivered to your in-box every week


Leslie Gordon, Circle K Norman Hower, 7-Eleven Canada Wendy Kadlovski, Nicholby’s


Robbie Mulder, Little Short Stop Laurie & Randy Ure, Ure’s Country Kitchen Gino Vecia, Hasty Market

The latest industry news and information, plus resources, foodservice insights, store solutions, tobacco/vaping updates and more. Don’t miss out! Sign up today at www.CCentral.ca/signup Simply hover your phone’s camera over this code:

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022






© 2022 BIC Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3N 1W


EDITOR’S MESSAGE 20 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON M4R 1K8 (416) 256-9908 | (877) 687-7321 | Fax (888) 889-9522 www.CCentral.ca SVP, GROCERY AND CONVENIENCE | Sandra Parente


It’s time to celebrate


Michelle Warren | mwarren@ensembleiq.com


TRANSLATION | Danielle Hart


Elijah Hoffman | ehoffman@ensembleiq.com


Michael Cronin | mcronin@ensembleiq.com


Michael Kimpton | mkimpton@ensembleiq.com


Alexandra Voulu | avoulu@ensembleiq.com

VICE PRESIDENT EVENTS & CONFERENCES Megan Judkins | mjudkins@ensembleiq.com

SENIOR DIRECTOR AUDIENCE STRATEGY Lina Trunina | ltrunina@ensembleiq.com

SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CANADA & SPECIAL PROJECTS Valerie White | vwhite@ensembleiq.com



Subscriptions: Print $65.00 per year, 2 year $120.00, Digital $45.00 per year, 2 year $84.00, 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



2022 marks five years of celebrating the incredible and accomplished women who influence and drive success across this dynamic industry. Convenience Store News Canada launched Star Women in Convenience in 2018 to recognize exceptional women—from retailers to distributors, manufacturers, industry associations and consultants—making a difference, while demonstrating commitment, innovation and leadership. We know that gender diversity in the workplace is key to business success. Research from McKinsey Canada shows that although DE&I is seen as a priority across Canadian organizations, not enough concrete action is being taken to remedy the under-representation of women throughout all levels of the talent pipeline. The convenience industry, however, is championing change, with women taking on a diverse range of valuable roles. I am thrilled to share that, once again, you nominated a record number of women from across the country—thank you! This program would not be possible without your enthusiasm and support. This year, we present an incredible 42 winners! Up from 30 in 2021, 23 in 2020, 17 in 2019 and 11 in 2018. The Star Women in Convenience Awards keeps growing and so, too, does women’s sphere of influence in this ever-evolving industry. New this year, the Star Women in Convenience Awards recognize winners in three categories to ensure we are including outstanding individuals across all areas of the channel: senior-level stars, shining stars and store-level stars. One of my favourite things about this job is getting to know these accomplished women, who so generously share their insights, advice and career highlights. Now it’s your turn (p. 15). Plus, be there when the industry comes together in-person on October 12 to honour the winners at the 2022 Star Women in Convenience Awards Event. If the enthusiasm and sense of community around the Awards itself are any indication, it’s going to be a fantastic celebration! In the meantime, wishing you a joyful, healthy and prosperous summer. CSNC

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. ©2022 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.


Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Printing PM42940023

no gradients






stacked logo (for sharing only)


Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022




Charging ahead

Alimentation Couche-Tard is rolling out its Circle K electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers in North America, with an initial focus on the U.S. The plan is to introduce EV charging units at 200 Circle K and Couche-Tard stores in Canada and the U.S. over the next two years.

100 % yes 0no%

National Convenience Week August 29-September 2, 2022 ConvenienceWeek.ca

Ontario Convenience Store Week August 29-September 3, 2022 OntarioCstores.ca


Is your business struggling to attract and retain staff?


The Convenience U CARWACS Show September 13-14, 2022 ConvenienceU.ca

Hershey strengthens Ontario roots

Hershey Canada cut the ribbon on its new 525,000-sq.-ft. distribution centre in Brantford, Ont. The company had been leasing in the area, but now will have a permanent home that includes an office building and training centre. In addition to Rohit Grover, president international at The Hershey Company, and Jason Reiman, SVP, chief supply chain officer, the Mayor of Brantford joined the Canadian team at the unveiling of the new facility.

Star Women in Convenience Event October 12, 2022 StarWomenConvenience.ca

Chew on this

To accelerate growth and generate "strong, sustainable shareholder value," Mondelēz International Inc. plans to divest its developed market gum business, as well as its global Halls business. The company has a long-term vision to generate 90% of revenue in chocolate and biscuits, including baked snacks.

Increase Profits


July | August 2022


Convenience Store News Canada


Drive Traffic

The Convenience U CARWACS Show returns live and in-person at the Toronto Congress Centre Inspire Loyalty September 13-14, 2022: Will you LIVE and IN-PERSON be there when the industry reunites in-person for the largest September convenience gas and car wash 13-14, 2022 Toronto Congress Centre show in Canada? ConvenienceU.ca CARWACS.com Yes, I can’t wait! 100% Maybe, plans are percolating! 0% No, I can’t make it 0%


Impact Awards: Nominations close August 26th Canada’s convenience and gas industry is filled with inspiring and innovative examples of companies making a positive impact; this is your opportunity to shine a light on your organization’s efforts, from helping the planet to supporting employees and communities.There is no fee to nominate (you can even nominate in multiple categories), and honourees will be featured in Convenience Store News Canada magazine and online in November. CSNCImpactAwards.com



Mike Bannerman is promoted to VP client services at Crossmark. Bannerman, who joined Crossmark in 2018, will be responsible for many of the company’s key clients. Prior to Crossmark, Bannerman worked for such food companies as Conagra and Old Dutch. Scott Brooks joins the ITWAL team as director, foodservice. Brooks brings more than two decades of end-to-end experience in foodservice, including many years with both chain operators and manufacturers. Most recently, he was director of sales, foodservice at Solis Foods. Jordan Campbell returns to PepsiCo as sales strategy manager. He mostly recently worked for Canada Stampings as director of business development. Before that. Campbell spent several years at PepsiCo in increasingly progressive roles. Leena Halim is promoted to director of marketing SRP Canada/Distributions Franco. The 2021 Star Women in Convenience winner joined SRP in the role of marketing and product manager in 2012. Amity Liang joins Circle K global marketing team as social media strategist based in Calgary. Jerry Murdock, who has more than two decades experience at OLG, is now director key accounts and trade marketing. Murdock joined OLG as a sales rep in 2000 and has taken on increasingly senior roles. Sandra Parente joins EnsembleIQ as senior vicepresident, grocery and convenience, Canada. She will oversee Convenience Store News Canada, OCTANE, Canadian Grocer, Product of the Year Canada and Monday Retail IQ, collaborating with the leadership team of each brand to drive innovations that provide essential insights and actionable connections to the audiences they serve. Parente joins from Newcom Media and her previous experiences include senior leadership roles with some of Canada’s best-known consumer media brands: Maclean’s, MoneySense and Sportsnet. Parente also served as general manager, corporate sales of Rogers Media’s publishing group. Mike Searle joins SRP Canada as regional sales manager, Western Canada. Searle, who is based in Calgary, has deep sales experience, having spent eight years as a sales manager at Concord National.


Jennifer Litterick, CEO of EnsembleIQ, Convenience Store News Canada's parent company, is honoured as a change-maker in the information services industry by the Top Women in Media & Ad Tech Awards. The awards program, produced by AdExchanger and AdMonsters, celebrates leaders who have made an impact in the digital media and advertising technology community. Litterick joined the C-Suite Panel at the MediaGrowth Summit 2022 in June.







To stay up to date on the latest news and trends, get the All Convenience e-newsletter delivered to your in-box every Wednesday: CCentral.ca/signup

*Announce your new hires and promotions. Email mwarren@ ensembleiq.com


Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022




Ahead of the curve

These trends are influencing the future of the beverage aisle. What are you waiting for? When it comes down to it, the essence of the convenience industry is wishfulfillment. Operators deliver value by providing what the consumer wants, or possibly needs, on demand in real time. When it works, it’s a wonderful thing, that is mutually beneficial. When a c-store is in-synch with customers—to the point where store offerings expand organically to anticipate their evolving tastes—it’s magical. The challenge for operators, given limited shelf space, is to offer the staples you know your customers want, and to also anticipate the next thing. Nowhere is this truer than in your beverage cooler. That’s prime real estate, and the number of options is diverse. Beverages are a draw. QSR restaurant chains fight cheek by jowl for incremental shares of the coffee market, because capturing customer beverage occasions leads to additional purchases and revenue. Getting ahead of the curve on beverages is surely a competitive advantage. That’s why it’s useful to regularly evaluate new cold beverage SKUs, and consider if and when to add them to your line-up. Adoption cycle Datassential tracks thousands of U.S. menus in a vast database. The premise behind what they do is that food trends are predictable occurrences. According to Datassential, food trends “follow a common life cycle, a predictable journey spanning four distinct stages, starting at leading restaurants… catalyzed by consumers’ away-fromhome experiences.” 1. Inception: An original trend driven by an innovative chef. 2. Adoption: Early popularity sparked by a select number of influencers facilitating access. 3. Proliferation: Adjustment/dilution for mainstream appeal. 4. Ubiquity: Widespread availability.


July | August 2022


Kale is the classic example. Between 2009 and 2017, kale went from being a little-known niche vegetable, to being on offer at McDonald’s in multiple items, including a salad entrée, and a sandwich topped with Sriracha Mac sauce and baby kale. Conventional convenience stores typically only expand offerings to include items when they reach Stage 4 (same goes for cafeterias, family restaurants, drug stores and dollar stores). Getting ahead of competitors means looking for items that are in the first and second stages of the cycle.

• Global probiotic beverage sales will approach $80 billion in sales by 2025, almost double 2018 revenues.

Beyond refreshment Switzerland-based EHL Insights, and global research provider Technavio, recently published their takes on the top global drink trends for 2022. The megatrends that they identify generally reflect products that have one or more halos to allow consumers to feel better about the beverages they’re choosing, such as healthier, cleaner, more sustainable, premium and socially responsible. For c-store operators, it’s worth noting these trends to shape future category management.

CBD-infused relaxation drinks

Bubble tea

• Taiwanese tea-based drink with tapioca or fruit jelly bubbles. • Appeals to health-conscious, younger consumers seeking alternatives to carbonated soft drinks (CSDs). • Typically lower in sugar, made with soya milk, combined with green tea, fruit mixes and unique flavours. • Global market to grow by almost $2 billion to exceed $4 billion by 2027. Fermented drinks

• Growing popularity reflects consumers prioritizing gut-health. • Functional healthy drinks include kombucha, water kefir, and other probiotic and prebiotic beverages.

Convenience Store News Canada

Plant-based energy

• Tapping into interest in plant-based options, and the established energy category dominated by Monster and Red Bull. • Wide-variety of BFY energy beverages, such as yerba mate energy teas, moringa, yaupon, cascara, and more. • Yerba mate market in the U.S. is set to increase by over $300M from 2020 to 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.5%. (Worth noting as a wider trend, however Canadian regulations prevent these from being sold in c-stores) • Beyond being a mixer in trendy bars, CBD-infused beverages are meeting a need for wellness/mindfulness in an increasingly anxious world. • Multiple brands have sprouted with offerings combining plant-CBD, herbs, botanicals, and nutraceuticals. Around the bend The world is constantly turning. However, we are limited in our ability to easily see beyond the bend, past the horizon. Maybe that’s what explains our fascination with rainbows, and what’s on the other side. The last remaining Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the oldest living moonwalker, said, “Exploration is wired into our brains. If we can see the horizon, we want to know what’s beyond.” That’s the stuff that dreams are made of. CSNC 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.




