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BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Regulatory issues on both the state and national levels, as well as the upcoming liability shift regarding EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) credit and debit cards, were among the topics top of mind for attendees of the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association (CWPMA) Conference and Trade Show, held Friday at the Omni Interlocken Resort here.
Legislation regarding leaking underground storage tanks and changes by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Renewable Fuel Standard were just two examples of the regulatory issues Rocky Mountain retailers were talking about.
As for EMV, one of the 70 exhibitors at the trade show told CSNews Online that it is already working with retailers to budget now in order to pay for the upgrades needed at the point-of-sale by the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline set forth by Visa and MasterCard.
In addition to technological solutions, multiple exhibitors also displayed fuel-related products, foodservice items and energy efficiency solutions during the trade show.
CWPMA Executive Director Mark Larson told CSNews Online he was pleased with the retailer turnout at the event. “We are fortunate to be the only trade show for petroleum marketers and convenience stores combined in the Colorado and Wyoming area,” he said. “Networking is so very important.”
Based on member feedback, the CWPMA has converted its show from a four-day event in expensive, exotic locations such as Jackson Hole, Wyo., to a new format featuring a dinner and reception one night, and educational sessions and a four-hour open show floor the second day. This year marks the second year of the new two-day exhibition model and marks the first time the annual event took place at the Omni Interlocken Resort.
“A lot of people told us our prior events were too far away and too costly,” said Larson, a seven-year veteran of the trade group and a former truck stop owner.
A STRONG ECONOMY
The state of convenience store and gas station operators in both Colorado and Wyoming is solid, pretty much on par with the rest of the country, Larson noted.
“We often have one of the lowest gas prices in the country in this region,” he said. “Right now, that is not the case because of a refinery disruption, but we are starting to move toward that way again.”
To truly survive, retailers in the Rocky Mountain region must have robust in-store merchandise sales to counteract low fuel margins, the executive director relayed. Strong economies in both Colorado and Wyoming provide a solid backdrop for retailers to succeed.
“The marketers who have not been afraid to embrace technological advances in pumps and other technologies have been rewarded,” Larson said. “In this industry, that’s the nature of the beast.”
In addition to the 70-exhibitor show floor, the CWPMA Conference featured three hours of educational sessions, including a presentation on worker’s compensation fraud, a discussion about social media and an association update.