High school confidential Welcome them today, and students can be A+ customers for life BY CH R IS DA N I E L S

School kids may now be on summer vacation, but they were very much on the mind of Jun Hwang and his wife about this time last year when the couple was looking to venture into entrepreneurship and buy a convenience store in Stouffville, Ont. They settled on B.J. Gift & Variety. Its location, along the town’s hightrafficked Main Street, included a sizable parking lot, making it easy for drivers to grab and go. The other big selling point? Its walking distance to not one, not two, but three schools with Grades 7 and 8. It was an opportunity for growth he saw being missed by the owner who sold him the business: “He was 80 years old and wasn’t carrying any product for them.”


July | August 2022



of our sales. But the profit margin in the 15% is high” they are the future customers. Welcome students with your product mix, and a portion of them will continue to make the store a shopping destination into adulthood. “When I took over the store, I had some customers who are in their 30s and 40s come in and tell me that they’ve been coming here since they were six,” notes Hwang, who previously worked in the freight industry. With business steadily building from

Convenience Store News Canada

pre-purchase levels, Hwang is looking to make additional changes to grow the customer base, including among students. (He notes, for instance, stationery hasn’t been selling, so won’t be stocking up that anymore. But he is considering novelty items, like trading cards, that might appeal to kids.) Capture the lunch crowd Meanwhile, Smokers Mart, located near Riverdale Collegiate Institute in


Review product mix Hwang has since changed the product mix, devoting shelving specifically to kids’ sweet tooth, with a wide assortment of gummies and jellies, licorice, chewy treats, chocolates and more. B.J. Gift & Variety is now attracting as many as 30 kids a day, who usually visit after school. “They love the candy—it sells fast—and they also buy a lot of bottled beverages,” says Hwang. “The other thing, the margin on these products is really good.” For c-stores in school neighbourhoods, students are an important customer segment owing to their visit frequency and high-margin category preferences. And as Hwang points out,

“Students are very important— they make up about


Toronto, has become an important lunch spot for the high school’s student body, which numbers about 1,500. That has been especially true with the closing of a nearby Starbucks and Pizza Pizza during the pandemic. “Students are very important—they make up about 15% of our sales,” says Smokers Mart owner Nira Murugan. “But the profit margin in the 15% is high relative to cigarette and lottery sales.” In addition to offering variety and novelty in drinks and candy, Smokers Mart offers quick meals for lunch. Think Cup Noodles and Jamaican patties. “Patties are served hot,” he says. “Cup Noodles, we pour hot water for them and provide forks.” Prioritize safety and security Despite their promise, students can pose potential concerns and challenges for owners—namely, theft and mischief. In April, for instance, the entire student bodies of two Toronto schools were banned from a Dollarama after several “disruptive” incidents. Fortunately, c-store owners for this story say students have not been disruptive to other customers—nor has shoplifting been an issue. “We have good kids, but sometimes you’ll get a group of seven friends come in at once, and you get a little nervous about it,” says Hwang. But he hasn’t detected any theft, and has a closed-circuit television surveillance camera with a large screen installed at the front of the store as a deterrent. Smokers Mart also doesn’t have that problem with RCI students. “We have tons of cameras, and we keep track of our inventory to see if there are items that are missing—so far, it hasn’t been an issue,” says Murugan. Rather, he finds “the biggest challenge is needing extra staff for the short lunch rush.” Fortunately, being family run and having an additional hand just minutes away, “someone just drops by if there’s only one person working. Most days we have two people, one for cash and one for stocking up.” For stores without staff flexibility, he says “you can apply a customer limit,” which, in addition to keeping the lunch rush manageable, can also serve as a shoplifting deterrent. “We did


that for awhile—four kids at a time,” says Murugan. “Just takes a couple of weeks to get the students used to it. But because we had the staff for it, we didn’t keep up with it.” Target students year-round Eric Labranche, who owns Voisin c-stores in Shawinigan and TroisRivières in Quebec, says when it comes to product choices, students love variety and change. That includes during summer holiday when slushies are a big seller. “The Creamsicle slush last summer was a big hit, and this summer we’re betting on a new Sour Mango flavoured slush,” says Labranche. When Voisin welcomes students back to school in September, it’ll also be sure to have high-quality lunch and snack options. “They are willing to spend to have, for example, good sandwiches with top-of-the-range products,” says Labranche. Hire your customers If you cultivate and build relationships with them, in addition to being active customers, Labranche says students can also be a never-ending pipeline of staffing help. Students represent between 40% to 50% of his staff at any one time. “And I like to believe students who frequent my convenience stores end up rubbing shoulders with the student employees, see it can be fun, and want to work here, too,” he explains. Labranche says it also creates goodwill with students to build community with schools. (See sidebar to see how the chains are doing this.) A Convenience Industry Council of Canada Frontline Heroes Award winner in 2021, Labranche helped ensure graduating students of his old school had a safe ceremony by having Voisin staff volunteer at the door to ensure sanitary measures were being met. Voisin also donated floor stickers to help guests socially distance. “More than just customers, I firmly believe as a c-store owner we can make a difference in the lives of young people,” says Labranche. “That is why I get involved—it is important for me that our business be tied to the community, and strive to do social good.” CSNC

School review

Big chains shift strategies

Major c-store chains have been helping to support Canadian schools for years now. However, they have recently shifted their strategies. Couche-Tard is no longer running its Fueling Our Schools campaign in Canada. Launched in 2017 here and the U.S., it saw Circle K and Mac’s locations create specially marked fuel pumps, a portion of proceeds from which went to local schools. The funds, up to $2,000 per year, per institution, helped prop up budgets for supplies and technology. “That program is no longer active in Canada,” says Jennifer Vincent, senior manager, global communications for CoucheTard. “Our community support, of course, continues, as it is the core of our local work, but it is at a wider scale and not specific to grade schools.” During the pandemic, 7-Eleven Canada, which has long been popular with students thanks to products tailored to their tastes, like Slurpees, helped students and teachers keep safe. It donated more than 1.25 million face masks and 42,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to schools in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Earlier this year, 7-Eleven Canada also shared that it is in the early stages of developing internship programs for students in higher education. Norman Hower, VP and GM of 7-Eleven Canada, says the program is designed to “better support students and future business leaders of our communities.”

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022




Canadians have more chances to WIN with 3 x $10,000 grand prizes and daily cash prizes!

In 2022, the campaign is back with more chances to win and new participating products: New CARAMILK Salted Caramel 50g and 100g bars and CARAMILK 100g bar. This national in-store contest beginning July 25, 2022 will help drive purchase of CARAMILK!


Item #: 612000171702 Contents: 48 CARAMILK SGL 50G 48 CARAMILK Salted Caramel 50G 48 MR BIG Original SGL 60G 48 WUNDERBAR SGL 58G 72 CRUNCHIE SGL 44G


Item #: 612000170401 Contents: 42 CADBURY DAIRY MILK 100G 42 CADBURY Fruit and Nut 100G 24 CADBURY Hazelnut 100G 18 CARAMILK 100G 18 CARAMILK Salted Caramel 100G


Item #: 612000171801 Contents: 24 CARAMILK SGL 50G 24 CRUNCHIE 44G 24 CADBURY DAIRY MILK 42G 24 CARAMILK Salted Caramel 50G

Contact your wholesale representative or your Mondelez Canada representative. Call 1-855-219-6672 for more information.

*No purchase necessary. Open to residents of Canada (age of majority). Starts July 25/22 (12:00:00 a.m. ET) and ends Nov 2/22 (11:59:59 p.m. ET). 3 Grand Prizes available ($10,000 CAD each). 202 Daily Prizes available (2 per Day; $100 CAD each). Odds depend on number and timing of eligible entries. Skill-testing question required. Enter online and rules at www.caramilk.ca






The 42 women who comprise this year’s Star Women in Convenience fulfill diverse roles across an

ever-evolving industry, but have one thing in common—an unparalleled commitment to excellence. These women rise to any challenge, inspire those around them and create extraordinary value, not only for their companies, but also customers, clients and industry partners. They deserve to be celebrated for their achievements! Now in its fifth year, the annual Star Women in Convenience Awards recognize exceptional women—from retailers to distributors, manufacturers, industry associations and consultants—making a difference and demonstrating commitment, innovation and leadership. New this year, to ensure winners include outstanding individuals from the store floor to c-suite, Star Women were chosen in one of three categories: senior-level stars, shining stars and store-level stars. These women are remarkable leaders with valuable insights, experiences, advice and accomplishments to share: Here are their stories. LEF T TO RIGHT : Heather Robertson PAYMENT SOURCE | Ana Luiza




Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


S E N I O R - L E V E L S TA R S Nancy Bourdon

Marianne Csincsa

Sandra Kayyali

How did you get into this industry? I was approached by a recruiter who had found my profile online.

How did you get into this industry? I worked at my parent’s service station in rural Manitoba. After high school, DOMO looked like a fun place to work. Thirty-five years later, I still love what I’m doing.

How did you get into this industry? At Torstar, part of my role was overseeing the free press distribution between Torstar and Gateway. When the division was eliminated, my colleagues and I took this business in-house to Gateway and developed Gateway Direct Media.

Director of people & culture JTI-Macdonald Corp.

What do you like most about your job? Every day is different and brings new challenges. What was the biggest challenge of your career? Having to go through a major transformation of our business. What’s the best advice you ever received? Be myself! What’s your career highlight/ proudest achievement? How we managed the communication of our transformation and how people came first. What are you most proud of during the last year? COVID brought a lot of challenges for everyone and every business. As an organization, we demonstrated how resilient we can be, and we quickly adapted to the new reality. We focused some of our initiatives on mental health, wellbeing, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). We understand that employees are looking for flexibility and we adapted some of our policies accordingly. How do you define yourself as a leader? Someone who listens, empowers my team, coaches and develops. What excites you most about the future of this channel? There is always a way to reinvent ourselves.

Vice-president, operations Domo Corporation Ltd.

Favourite thing about your job? Motivating and developing a strong, loyal team. Their success is my success. Biggest challenge? One of my markets had staffing problems. I worked with management to make changes. Today, it’s one of our best markets! Best advice received? Treat people the way you want to be treated. Praise people in public, reprimand in private. Career highlights? Started at the pumps and worked my way up to VP of operations. What are you most proud of during the last year? Our team. They were true heroes throughout the pandemic. We kept our gas stations open while maintaining our friendly “Jump to the Pump” service. What excites you most about the future of this channel? Seeing people advance within the company. Leadership style? I lead by example and use positive motivation to get results. Anything else? I attribute my success to caring about people and running the business as if it were my own. Everyone’s job is important. I’m fortunate to have had this opportunity, mentor others, and help promote a safe, positive work environment.

Vice-president marketing and merchandising Gateway Market Canada Inc.

Favourite thing about your job? Being a part of the convenience industry is being a part of a community. The creativity, culture, collaboration and challenge my role embodies that helps foster a learning continuum. Biggest challenge? Adhering and adapting to new upper management and leadership styles during the change in company ownership. Best advice received? Never stop learning and questioning, always remain curious, engaged, and teachable. Career highlight? My growth trajectory over the past eight years with Gateway; having had the opportunity to fulfill several roles. What are you most proud of during the last year? Advocating on behalf of our franchisees when their livelihoods were at stake due to the devastation of the pandemic. What excites you most about the future of this channel? A transition in product offerings, trending more towards better-for-you options, a focus on health and well-being. Leadership style? Having the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes and the patience to lead while maintaining self-awareness, building trust and respect. I strive to lead by example.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


Digital pioneer, innovator, and change agent Today we celebrate Elisa as a 2022 Star Woman in Convenience. Through her unwavering determination and agility, she continues to shape the transformation of our company and industry alike. Thank you for redefining what’s possible and inspiring change.

We’re so proud of you!

Your Imperial Tobacco Canada Family

careers.bat.com Elisa di Bello

S E N I O R - L E V E L S TA R S Suzanne Poirier

Ingy Sarraf

Shannon Wing

How did you get into this industry? After obtaining my CPA certification, I joined a major grocery retailer and truly enjoyed the industry.

How did you get into this industry? Carl Goyette, the CEO of Guru, invited me to join about five years ago, a choice I have never regretted.

Favourite thing about your job? I enjoy my role in operations excellence serving the different business units and making things easier for our teams and customers.

Favourite thing about your job? The opportunity to have a strategic impact on the company’s management, its culture and its people.

What do you like most about your job? Strategy is about making decisions on how to move forward in an uncertain future. I enjoy the creativity that comes with evaluating what the future could look like.

Biggest challenge? Gaining my customers’ trust was not a given, especially at the start of my career. Due to hard work, my knowledge, and my leadership style, I won them all over!

Biggest challenge? Guru’s transition from a private to a public company in less than three months.

Vice-president, global finance and supply chain optimization Alimentation Couche-Tard

Best advice received? To believe in myself. Career highlight? I’ve had many employees tell me how I made a significant difference in their lives by believing in them.

Chief financial officer & corporate secretary Guru Organic Energy

Senior director strategy & business development | Petro-Canada, a Suncor Energy Business

Best advice received? Never take yourself too seriously. Love where you are and who you are while doing it. Career highlight? When I joined Guru. It was the first time I felt in flow, and I stayed true to who I am.

What are you most proud of? All the work we did on high-priority projects during the pandemic. We worked remotely, but that didn’t impact our collaboration and engagement.

What are you most proud of? In 2021, we accomplished a lot at Guru in a short period of time. For example, the transformative deal with PepsiCo and the $50 million financing, which followed another big accomplishment in late 2020 with our IPO.

What excites you most about the future of this channel? At Circle K, we want to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day. Achieving this with the ever-changing landscape is super exciting.

What excites you most about the future of this channel? The future of the retail experience: Customers expect to shop when they want, where they want. We will all be challenged to be creative.

How do you define yourself as a leader? I am authentic and passionate about my work and the people around me, and I believe that it shows. I am goal-driven, leading by example, and I empower my team to participate and share ideas.

Leadership style? I believe in teamwork, and I try to surround myself with passionate, driven, competent and hard-working people, which allows me to delegate, brainstorm and work together, and be more efficient.


Best advice? Taking on new challenges will bring on the biggest career growth. There have been many points in my career where I have stretched outside my comfort zone and taken on projects or roles that I was not an expert in. These were invariably the situations where I had the greatest learnings and growth. What excites you most about the future of this channel? The definition and expectation of “convenience” is continuously changing. As our customers embrace digital experiences, consumer expectations are defined by other channels outside of C&G. What challenges do you think lie ahead for your sector? I think that in the C&G channel the stores’ importance in the mix will continue to increase. One of the challenges is that customer expectations will be shaped by businesses that deliver their entire business model online. Our channel will need to keep up with these expectations while correspondingly delivering an exceptional in-store experience. What are you most proud of during the last year? As a co-chair of our employee resource group for diversity and inclusion, I feel we have helped contribute to cultural changes within our organization. Our employee resource groups were nominated for a Suncor Energy Excellence Award this year in the peoples’ choice category—voted by employees.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS! Each one of our winners brings passion, creativity, and talent to Alimentation Couche-Tard. We are proud that they have been recognized among the Star Women in Convenience 2022. To them, and all the amazing winners, congratulations!

Vice President Global Finance and Supply Chain Optimization


Senior Marketing Manager Fuel North America

CAROLANE JUANÉDA If you’re looking to grow within a global company, get to know us at workwithus.circlek.com

Market Manager Eastern Canada


S H I N I N G S TA R S Sylvie Berardelli

Lynda Desmarais

Elisa di Bello

How did you get into this industry? My retail experience in sales and management gave me an opportunity to join a growing company with a great reputation.

How did you get into this industry? I ran a home daycare and wanted a new job. A friend who managed a convenience store hired me as a cashier.

How did you get started? In 2006, I was a store manager for a cell phone company. Imperial Tobacco Canada launched their direct to store delivery service and I applied.

Favourite part of your job? Visiting the sites, spending time with managers and teams and working together.

Favourite thing about your job? Interacting with customers, managers and suppliers, and the diversity of the work.

Biggest challenge? Moving from telecommunications to the fuel and convenience industry was a learning curve, but it’s one of the most rewarding changes I’ve ever made.

Biggest challenge? Putting forth our image [branding] and hiring the right manager and great teams during the construction or acquisition of new stores.

Favourite thing about your job? Working in trade and operations comes with the pressure of making decisions quickly and being agile. I have the best team and I’m always learning something new.

Best advice received? Learn from challenge and change and have fun while being the best!

Career highlight? When Groupe F. Dufresne nominated me as supervisor of corporate operations. Whenever we remodelled or acquired a new store, they’d send a notice celebrating the work we accomplished.

Operations manager, corporate retail McDougall Energy

Career highlights? Hired as convenience retail support clerk in 2018, being elevated to retail senior supervisor in March 2020 and retail operations manager in December 2020. And winning this award! What are you most proud of? How we came together as a team to work through the challenges COVID-19 brought. We worked diligently to ensure the safety of our workers and customers while growing the business. What excites you about the future of this channel? How innovation and technology is changing how we do business and service customers. I also look forward to the expansion of categories to include new products. Leadership style? I’m a strong communicator and listener who is empathetic and fair. I lead by example, working alongside my team to achieve engagement and high performance.


Supervisor, corporate operations Groupe F. Dufresne

What are you most proud of? In 2021, we acquired 30 stores to be transformed under our brand, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, I got the work done and hired excellent teams. What excites you most about the future? This industry is constantly evolving, and the contact with customers and employees remains very important so we can protect this lovely community. Leadership style? I bring people together and love working with a team—sharing my knowledge and leading by example. I also like enjoying myself while I work, and always lend an ear. Other thoughts? This award really touches my heart and demonstrates that Groupe F. Dufresne appreciates and recognizes the work I do.

Director, trade marketing and operations Imperial Tobacco Canada

Biggest challenge? The transition from project manager to people manager. Once I learned how to deliver through others, I could spend my time crafting strategy and driving real change. Best advice received? “Feedback is a gift; what you do with it is up to you.” At BAT, I’ve been surrounded by managers and mentors who inspired me to reach higher, ask questions and get out of my comfort zone. Career highlight? Leading the project for TM&D to deliver plain packaging in Canada in 2019. What are you most proud of? The progress we’ve made as an organization to go digital first with all our B2B interactions. What excites you most about the future of this channel? Convenience is just getting started with automation and leveraging digital, so I’m excited to see how that will elevate the in-store journey. Leadership style? Keep things fun and engaging. Make sure my employees feel understood, seen and valued.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


Congratulations to

Melissa Ryan and all the 2022 Star Women in Convenience Award Winners!

We are proud that Melissa has been recognized for the outstanding leadership and 40 years of experience that she brings to Canadian Tire Gas+ and our Industry.

S H I N I N G S TA R S Jessica Dolphin

Danielle Friel

Janet Hill

How did you get into this industry? 7-Eleven brings back fond childhood memories. I had my first date with my husband at a 7-Eleven! When I saw their job posting, I jumped in feet first!

How did you get into this industry? I joined Petro-Canada through the New Grad Program. What attracted me to the industry was the diversity in roles related to convenience retail and field operations.

How did you get into this industry? I started with Free Flow Petroleum as a cashier when I was 18. Forty years later, I’m the district manager of eight locations.

Human resources leader, Canada 7-Eleven Canada

What do you like most about your job? Our people make it all worthwhile. The ability to make a difference in their lives makes each day very special.

Senior manager, area retail licensee - Ontario East Petro-Canada (Suncor Energy)

Favourite part of your job? Every day is a different challenge, which keeps it fun, interesting and allows for learning opportunities.

Biggest challenge of your career? Thriving in a volatile retail environment that changes every day, and the aftermath from COVID.

Biggest challenge? Figuring out how to balance work and home life. I learned it’s important to take time for myself and ask for help.

Best advice received? Anything you can imagine, you can create!

Best advice received? Creating and maintaining a collaborative, trusting, positive and fun work environment is so important to grow the business and grow as a team.

Career highlights? Being a change agent to drive improvement, diversity and influencing pro-active change within human relations. What are you most proud of during the last year? Supporting our teams with direction, courage and positive efforts to manage the pandemic, while continuing to support business needs. What excites you most about the future of this channel? To grow, change and redefine our business, expand the human portion and define HR to support. Leadership style? Positive, high energy, creating clear visions, endless pursuit of self-improvement while promoting greater diversity and growth for all. Other thoughts? I’m honoured to be among these amazing leaders! I’m always seeking to connect with like-minded individuals in the pursuit of personal growth and supporting diversity while driving business forward.


Career highlight? Being on lead for creating and bringing to market a new car wash card product to our network. I worked on every aspect including design creation, strategy and market launch components. What are you most proud of? My work within key store categories like tobacco. I translated category management objectives into field-level deliverables so we could execute to our best. What excites you most about the future of this channel? Change! We’re seeing new areas of focus emerge such as QSR in more convenience stores and new store offerings. Leadership style? I’m a passionate, collaborative and trustworthy leader that delivers solutions to challenges while maintaining a positive working environment.

District manager Free Flow Petroleum

Favourite part about your job? The amazing people on our team. Biggest challenge? Trying to navigate through the changing pandemic times to ensure all processes were followed and the staff were safe. Best advice received? Life is not a destination; it’s a journey, and you need to enjoy it. Best achievement? Raising three boys while helping grow the business. Both continue to grow and amaze me, whether it’s the highest sales to date or, for my boys, starting their own careers, getting married and having their own families. What are you most proud of during the last year? Helping our staff and customers see positives when facing so many challenges during the pandemic. What excites you most about the future? The channel is constantly changing, growing and evolving. I’m excited to see what’s in store for our future. Leadership style? Lead by example and build trust in your team. Be kind and understanding. Other thoughts? When I came to Free Flow Petroleum as an 18-yearold, I never dreamt I would be here 40 years later. It’s a great place to have a career.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022



S H I N I N G S TA R S Carmina Jimenez

Carolane Juanéda

Jeanette Kernaghan

How did you get into this industry? I met Anne Kothawala, CICC President & CEO, via another organization. When the opportunity came up to work with her, I jumped on it.

How did you get into this industry? ACT intrigued me. I wanted to be part of this successful Quebec company that operates globally.

What do you like most about your job? I love the fact that my efforts directly contribute to the people of Ontario. By interacting directly with our lottery retail partners, I also get to impact small business owners in our province.

Communications & events manager Convenience Industry Council of Canada

Favourite thing about your job? I love connecting members. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing them enjoy themselves and sharing an experience that I organized. Biggest challenge? Finding ways to support our members during COVID-19 and fostering relationshipbuilding from our home offices. Best advice received? “Remember…it’s just a conversation.” This advice lifts the tension and opens the ears. Career highlight? Continuing to grow my career and stage highquality events and programs while living on three different continents. What are you most proud of? Our in-person event at the end of November, which came together in about six weeks. A magician isn’t without tools: two decades of experience to be nimble and amazing colleagues to make it all come together. What excites you most about the future? How the channel embraces sustainability and multiculturalism in product offerings. Leadership style? Grace is how I define myself as a leader. Beyond conducting myself with calmness and confidence in the hairiest of situations, I also demonstrate graceful leadership by believing that I and my talented colleagues know what needs to be done and how to do it.


Senior marketing manager, fuel North America Alimentation Couche-Tard

Favourite thing about your job? The culture fit. ACT is a fast-paced environment. You must be nimble and make big decisions with little information. Biggest challenge? Building the Circle K Fuel brand in North America as we rebrand from third party fuel brands to our own. Best advice received? My dad always told me: “Control your emotions before taking action.” Career highlight? Working on the first brand campaign. We had high ambitions within a short period, and I had to wear different hats and find solutions. What are you most proud of? The work we did to bring more visibility to our Circle K Fuel brand and increase fuel gallons. What excites you most about the future? It will be interesting to see how the channel will evolve, with technological tools that will make the consumer experience easier and faster. Leadership style? I define myself as a creative leader who takes ownership of projects. For me, creativity means thinking big and differently. I also actively listen to what others say and seek feedback from my colleagues to maximize the chance of success of our projects.

Account business partner, channel delivery Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp.

Best advice received? To venture outside my comfort zone, to challenge myself to learn a new role instead of pursuing the career path I was following. The advice, quite simply, was to dream big and champion change. Career highlight? There is no one highlight or achievement that stands out. Every day in this industry is a new adventure; this is a fast-paced environment, and I leave each workday with a sense of accomplishment and reward for OLG and my retailers. What are you most proud of during the last year? This past year has taught me flexibility, patience, and a renewed appreciation for those around me. During this past year and the year before, it has been a truly amazing experience to work closely with my category partners and retailers to overcome obstacles together, pivoting and finding solutions to new challenges as they arose. What excites you most about the future of this channel? Whatever the future holds, I look forward to adapting with it, being part of a team that looks to innovate the convenience industry, and bringing our products and services to consumers in a way that is sustainable and profitable to our retailers.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


Congratulations to Kelly Rand, Julie Stinson and all the 2022 Star Women in Convenience Award Winners!

We are proud that Julie and Kelly have been recognized for the outstanding leadership, talent and energy that they bring to Parkland and our industry. Congratulations!

Julie Stinson Regional operations manager, Ontario West Parkland Corporation

Kelly Rand Manager, store planning and merchandising support Parkland Corporation

S H I N I N G S TA R S Lisa Kurenoff

Sherry Landry

Beverley Mawby

How did you get into this industry? I worked in advertising at community newspapers and embraced the opportunity to join 7-Eleven.

Career highlight or proudest achievement? My proudest achievement is driving by convenience stores and gas stations on virtually every street corner of Canada knowing that Bulloch is installed in almost every one of them.

What do you like most about your job? I love the fast pace of the convenience industry. Every day things change, challenges and opportunities come up, and no day is the same. It is a challenging job, but I have a great team in the office and also with our distributors and salespeople, who are out on the road selling every day for GCMC. I also enjoy working with many retailers and head offices across Canada and building relationships with buyers and category managers. They all teach me new things about the convenience/direct store delivery channel every day.

Marketing manager, in-store experience and promotions 7-Eleven Canada

Favourite thing about your job? 7-Eleven is on the forefront of identifying and implementing new ways of doing business. No two days are the same and there are always unexpected challenges to solve. Biggest challenge? Earlier in my career, we moved a lot—both the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity. Best advice? Success starts with strong relationships. Have fun and try to learn something new every day. Highlight? My role in transforming our in-store experience and establishing myself as a go-to team member. I also led the marketing and opening celebrations of an acquisition that grew our store count by more than 125 stores overnight. What are you most proud of? Navigating the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape, which required the ability to quickly pivot and respond to different regulations in all the provinces and cities that we operate. What excites you most about the future? The digital evolution transforming convenience allows us to serve customers on their terms without losing our identity. Other thoughts? I feel privileged to be surrounded by so many strong, passionate, successful women—all of whom have persevered, nurtured and led our industry through the challenges of the past few interesting years.


Director of software operations Bulloch Technologies

What excites you most about the future of this channel? From a tech perspective, convenience and fuel is a complex industry, and we are one of a small handful of POS companies who can help our clients transition to whatever the future holds. We’re expanding to the U.S., and our prospects for growth are exciting. What are you most proud of during the last year? We did a pretty good job keeping our team healthy and safe during the pandemic and running an equipment-intensive QA [Quality Assurance] department from the team’s homes has been both a challenge and significant accomplishment. We not only survived, we thrived. How has the business changed since you started? We have gone from 10 employees to 75. We have grown our market share from 5% to over 65%, against some significant competition. We’ve become masters of technology change for the industry. Now, we’re handling mobile payments, self-checkout, scan and go, and many other industrychanging innovations. What challenges lie ahead for your sector? The goal is to simplify the process from the customer to the cashier to the manager to the territory manager all the way to head office. The challenge is to meet everyone’s expectations for simplicity and efficiency as today’s technologies evolve in our industry.

National account executive Great Canadian Meat Company

Biggest challenge? When I got into sales and the world of the CPG industry in the late ‘80s, there weren’t a lot of women in this industry, and that amounted to obstacles to overcome. In hindsight, these obstacles and the lessons I learned proved to be invaluable to my career success. Best advice ever received? My Grade 9 math teacher told me, “Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.” I remember standing outside his classroom for what seemed like hours before I took a deep breath and walked in. Years later I ran into him and was able to thank him. I don’t think he realized how much he affected my life. How do you define yourself as a leader? I am results oriented, client focused, and like to be proactive. I embrace new challenges and try to always be prepared. I also recognize what I don’t know and am always willing to learn and listen.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


Join the n in-perso n! celebratio PRESENTS


The International Centre, Mississauga, Ont.





Register Today StarWomenConvenience.ca

Or simply scan this code with your phone’s camera: GOLD SPONSORS





S H I N I N G S TA R S Erica Morningstar

Linda Mould

Jacynthe Poulin

How did you get into this business? My background is in sport. I am a two-time Olympian in swimming, and when I retired from swimming and graduated university, I really wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in with my career, but I knew I had a number of transferable skills and a strong work ethic to figure out any challenge put in front of me.... I saw a posting at Coca-Cola as a business development manager on the farm-to-table business.... Six years later I am still with Coca-Cola and have successfully moved into a national account executive role on the convenience retail team.

How did you get into this industry? I started at 18 years old. I applied to the first business I saw with a ‘Help Wanted’ sign.

How did you get into this industry? I started at Shell Canada’s head office in customer service. When I returned to Quebec, I joined the retail operations team.

Biggest challenge of your career? Two challenges stand out. The first was convincing someone to take a chance and hire me when I graduated university even though I had no traditional work experience. The other was the jump from my previous role into my current role managing a much larger customer, while learning a completely new portfolio, channel, and way of working.

Best advice received? Deliver on your commitment to the team, speak their language, be a good listener and communicate the outcome, not the action.

National account executive Coca-Cola Ltd.

Best advice received? The director on our team telling me not to be afraid to make a decision and commit to it. He gave me confidence that even if it ended up being the wrong decision, instead of being penalized it would be a learning experience. Career highlight or proudest achievement? My proudest achievement is when Coca-Cola was awarded the One Team Collaboration award by Shell Canada for 2021, my first full year in this role. I often questioned whether I was doing the right thing or doing a good enough job. Receiving this award was both very exciting personally and professionally as part of the CocaCola team.


Market manager (Regional manager - Southern Alberta) 7-Eleven Canada

Favourite thing about your job? The relationships I’ve built. After 31 years, this is my family. Biggest challenge? When my son was born in 2007. He suffered a stroke at birth and is extremely disabled. I decided to resign. However, my company declined my resignation, and allowed me to work with a flexible schedule. I will be forever thankful.

Career highlight? My recent promotion to market manager. What are you most proud of? The solid team working alongside me. They are strong, positive, and committed to being successful. I look forward to coaching, training and encouraging them to develop their career paths. What excites you most about the future of this channel? After 31 years, I still start each day with excitement. I have always taken one day at a time. The future has no limits. Leadership style? I never stop learning and try to inspire people around me. I’m aware of my flaws and accept them. I do not let fear limit me.

Management consultant Sobeys

Favourite part about your job? I love coaching people, finding solutions and knowing I made a difference. Biggest challenge? Between 2008 and 2012, there were rumours that Shell Canada was up for sale. I’m proud I kept all my retailers onboard. Best advice received? Be smart, not arrogant. Working alone might help you climb a mountain faster, but working as a team helps move mountains. Best achievement? Converting 80% of the Shell sites [acquired by Sobeys] to the Voisin/Boni-Soir banners, resulting in increased sales and a renewed image. And, being part of the team introducing a new offer— Food for Fuel—into the market. What are you most proud of? Bringing back training tools for store employees: Supporting operators during the pandemic to ensure new procedures were in place and that communication channels were clearly understood. What excites you most about the future? We’re at a turning point and must rethink how we do things and how we communicate. We need to be at the right place at the right time on the right platform. Leadership style? I’m a passionate, tenacious, organized and energetic person who enthusiastically meets challenges.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


Proudly congratulates and

thanks our team members




Marketing Manager In-Store Experience & Promotions

Human Resources Leader Canada

Market Manager Southern Alberta

Customer obsessed, while having fun • #differencemakers

S H I N I N G S TA R S Pauline Prokopshyn

Rima Rabba

Kelly Rand

How did you get into this business? I stumbled into warehousing and logistics when I applied for a picking position at a wholesale pharmacy. Watching the movement of pallets on and off the dock was mesmerizing; it was like watching a ballet. I was hooked!

How did you get into the business? I was born into the business. Growing up, my parents ran a neighbourhood convenience store in East Gwillimbury, Ont. Working for my father, I gained valuable industry experience and a purposeful work ethic.

How did you get into this business? My introduction into this Industry started with an application for a temporary office job at Chevron—I was trying to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. They hired me in a finance position within the credit card group.

Operations manager, Kelowna Wallace & Carey Inc.

What are you most proud of during the last year? My proudest moments over the past year were linked to our ability to service customers with minimal interruption during the floods that occurred in 2021 in B.C. The challenges of providing service to some areas devastated by the flood were overcome by the entire Western team and completely validated that only as a team do we get the job done! Best advice ever received? A very wise manager I was fortunate to work with told me sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can come together. This manager was an awesome mentor and never failed to provide inspiration and positivity when challenges arose. What challenges lie ahead for your sector? As for many sectors, labour availability will continue to be an impacting challenge for some time. It is not enough to have people, but more and more important to have the right people. Management or leadership philosophy/approach? I am very competitive and always educate and challenge my team to be the best they can be. With that goes the commitment to educate and communicate to ensure the best opportunity for success.


Head of marketing Rabba Fine Foods

Manager, store planning and merchandising support Parkland Corporation

Career highlight? Being promoted to head of marketing in 2019. I introduced a robust digital marketing program. I have built up our audience reach substantially, enhanced our program strategies, and brought to life initiatives in which our vendor partners have become highly engaged. Biggest career challenge? Challenges big or small are circumstantial. An issue that happened today can very well be something completely different tomorrow. Information changes, strategies change—as we’ve all seen and experienced in the previous two years—environments change. The tides are constantly shifting. So, I’ve learned to be fluid, to pivot, to be willing to learn something new and focus on my strengths to rise to the occasion of a challenge. I also lean on the strong team around me. What excites you most about this channel? Convenience stores have levelled up in recent years in terms of product selection and innovation. Now, c-stores are becoming a destination for trending categories, such as natural foods, and are making space for first-to-market products. Anything else? There are so many women who deserve this award, I have the privilege of working with some of them every day. They are strong and smart, and work hard to make our companies succeed. I’d like to thank them for all they do—and previous Star Women for paving the way and inspiring future leaders.

What do you like most about your job? I’ve had, and continue to have, the privilege of working with some amazing colleagues, retailers, and vendors. People that have invested in me, guided me, taught me, and inspired me—whether intentionally or not. Best advice ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received was around unintended consequences: what happens if you fail to consider the impact your actions can have on others. That early advice plays in my head daily and guides me as I interact with individuals and when planning projects. What are you most proud of during the last year? Over the past year our Industry has been impacted by fires, floods, supply chain challenges, the pandemic and more. I’m incredibly proud of the adaptability of my team. They have navigated these challenges and pivoted to help keep our On the Run conversion roll out on track, while minimizing impacts to customers and our business. What excites you most about the future of this channel? Consumers want to engage with us in-person and virtually, they need different fuelling options, they want to utilize different payment methods, they are focused on sustainability, they expect a wide variety of food experiences, and they have even more choices on where they can fulfill these requirements.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


CONGRATULATIONS! We could not be prouder of Ingy Sarraf, recognized among the Star Women in Convenience 2022. We are extremely grateful to have her on our team, and for the #GoodEnergy that she brings to work every day.

Ingy Sarraf, CPA, CA, MBA, PPCC Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary

Congratulations to AMBER SACCO

FIELD SUPERVISOR - SERVICE For her outstanding leadership on our national service team and exceptional dedication to customer care. National Energy Equipment Inc. would like to congratulate all winners of the 2022 Star Women In Convenience award.

S H I N I N G S TA R S Ana Luiza Rangel

Heather Robertson

Kirsten Ross

How did you get into this business? I started my career in consumer package goods in the early 2000s. I have worked with the convenience channel in multiple roles throughout my career.

What do you like most about your job? I love building relationships and rapport with my customers. This is a very important part of my role and focus for our company. We strive to have a strong trust with our key accounts.

How did you get into this business? In college, I majored in marketing. I had two amazing co-op placements. One was with Bacardi Rum and the second with Miss Vickie’s. As I passed out drinks and chips at events, I knew that marketing was for me.

Senior brand manager Conagra Brands

What do you like most about your job? I enjoy developing strategies that are good for the manufacturer, the store owner and the consumer. Biggest career challenge? I am originally from Brazil. Moving to Canada in my early 30s and restarting my career almost from scratch was definitely the biggest challenge! Best advice ever received? Don’t listen to unsolicited advice. How has the business changed? The market is more concentrated now, with retailers merging or acquiring each other. While it is easier to speak to one buyer as opposed to several, it poses its own set of challenges to the industry. Proudest achievement? Every brand I have ever worked on is near and dear to my heart. Nothing makes me prouder than to walk a store and see a product that I worked on, a packaging design I influenced. What are you most proud of during the last year? How much we have been able to push the brand Slim Jim forward in the Canadian market, especially in the convenience and gas channel. What challenges lie ahead for your sector? Profitable in-store execution is a challenge, especially for companies with a limited number of items per store.


National account manager Payment Source

What was the biggest challenge of your career? Navigating the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic within the convenience network was the biggest challenge. There were very uncertain times, but our network excelled above and beyond. Best advice ever received? Don’t be selfish, be a team player. Everyone will appreciate a person who works well alongside other people rather than someone who works alone. Also, it’s important to build a network of people you can work with as connections in the future. Career highlight or proudest achievement? After being in this industry for five years, receiving this award and being recognized by my industry and my peers is a career highlight. I’m honoured and humbled. What excites you most about the future of this channel? Offering new payment technology in the convenience industry and seeing new trends in the way the customers are spending. What challenges lie ahead for your sector? There will be ongoing challenges with how the industry changes in the convenience and petroleum network, as well as with price increases and shopping trends. There have been so many changes.

Director of marketing MacEwen

What do you like most about your job? Having boots on the ground. Being more in touch with our stores and customers than I have ever been in my career. Biggest challenge of your career? Leaving the safety and stability of a large corporation after more than 20 years and jumping into a completely new, privately owned retail industry. What are you most proud of during the last year? Resurrecting the Quickie 2.0 brand has been an incredible retail ride. Seeing our vision come to life a little each day is so satisfying and inspirational. Our team is enthusiastic about creating retail excellence, and we cannot wait to share it. What challenges lie ahead for your sector? We have made it through a two-year pandemic, the highest inflationary price increases in decades, and an unforgiving, volatile oil and gas market. What’s next? Bring it on. We have seen it all. Convenience is so resilient, and that is what I love about it. Management or leadership philosophy? The responsibility of leadership is to simply create more leaders.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


S H I N I N G S TA R S Melissa Ryan

Amber Sacco

Mary Shigematsu

What do you like most about your job? The technical side is very interesting. The people I work with are great. We work together as a team and get results. The company is very supportive—and the free samples aren’t too bad either.

How did you get into this business? I spent several years working as an industrial maintenance mechanic in the manufacturing sector before I joined National Energy as a petroleum equipment service technician. The fast-paced and challenging world of ensuring fuelling stations are maintained in a manner that meets or exceeds environmental, safety, and operational standards has been a great fit for me.

Best advice ever received? Embrace change. Far too often we can become complacent, and change can be viewed as almost an inconvenience to your job and daily tasks. Embracing change and tackling a new challenge can bring out creativity, keep ideas fresh and keep the business moving forward.

Associate manager-marketing operations Canadian Tire Gas+

Biggest challenge of your career? I am going to say the upgrades and installation of the marketing inventory management solution. I am on my fourth install or upgrade; these require lots of time and knowledge Best advice ever received? Don’t ever stop learning and growing as a person. I use this every week. It keeps things fresh; your mind is always enriched with new things, and you are a much happier person. How do you define yourself as a leader? I am very much a hands-on person. I will do whatever is required and expect my colleagues to have the same mindset. Delegation is always key. This helps the people you work with to understand the job and what it is they are doing. How has the business changed since you started? The assortment of products available in the C&G channel has definitely changed. We started with a small metal rack to sell our confection. Now the assortments have expanded to the entire inside of the store. Management or leadership approach? Listening is the key to anything. Then understanding the problem and working through a solution together.


July | August 2022


Field service supervisor National Energy Equipment Inc.

What do you like most about your job? I love that every day is different, and the industry is constantly evolving to adopt new technologies. The social aspect of daily interactions with retailers, technicians and manufacturers is definitely a bonus, too. Best advice ever received? Very early in my career I was told that patience is one of the most valuable things you could have, I didn’t recognize the value of that advice until much later in my career. What are you most proud of during the last year? Watching my team continuously adapt to every challenge. The level of creativity, dedication and teamwork that’s being demonstrated on a daily basis, as we navigate ever-evolving health orders, supply chain issues and even natural disasters, is incredible. Leadership philosophy or approach? I am a hands-on leader, who recognizes each of my reports are unique individuals with differing skill levels and learning styles. By working closely with my team, I am able tailor my approach and adjust support levels to individual needs.

Convenience Store News Canada

Key account manager JTI-Macdonald Corp.

Biggest challenge? Building relationships online during COVID was one of the biggest challenges in the last two years. My job is relationship based and I have met contacts or taken over accounts virtually without an initial face-toface meeting. I consider myself an outgoing person, and I bring that personality through in my virtual communication style. My camera is always on in calls, and I have been able to adapt and build meaningful and trusting relationships virtually. What excites you most about the future of this channel? The innovation in the convenience channel is always evolving. From digital training to online portals for product information, it is exciting to see and be part of innovation in communication at the store level. How do you define yourself as a leader? I am a lead-by-example leader. If you were to ask about my leadership brand, I would like to think it would be positive energy. I am excited and passionate about my role within the organization and enjoy coming to work every day. How has the business changed since you started? We have seen so many changes to legislation and how we can package our products, but we continue to pivot and adapt to provide what adult smokers want.


S H I N I N G S TA R S Marian Steffler

Julie Stinson

Kristin Valles

Biggest challenge of your career? Most recently, the challenge has been meeting the needs of customers virtually for the past two years— we’ve been missing the face-to-face dialogues, work sessions and in-field store visits. Time spent in stores allows us to identify opportunities in real time and work on practical solutions.

How did you get into this business? I began part-time at a Hamilton, Ont. Pioneer Gas Bar while I was in high school. I had great managers that were eager to teach, and I continued to learn the day-to-day operations in numerous capacities. This led to an opportunity to join the head office in our retail finance department. I worked through various positions in finance over a 20-year period leading me to seek an opportunity with the Parkland acquisition and transitioned to the field as a retail ops territory manager for the Niagara Peninsula.

How did you get into this business? Getting into wholesale distribution was a complete fluke, one that I’m very happy about! I was looking for a tide-me-over job, made a call, and landed a position with Karrys Bros Ltd; it was eight years before I made a job change.

National account manager Nestlé Canada Inc.

Best advice you ever received? Spend time at retail to observe, learn and communicate. Listen to truly understand opportunities and challenges. This makes internal and customer discussions more productive. What are you most proud of during the last year? The high degree of success achieved as a result of the collaborative management in the rapidly changing environment that both suppliers and retail partners have been faced with over the past 24 months is a point of pride. What excites you most about the future of this channel? The channel is redefining itself through home delivery, social media, digital engagement, vehicle energy needs and sustainability just to mention a few. To me, all of this represents new opportunities, creativity and growth. Anything else? I never saw myself going into the convenience side of the business earlier in my career, as I didn’t fully understand it. But now that I am here, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. The people, the stores and my accounts have made this such a rewarding experience.


Regional operations manager, Ontario West Parkland Corporation

Best advice ever received? A former colleague once told me during a great time of change that coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success. Career highlight or proudest achievement? Most recently I was a successful candidate for our Ontario retail operations manager position. A rewarding tenure in many different areas of the business, an appetite to continuously learn and develop, and an overall true passion for this business has presented me with an amazing new opportunity. What excites you most about the future of this channel? The growth potential and continuous evolving of the c-store channel is very exciting—finding new ways to align new synergies within the existing business is paramount in staying with, if not ahead of, your competition. There is always a new venture or project in the pipe, and they move quickly. Contributing to those successes as a team is very rewarding.

Category manager Greenergy

What do you like most about your job? Every day brings something different. Managing multiple categories means understanding different product offerings, customer behaviours and different selling strategies. There are also so many great people in this industry who are genuinely kind, driven, and passionate. It makes working in the space enjoyable, and to me, that is the most important part of any job. Biggest challenge of your career? As a young female who was completely green to the industry and a person of colour, starting off in the industry and being trusted by suppliers took time. As the results came through, so did the trust. Best advice ever received? Don’t stress; we’re only selling chocolate and cigarettes. Career highlight? After a yearlong hiatus, I was overcome by the warm welcome I received from the supplier community when I joined the retail side of the business. It was great to be able to reconnect with those I had worked with for many years. What are you most proud of during the last year? Seeing the success of the Waypoint brand and working with such a great team at Greenergy. We are small but mighty and have had tremendous success with a small group of talented individuals.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


Congratulations! Thank you Lynda, for your dedication, your expertise and your remarkable contribution to the success of our convenience stores!

Lynda Desmarais Director of Corporate Operations 2022 winner of the Star Women in Convenience Award! StarAd Bev M Eng.qxp_Layout 1 2022-06-14 9:18 AM Page 1 A14839_Publicite-Femmes-Exception_7-875_X_5-375po_EN_juin2022_EPF.indd 1

2022-06-17 11:29


S T O R E - L E V E L S TA R S

Saakshi Vohra

Jennifer Yiu

Sangeeta Batra

How did you get into this business? My first role right out of university was with Tanknology. I was hired as an administrative assistant and did not expect to be there for more than two years. However, I continued to work my way up and 10 years later I am now a manager and lead a team of 15 people.

What do you like most about your job? The best part of my job is having the opportunity to interact and collaborate with people who are just as passionate about the brand as I am. We are able to create a lasting impact in the market and truly bring the brand vision to life.

How did you get into this industry? After immigrating to Canada from India, my first job was at a gas station. I’ve slowly worked my way up and got promoted to manager and then operator for MacEwen.

Operational service manager, team leader | Tanknology, a service by Englobe

What do you like most about your job? I like working with others, collaborating on new ideas, and problem solving with my team. Biggest challenge of your career? I recently returned from maternity leave and re-integrating to work life and balancing a family life has been challenging. It can be difficult to switch from being a mom to an 18-month-old to managing a team. How has the business changed since you started? We were a small office of seven people when I started with the company, and we are now a group of 30. We continue to provide statistical inventory reconciliation to our customers; however, we have grown to include a full fuelmanagement program that includes data analysis and site management. What challenges lie ahead for your sector? Gas prices have increased exponentially, and this could push consumers to think about electric vehicles sooner rather than later. Management or leadership approach? I believe in open communication, and I am a straight shooter. I like to be open and honest with my team. I like to deal with any issues head on and produce solutions together.


Customer & brand marketing manager - lighters Bic Inc. Canada

Best advice ever received? The best advice I’ve received is to truly understand the consumer, specifically what they want and need in a product. Someone once told me, “Go to the store, see how a consumer purchases in your own eyes; witnessing this will lead you to identify countless opportunities.” Career highlight? I have had the opportunity to launch various products throughout my career, as well as make an impact in our consumers’ lives. A recent example would be the launch of the Bic EZ Reach lighter, which was very successful. Biggest challenge of your career? Trying to align with the ever-changing retail environments and better understanding consumer behaviours and trends. However, this has shown me that it is important to develop and maintain a strong brand presence in-store and online. Anything else? I am a proud mother of two young kids. It is challenging to find the right work-life balance. However, I enjoy being a full-time working mom and I want to be a role model for my children (especially my daughter). I want my children to know women can have a successful career while maintaining a good family life balance.

Owner/operator MacEwen Petroleum Inc.

Favourite thing about your job? The sense of community it gives me. I enjoy the social aspect and forming meaningful relationships with my coworkers and customers. Biggest challenge of your career? Balancing home and work life. My husband and I worked long hours to make it in this country. Best advice received? “In order to get, you have to give.” If you support, guide and lead others, and make contributions to their lives, you’ll reap the best rewards. Career highlight/proudest achievement? I’ve been awarded MacEwen’s Excellence Award for the past four years, as my store has had phenomenal growth. What are you most proud of during the last year? Learning to adapt. Altering our business to fit COVID-19 regulations was difficult, but I’m proud our efforts helped keep people in our community safe. Leadership style? I lead by example, and I strongly believe in teamwork, facilitating open communication and trying to bring out the best in every team member. Customer satisfaction is our store’s top priority and I always try to create a happy environment for everyone.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


Shannon Wing

Danielle Friel

Congratulations to Shannon Wing, Danielle Friel, Dimple Sehgal, Bernita McHaffie, and all 2022 Star Women in Convenience Award Winners. Thank you for your leadership, collaboration, and passion for the convenience store industry. We couldn’t be prouder to have you on our team.

Dimple Sehgal

Bernita McHaffie

A Suncor business Trademark of Suncor Energy Inc. Used under licence.


Nestlé Canada recognizes and thanks:

Marian Steffler

Account Manager, National Corporate Convenience Nestlé Canada Inc.

Congratulations, Marian on your Star Women in Convenience Award!

S T O R E - L E V E L S TA R S Myriam Bellefleur

Lori Anne Brown

Debra George

How did you get into this industry? My spouse at the time and I decided to open a hardware store, but the need wasn’t there, so we transformed it into a convenience store because there were none in our community.

How did you get into this industry? I started working at a convenience store on graveyard shift and progressed to day shift. That’s when I realized this was my calling.

How did you get into this industry? I was looking for a career change when I learned Scholten’s Convenience was looking for a manager. I was excited to join their team.

President Kamatshenan

Favourite thing about your job? Relations with customers, staff and also the work environment. Biggest challenge? Relaunching the business after we took a sabbatical year to travel on our sailboat. Best advice received? Expand your business based on demand and what customers need. Career highlight? Showing my community that with hard work and perseverance, you can succeed as an Indigenous woman. What are you most proud of? We received a $250,000 investment to improve our IT equipment and expand our sales floor and storage areas. What excites you most about the future of this channel? This industry is always growing, as long as you respond to your clients’ changing needs. Leadership style? I have an open spirit and I listen to my employees. My team knows they can count on me, no matter what time it is. I believe in collaboration, and in leading by example.

Manager Hillside Shop and Save

Regional manager Scholten’s Convenience Store

Favourite part of your job? I love the people I work with and my loyal customers. Biggest challenge of your career? Coming off cash to work in the office and overseeing a larger staff. Best advice received? From the owner of the store: “Always check things twice and you’ll never go wrong.” It’s been absolutely true these past 25 years. Career highlight/proudest achievement? Employees leaving and then returning because of good management—that fills me with pride. So does this award; I’m so honoured to have been chosen with many other deserving women. What are you most proud of during the last year? How much this store has evolved through renovations and a wider selection of products to serve our community. The past two years have been challenging due to COVID-19 policies and restrictions, but we have strictly enforced them and had zero cases. What excites you most about the future of this channel? Expanding this store and being a huge part of the process. Leadership style? A manager with an open-door policy to whom my staff can come for guidance and support.


Favourite thing about your job? Customers are always looking for a smile and pleasant conversation. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to grow as a community. Biggest challenge? Having enough time to be there for everyone and every task. Best advice received? Take time to relax and enjoy life-work balance. Career highlights? Helping Trudy, a casual employee that didn’t believe in herself. With my help, she became a full-time supervisor. What are you most proud of? Balancing work and life, and that I just began fostering a 12-year-old boy. What excites you most about the future of this channel? I work with a great company that’s always looking for ways to grow—not just as a company but as a wonderful group of employees. Leadership style? I support my staff in every aspect of their lives. That’s what makes them feel like family. Other thoughts? This job doesn’t feel like a job. Everyone we work with and the customers that follow the Scholten’s company make it feel more like fun. In the convenience store industry, everyone gets to know you like family.

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


S T O R E - L E V E L S TA R S Karen Martell

Bernita McHaffie

Dimple Sehgal

How did you get into this industry? I started 22 years ago while studying for my accounting degree. I worked evenings and weekends as a CSR, then moved up. After graduation, I decided to keep working in retail because I loved what I was doing.

How did you get into this business? I have worked in the grocery business for 16 years. Our family relocated in 1998 to a new and quickly growing community that was lacking in convenience stores and gas stations. I wrote to all the major companies, enquiring about a possible franchise/ partnership opportunity.

What do you like most about your job? I am very passionate about the retail world. I hold a master’s degree in finance and that helps me assess the health of my business on a daily basis. I truly enjoy the fast-paced environment, constant learning, and best of service to the community.

Best advice received? Ensure you empower your frontline staff. They are the direct contact to the customer.

What was the biggest challenge of your career? To find the right people who would represent the brand as I do! With my strong HR skills and experience I have been able to overcome this challenge.

Market manager, Eastern Canada Couche-Tard

Favourite thing about your job? Our #OneTeam and #PlayToWin values are at the forefront of each day. Biggest challenge? Becoming a market manager at the beginning of the pandemic, and then opening three new stores in one year, including our Couche-Tard Connected store in Montreal. Best advice received? Be yourself and be true to yourself. Career highlight? Winning Manager of the Year nine times and in 2021, winning the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award as a market manager. What are you most proud of during the last year? The Couche-Tard Connected store. Our innovation strategy involves the deployment of an entirely frictionless experience to facilitate the lives of our clients and colleagues in the store. What excites you most about the future of this channel? My goal is to continue to grow personally and professionally. I have great mentors by my side. Leadership style? I use honest communication based on trust and mutual respect. Being attentive and empathetic contributes to positive results within my team.


July | August 2022


Owner/operator Petro-Pass

Career highlight or proudest achievement? I was a first-ever female store manager [at Zehrs supermarket]. I am also very proud to continue working in daily operations with ongoing increases in sales for three large truck stops. I am excited to see what are likely the most significant changes in the c-store sector since I started in this business, especially with more and more foodservice offerings. Leadership style? As a leader, I strive to be a mentor. That is my most important role. I empower staff to make decisions, with follow-up. Staff should be telling me what they need to look after our customers; my job is to make the requested changes or explain why they are not possible. What challenges lie ahead for your sector? I think future challenges are directly related to consumer online ordering. C-stores are one of the few remaining businesses built on direct interaction with the consumer. We are an important part of the community, and for this, we should be very proud.

Convenience Store News Canada

Area retail licensee Petro-Canada

Best advice? Retail is detail. Most proud of during the last year? I am truly proud of my business area expansion from six to 11 locations, including an addition of a quickservice restaurant, A&W. How do you define yourself as a leader? I lead by example and “Live by the Leaf” every day. I firmly believe in what you sow is what you reap, and that always inspires me to be involved with various community initiatives in my area throughout the year. Management or leadership philosophy or approach? My focus as a leader has always been on building a magnetic culture that ensures my team is engaged and energized every day. It has immensely helped me build a strong and exceptional team with a growth mindset and increased productivity. Anything else? I ensure I take care of my health by investing one hour of my day into fitness (running and strength training). A healthy mind and body always radiate positivity, and as a leader, I feel it’s my responsibility to build a positive work culture. CSNC



The Quickie team is proud of our creative and talented Director of Marketing, Kirsten Ross, who is recognized among the Star Women in Convenience 2022. Congratulations to Kirsten and all the other winners!

to all of the exceptional women making a difference and demonstrating commitment, innovation and leadership in the convenience industry. Especially to our very own

Pauline Prokopshyn Operations Manager Kelowna, BC

Director of Marketing KIRSTEN ROSS quickiestores.com A division of MacEwen



Marianne Csincsa on being awarded

x Congratulations to the 2022 Star Women in Convenience! Sangeeta Batra MacEwen Petroleum Inc.

Myriam Bellefleur Kamatshenan

Sylvie Berardelli McDougall Energy

Nancy Bourdon JTI-Macdonald Corp.

Lori Anne Brown Hillside Shop and Save Marianne Csincsa Domo Corporation Ltd.

Lynda Desmarais Groupe F. Dufresne Elisa di Bello Imperial Tobacco Canada Jessica Dolphin 7-Eleven Canada

Danielle Friel Petro-Canada (Suncor Energy) Debra George Scholten’s Convenience Store

Janet Hill Free Flow Petroleum

from your JUMP TO THE PUMP! team

Carmina Jimenez Convenience Industry Council of Canada Carolane Juanéda Alimentation Couche-Tard

Sandra Kayyali Gateway Market Canada Inc.

Heather Robertson Payment Source Kirsten Ross MacEwen

Jeanette Kernaghan Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp.

Melissa Ryan Canadian Tire Gas+

Lisa Kurenoff 7-Eleven Canada

Amber Sacco National Energy Equipment Inc.

Sherry Landry Bulloch Technologies

Ingy Sarraf Guru Organic Energy

Karen Martell Couche-Tard

Dimple Sehgal Petro-Canada

Beverley Mawby Great Canadian Meat Company

Mary Shigematsu JTI-Macdonald Corp.

Bernita McHaffie Petro-Pass

Marian Steffler Nestlé Canada Inc.

Erica Morningstar Coca-Cola Ltd.

Julie Stinson Parkland Corporation

Linda Mould 7-Eleven Canada

Kristin Valles Greenergy

Suzanne Poirier Alimentation Couche-Tard

Saakshi Vohra Tanknology, a service by Englobe

Jacynthe Poulin Sobeys

Shannon Wing Petro-Canada, a Suncor Energy Business

Pauline Prokopshyn Wallace & Carey Inc. Rima Rabba Rabba Fine Foods

Jennifer Yiu Bic Inc. Canada

Kelly Rand Parkland Corporation

*Interviews edited for clarity and length. Full Q&A profiles online at CCentral.ca

Ana Luiza Rangel Conagra Brands

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022


UP YOUR PROMO GAME How smaller chains and independents can work with vendors to boost their bottom lines BY CH R IS DA N I E L S

If you’re in need of injecting customer excitement into the

products you carry, look no further than promotions. They attract foot traffic and incentivize purchase, while adding eye-catching buzz to the in-store shopping experience. Independents and regional players, don’t assume vendors only focus their energies on big retail accounts. Sure, your stores might not have the pull of a national chain. But fact is, you have opportunities to work with vendors on promos, too, if you know where to look.


July | August 2022


Convenience Store News Canada

Play in the ‘A’ league In any given year, major vendors develop “A” and “B” and sometimes “C” promotions for the c-store channel. The “A” program is the one they put the most marketing muscle behind. Think activations tied to a cool event, a partnership with a pro athlete or a contest with a coveted prize. These promos are usually reserved for a vendor’s most lucrative c-store accounts, while smaller accounts get the “B”


or “C” playbook. Those lower-grade promotions are great opportunities for smaller c-stores, plus they build goodwill between operators and vendors. However, by tapping into fastgrowing homegrown and local brands, your store can also be part of a top-flight promotion, as they are TUCKER WRIGHT more likely to include regional and independent chains in their “A” plan. BioSteel Sports Nutrition, for instance, treats “independents and smaller regional groups as one big national group,” says Tucker Wright, chief commercial officer for the Canadian sports hydration drink. It expanded beyond a popular powder mix and into a sugar-free, allnatural ready-to-drink product in 2020. It has been enjoying incredible success and buzz, thanks in part to the endorsement of its pro sports partners, including Edmonton Oilers star Conner McDavid and the Toronto Raptors. BioSteel featured them both in promos with “smaller chains, and I think they are very appreciative of that,” says Wright. For instance, it ran a program with regional convenience and gas retailer Canco in which it gave their customers a chance to win a signed McDavid jersey. In late May, it also ran a POS price promotion on eight BioSteel bottles with the Raptors logo for independent c-stores across the country. “Whether that’s Avondale, Canco, Little Short Stop, Quickie, Hasty Market or MacEwen, as well as Rabba Fine Foods to some degree in Toronto, we brought strong national programming that we’d be running with the larger banners back to the independents,” he says. “We haven’t overly segregated what we’re doing at the larger national level, versus the more independent, regional level.” BioSteel knows what it’s like to be a small fish in a big pond. It was unsuccessful in its first few attempts to make a splash in the ready-to-drink sports drink category, dominated by PepsiCo’s Gatorade and Coca-Cola’s Powerade. “We share the same underdog spirit with the independents,” notes Wright, who says he’s part of the “original entrepreneurial group” who built BioSteel, before cannabis company, Canopy Growth, bought a majority stake in 2019. “And so, we perhaps value the smaller chains more than the next company, because we remember all the brandbuilding efforts we’d done since 2009, and we needed the small independents to do that.” Now those small independents who welcomed BioSteel back are benefiting from its growth. BioSteel has taken a 5% share in the isotonic sports drink category at Canadian convenience and gas sector, says Wright, In some Ontario banners, BioSteel is near a 10% share, and its growth rate puts it on track to reach 15% over the summer. That is no easy feat given the global brand duopoly it is up against. “Canadian convenience and gas is arguably where

we will gain the largest market share on a percentage basis,” he adds. Go local Independents can also tie into ‘A’ programs in other ways. Think vendors looking to localize promotions tied to a physical event. In February, the plant-based ALEXIS GIGUÈRE drink Guru became a first-time sponsor of the Freeride World Tour in Revelstoke, B.C., which attracted more than two million fans through a combination of in-person events and digital platforms. Alexis Giguère, VP of Canadian sales for Guru Organic Energy Corp., says it was supported “with localized efforts in both independent c-stores and chains.” Localization is a strategy he says they do to support all their major event sponsorships. It also recently created a major promotion, making it available to both national chains and independents through an exclusive distribution agreement with PepsiCo Beverages Canada. The agreement was announced last October. Under the agreement, PepsiCo oversees all aspects of sales and merchandising at points of sale, including both national chains and independently owned c-stores. The campaign, called “Made With Plants,” launched in March and was supported by the brand’s first-ever large22_1407_CN_Conv_Store_News_JUL_AUG_CN Mod: June 3, 2022 3:23 PM Print: 06/06/22 11:39:20 AM page 1 v7







scale, in-store activation program created by Montreal agency Sid Lee. The activation also included sampling events and other activations in major Canadian cities. “Aiming for maximum impact, assets and content were offered to all our partners, including smaller independent stores, to ensure continuity in our messaging and to make sure that we obtained as much visibility as possible during the peak of our campaign,” Giguère tells Convenience Store News Canada. It also aims to build relationships with c-store owners, including through “incentive programs,” he says. “This is a tactic Guru aims to continue to leverage in the future.”

are a flexible company that prides itself on partnering with both large chains and small family-owned stores to do what it takes to help them grow their sales.” However, with the jerky category having been hit by the increased costs of beef, transport and other expenses, the Great Canadian Meat Company has adopted a new promotional strategy. “With the rise of inflation, we’ve seen the costs of our premium ingredients skyrocket, so we are shifting away from discounting as a main sales driver and doubling down on quality at a fair price without eroding margins,” says Mawby. “Our focus is on the craftsmanship of our products and merchandising by optimizing racks, inline sections, and displays for our retail partners.” Displays play up the homegrown roots of the brand, and words like “Hand Crafted” to double down on the quality messaging. It is working, too. Mawby says the owner of a small independent in the Niagara region of Ontario emailed to say the racks and displays have helped to grow the meat snack category considerably. “She is planning to expand the section and her last comment was ‘people just love 100% Canadian products,’” shares Mawby. CSNC

Be nimble Independent c-stores may not have the scale or visibility of their larger counterparts. However, their size offers some distinct advantages. “In many cases, we can do special stuff at some smaller groups that we aren’t able to do with the larger chain accounts,” notes Wright. “That is because the bigger guys have more defined planograms, and regional management and district management— there are just so many layers of the onion that you sometimes have to pull back.” For instance, he says they can quickly create a promotion with a single store located near a baseball field or hockey arena where Promoting promos at the pumps a weekend tournament might be DE taking place, knowing demand for For c-store and c-gas operations, promotions PUMP-SI NG TI MARKEES are a key tool for driving traffic in-store and DRIV hydration products will be high. re to In-s IN-S TORE boosting sales, according to insights from the TRADE Special “We can talk to the store C-store IQ National Shopper Study. Marketing, manager, and quickly add six cases through traditional signage, pump displays on the floor with promotional and digital, is essential. signage,” notes Wright. Of the one-to-one approach, he says, “To think that we’re just going to focus on three or four clients in this country, and everybody else is Aspects that influence decision to shop for in-store a rounding error—it’s just the exact opposite mentality that we have products on gasoline tripoutlet distribution taken.”



July | August 2022



29% 23%























Convenience Store News Canada


“When your customers are fuelling at the forecourt, they are available for up to five minutes of media impressions,” says Tim Walker, principal of Soapy Brushy, a Toronto-based car wash consultancy that offers advice on marketing and media for car wash and fuel site operators. Walker often advises operators to consider a pump topper to deliver key messaging about in-store specials, coming promotions,





Significant increase / decrease vs. pre-pandemic


Beyond BOGOs Discounts, in the way of a BOGO (Buy One, Get One) or a mixand-match, are tried-and-true promotional strategies. However, some manufacturers have been looking to move away from this kind of promotion, towards showcasing brand attributes. Like the Great Canadian Meat Company, a maker of pepperoni sticks, jerky and other meat snacks. Beverley Mawby, national account executive at the company, says, “We


b y K E L LY G R AY

Fuel sales bring in customers, but margins are razor-thin. For many operators, the real money is being made most often at the car wash or in-store with sales of soft drinks, confectionery, tobacco and takeout prepared foods. Getting customers from the forecourt to the backcourt cash desk is essential to business performance. Marketing at the dispenser helps create impulse purchase decisions operators can take to the bank.


Canada’s largest ConvenienCe, gas and Car wash evenT is

baCk live and in-person Register today with PROMO CODE


sCan sCan Qr Qr Code Code

September 13-14, 2022 Toronto Congress Centre

ConvenienceU.ca | CARWACS.com

Increase Profits

Inspire Loyalty

Drive Traffic

official association supporters

Follow us on social media:



The Convenience U CARWACS Show



Crunch time

Given the choice between salty or sweet snacks, salty ones continue to rule. According to Statista data, they are the most popular type of snack food in Canada, with annual sales hitting more than $2.53 billion, based on the 52-week period ending July 2021. When Loblaws and Frito-Lay went to war over pricing and stock in the grocer’s snack aisles dwindled in February 2022, a nation mourned. Consumers turned to other domestic brands and c-stores for their fix of potato chips, which provided a nice sales bump. By early April, the grocer and the snack supplier kissed and made up as salty snacks flowed onto shelves once again. If Chip-gate taught us anything, it was that salty snacks matter to retailers and consumers. In post-peak COVID times and current peace between retailer and supplier, you might think they would be a return to normal. Not so much. The turbulence continues, as transportation costs, the rising cost of raw ingredients, supply chain issues and inflation have salty snack makers buckling up to ride out the speed


July | August 2022


bumps wreaking havoc with carefully laid-out business plans. For Neal Brothers, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. The Canadian company has a blockbuster success on its hands with the launch of its organic original and Mexican street corn chips last year. “They have been a huge success,” says Chris Neal, co-owner and chief snacking officer. “They’ve been a hit with our retailers and consumers. It has been a nice addition to our broad family of snacks and fits our brand perfectly.” Neal Brothers is also on trend with its kettle chips. Some varieties boast less sodium, thanks to mineral-rich pink Himalayan sea salt. Even in the darkest days of COVID, sales remained strong as Canadians turned to triedand-true salty snacks for comfort as they nested at home. Fun fact, the broader snack food market in Canada generated a total revenue of US$9.8 billion in 2020 (up by US$1.3 billion over 2019). A taste for innovation Innovation will keep sales in the

Convenience Store News Canada

category humming as more consumers reach for healthier versions of salty snacks. For instance, Covered Bridge turns to legumes for Lela’s chickpea chips in flavours like red curry and creamy dill. “From avocado and cauliflower chips to chickpeas and beans snacks, brands are continuing to develop new and exciting products,” Neal notes. “But the general public does continue to gravitate to the tried-and-trusted staples, like potato chips and cornbased items, like tortilla chips.” When it comes to flavours, Canadians have some pretty wacky choices, from lobster and donair, to roast chicken and chipotle raspberry. Then there’s that beloved flavour oddity—ketchup, a favourite since it launched here in the 1980s. Old Dutch will ramp up the catsup factor in its new Ridgies Extra Ketchup chips. As Matthew Tarko, product marketing manager, Old Dutch Foods Ltd., notes: “We’ve noticed that consumer demand for spicier/ hotter flavours is always increasing. The fusion of sweet and/or spicy with


Potato chips and other salty snacks continue to be the go-to nibbles for Canadians, but will supply issues and rising costs ruin the fun?


existing flavour profiles have always been met with excitement from salty snack lovers.” The company offers fiery options like Dutch Crunch Jalapeno & Cheddar kettle chips and flavours such as Mexican Street Corn (new) and Sweet Chili in its Arriba line of tortilla chips. Competitor Hardbite has sweet ghost pepper and honey Dijon, while Pringles leans into zippy seasonings with flavours such as jalapeno, fiery loaded nachos and barbecue. Market pressures The spoiler alert for upward-trending salty snack sales comes from world events. “They are having a significant impact on costs from commodities like corn and wheat, the supply of certain oils used in food manufacturing to rising gas prices—all of which are vital factors in the snack food industry,” says Neal. “In 34 years, we’ve never seen such a sudden and dramatic pressure on pricing.” Tarko echoes those thoughts. “Sales have been a challenge throughout the pandemic,” he explains. “We’re seeing sales increases, while working to keep up with demands at the same time. We’ve also felt challenged to procure and maintain raw material supply as demand grew—consistent with industry-wide sentiment. Although this is a factor, we continue to take care of our consumer demand through retailer channels nationwide.” Companies, like Frito-Lay, are assessing how to navigate a shortage of the sunflower oil used to deep fry their chips as the war in Ukraine, which supplies half the world’s supply, drags on. Some players are turning to alternatives—canola, soybean, coconut and even refined palm oil. Current uncertainties have caused at least one player to press the pause button on its potato chip business. Kracks has built significant brand awareness since it launched in Canada in 2018. The stackable chips packaged in a canister were priced competitively in comparison to similar brands. Importing them from Singapore has been challenging because of supply chain issues, according to Ajay Handa, director, Canadian operations, Future

Enterprises Pte. Ltd. Freight costs can be as much as 70% of the cost of a container. His company decided to stop bringing Kracks into Canada last year. But it is a temporary measure, he points out. “We are closely monitoring supply chain issues,” he says. “We do see that things will improve in the near future, likely in the fourth quarter of this year. It’s a very unpredictable and unstable business environment right now.”

Once market conditions are more favourable, Kracks will be back. Given the strength in the salty snacks category, c-stores should take advantage of supplier deals, expand their selection of flavours and formats, and stock brands at varying price points. Catering both to consumers’ urge to splurge and desire to save money puts retailers in a good place to endure the crunch that comes with market instability. CSNC

Launch Year


CALL FOR NOMINATIONS! Making an impact

Your industry is filled with companies making a positive impact and it’s time to shine a light on those efforts!

The Convenience Stores News Canada Impact Awards will recognize initiatives introduced by retailers, suppliers and solution providers that are making a meaningful difference, from helping the planet to supporting employees and communities. The goal is to celebrate companies—large or small—making a positive impact across four key areas:

• Sustainability (initiatives around food waste, ethical sourcing, energy efficiency etc.) • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion • Supporting Employees • Community Service/Local Impact/Giving Back There is no fee to nominate (you can even nominate in multiple categories), and honourees will be featured in Convenience Store News Canada magazine and online this fall. Tell the industry about the amazing work being done at your company!

Deadline to Enter: August 26 Nominate now! CSNCImpactAwards.com

CSNC_IA22_Nomination_Ad_E_F.indd 2


2022-04-20 3:00 PM

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022




What’s in a label? On-package labels are the identity cards of most food and beverage products, reporting item ingredient composition, nutrient amounts, product and processing origins, as well as freshness dates. Label flashes, ingredient labels and the NFt panel (Nutrition Facts Table) are filled with information to inform us what the food contains and to provide guidance in making healthier selections of processed foods. The information is also intended to help consumers become savvy in aligning food and beverage choices with personal dietary needs, beliefs and perceptions. Ipsos FIVE Consumption Tracking Study latest monthly data reveals that more than six in 10 (61%) consumers regularly consult on-package labels. Among those reading labels, calories, sugar and carbohydrates are top priorities, while protein focus has increased notably since 2020. However, all the numbers, percentages, and sometimes complex-sounding ingredients can lead to more confusion than clarity. Information overload can also breed indifference and distrust, particularly with conflicting data points. Recent tracking from Ipsos revealed that more than one in 10 consumers (11%) currently either don’t trust onpackage food and beverage labels or are annoyed by detail. With transparency and commitment to efficacy desired brand traits to win with Canadians, it is important to communicate your message clearly and authentically, particularly as label consulting rates have also dipped 10% versus the pre-pandemic period. Beyond skepticism, lower labelreading rates could, in part, be driven by the fact that three-quarters (75%) of adults already report that they are


July | August 2022


aware of product nutrition on the items that they consume. With on-package complexity on the rise, label-reading rates softening and product awareness already high, what will be the impact of new frontof-package (FOP) labels recently introduced by Health Canada? The labels warn of high sodium, high sugar, and/or high saturated fat content. FIVE tracking reflects that FOP labels will have an impact on both buying decisions and further consultation habits. Two-thirds (67%) of adults report that the warnings will impact their decision to buy the item, with a similar rate reporting that this detail will prompt further NFt and product ingredient label consultation. Digging deeper into future shopping impacts to result from FOP labels reveals that, among those buying foods or beverages at both convenience and gas outlets, as well as dollar stores, warning impacts will be lower. However, there remains a sizeable share (59%), who report that their buying decisions will be influenced by new details. No matter which side of the label

Convenience Store News Canada

debate you land on, it’s intriguing to consider how daily visibility of warnings will impact future purchasing habits. Will concerns continue to rise prompting action or will shoppers become weary, impatient and apathetic? As our concepts around ‘what is healthy’ evolve from evaluating products for their literal and symbolic goodness in the pursuit of nutrient density, to elevating our understanding of benefits and their impact on wellbeing, one question remains. Will we adhere to the advice of governments and other institutional authorities through initiatives like FOP labels or will we rely on and embrace personally assessed and individually curated information to inform wholesomeness of choices favourable to the health of our minds, bodies and souls? Only time will tell. CSNC Kathy Perrotta is a VP with Ipsos Canada Market Strategy and Understanding, working with Food & Beverage Group Syndicated Services.


Evaluating the impact of new front of package labels on Canadians’ c-store buying decisions


Ziploc Recyclable Paper Bags

Vector Maple Crunch Cereal Dempster’s Signature Bagels

Sunlight Rinse Aid

T-fal Easy Fry Grill & Steam XXL Air Fryer

Blender Bites 1 Step Organic Smoothie Pucks Angie’s BOOMCHICKPOP® Salted Maple Flavoured Kettle Corn

Podium by GoodMorning.com

The Laughing Cow® Mix Chickpea with Herbs


Compliments Maple & Aged White Cheddar Popcorn Mix

Boursin Minis Garlic & Fine Herbs Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Sol Cuisine Cauliflower Burger T-Fal Platinum Hard Anodized Cookware Oasis Health Break with collagen

Campbell’s® Concentrated Broth

Dempster’s Chickpea Tortillas

Boursin Dairy Free

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Mascara

Compliments Smoked Gouda Cheese Beef Burgers Stuffed

SpongeTowels UltraPRO Paper Towel

Cocoon™ by Sealy Classic Mattress

Casper Wave Hybrid Snow

Dove Hair Therapy Breakage Remedy Range

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew® TRIO Coffee Maker

Sara Lee Little Bites Party Cake Mini Muffins


Neutrogena Bright Boost Overnight Recovery Gel Cream

Takis® Dragon Sweet Chili™

Heinz Crowdsauced

Live Right Cran-Cherry Cashew Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bar Voilà by Sobeys

Philips One by Sonicare

Sol Cuisine Hot N’ Spicy Chik’n Wings

The Endy Sofa

*Survey of 4,000 people by Kantar

2023 ENTRIES ARE OPEN ENTER ONLINE: productoftheyear.ca @productoftheyr



Product of the Year Canada



NATIONAL SHOPPER STUDY Purchasing habits: A look inside the shopping bag |


23% 18% 17%


12% 12% 12% 11%






On the beverage front, more than one-third (38%) of shoppers purchased milk in the past month, with can/ bottled pop following closely behind. Of note, milk purchases increased significantly (to 38% from 30% pre-pandemic), as did sports drinks


11% 10%




(to 17% from 13% pre-pandemic). Fountain/dispensed and frozen/slush drinks were down at survey time, but as people are out and about in the warm weather, these categories are poised for a comeback.

Beverage items purchased at a convenience store in past month 30% 21% 17%




13% 12%


10% 6%









Convenience Store News Canada






Lottery dominates the top spot when it comes to the non-edible categories, with 60% of shoppers saying they purchased a lottery ticket at convenience, compared to 53% pre-pandemic. Gasoline and cigarettes remain key drivers of foot traffic, however there are other notable growth areas. Gift cards, for instance,


are increasingly popular, with 13% of shoppers buying a gift card during the past month, compared to 6% prepandemic. Shoppers reported a boost in purchases of e-cigarette/products, while health and beauty also enjoyed significant gains, with 5% of shoppers spending on these items compared to just 3% pre-pandemic.







July | August 2022




Food items purchased at a convenience store in past month


What are they spending it on? Working with the research team at EnsembleIQ, Convenience Store News Canada surveyed more than 1,000 convenience shoppers across the country to find out. C-store IQ is the only convenience and gas specific study designed to better understand how the wants, needs, values and habits of Canadian consumers are changing as we move out of the pandemicrestrictions and what that means for the future success of your business. The convenience of longer hours (48%) and daily routine adjustments due to the pandemic (41%) are the primary reasons cited for shopping at c-stores now vs. before the pandemic. In addition, one-in-four shoppers rely heavily on c-stores to meet their daily needs, with 24% saying c-stores are “one of the only stores open or available in my area.” Food-wise, Canadians are embracing the snack run, with chocolate, candy and full-size salty snacks rounding out the top three food items purchased. Compared to pre-pandemic, grab-and-go prepared food items experienced a slight decline, but that is expected to continue picking up, as people return to office and out-of-home routines. It’s worth noting that fresh produce increased in popularity, with 8% of shoppers buying fresh produce at their local c-store, compared to 5% pre-pandemic.



Convenience store shoppers across Canada are spending more at their local convenience stores than they did prepandemic, and the focus is a fine balance between indulgent treats and everyday essentials, according to data from the C-store IQ National Shopper Study. Shoppers spent an average of $15.46 on their most recent in-store visit (excluding the costs of gasoline), a significant increase from an average of $13.46 pre-pandemic, driven by a drop in trips under $5 and a boost in trips of $30 or more.



Non-edible/other items purchased at a convenience store in past month 60% 53% 45%

23% 7%
























13% 6%


Significant increase / decrease vs. pre-pandemic

How do c-stores stack up against the competition? C-stores lead all store types as the place most shoppers purchase candy/gum, cold/frozen and hot dispensed beverages, as well as (no surprise here) the legal purchase of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Convenience trails only grocery and mass stores (such as Walmart) for packaged snacks and beverages, and only grocery stores for prepared food. When asked: “If you had to choose one store to stop at to purchase milk, bread or snacks, where would you go?”16% of shoppers said convenience store (second only to 74% at grocery and followed by 6% drug store and

2% dollar store), with males skewing slightly higher on the convenience front—19% vs. 13% of females. C-stores did a fantastic job serving communities across Canada during the pandemic and built goodwill among consumers, who say they are spending more and visiting more often. Indeed, popping into a convenience store is a ritual for more than half of Canadians, with 55% saying they shop at a c-store once a week or more. That’s an incredible opportunity to meet the wants and needs of convenience shoppers across a spectrum of categories, from essentials to items that make life a little sweeter.


Purchase frequency of items at a convenience store today vs. before pandemic



26% 24% 24% 23% 22% 21% 21% 17% 17% 15% 15% 15% 11%

57% 63% 54% 58% 62% 66% 62% 62% 57% 71% 63% 61% 61% MORE

17% 14% 22% 19% 16% 13% 18% 21% 26% 14% 22% 25% 27% ABOUT SAME


Plus, be there September 13 at The Convenience U CARWACS Show opening conference for “C-store IQ: New era, new opportunities.” Canadians are emerging from the pandemic with new daily routines, priorities, spending habits and expectations–what do these changes mean for the future success of your business? Join EnsembleIQ senior research director, Beth Brickel, who reveals exclusive data and insights from the C-store IQ National Shopper Study, Canada’s only convenience and gas specific research that delves into the evolving wants, needs and values of your current and future customers, from gen Z through millennial, gen X and boomer. Whether you have one store or 100, understanding this “new c-store shopper” is fundamental to securing your business as an “essential” part of customers’ everyday lives–today and beyond. CSNC

Convenience Store News Canada


July | August 2022