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Long known as "The Entertainment Capital of the World," Las Vegas is set to be the convenience store capital of the world next month, as more than 20,000 c-store industry personnel gather to network, learn and perhaps have some fun during the NACS Show 2009, being held Oct. 20-23.
Attendees will have to balance their schedules between the vast array of Las Vegas attractions and the information-packed agenda on tap for this year's convention. With help from a retailer panel, NACS -- the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, developed 65 workshops across 10 tracks for its attendees, ensuring everyone from single-store owner to chief of a multi-million dollar chain will find workshops to suit his or her needs. The 10 tracks, which correspond with attendee job responsibility areas, include:
-- Senior leadership
-- Marketing and category management
-- Professional development
-- Small operators
"By categorizing the education workshops into 10 tracks, retailers will more easily identify the topics that are right for them," Stephanie Robert, director of event marketing and communications for NACS, told Convenience Store News. "From strategy and market analysis to targeted information about specialized areas, retailers will find expertise and insights at the NACS Show that they just can't get anyplace else."
Retailers can learn about innovation within two leading convenience store industry companies during "A Tale of Two Retailers," taking place Oct. 22, at 9:30 a.m. There, Steve Sheetz, chairman of Sheetz Inc., along with Chet Cadieux, CEO and chairman of QuikTrip Corp., and Dean Durling, president and CEO of Quick Chek Food Stores, will share practical examples from their businesses.
Between sessions, retailers can also tour the expo floor, where approximately 1,200 exhibitors will show the latest products and services suited for convenience store retailing. For 2009, the expo floor hours will be extended on the final day of the show, opening at 10 a.m. and closing at 3 p.m.
Also on the show floor this year is an area within each category section designed for first-time NACS Show exhibitors. More than 300 new companies will be highlighted in these spaces, showing off their latest offerings, Robert said.
Back for a second year, the "Congreenience Store," located on the expo floor, will display environmentally friendly technologies and products available to the c-store industry to cut energy costs and help the environment, such as energy-efficient appliances, coolers, lighting and store materials.
"Spiraling energy costs and a new awareness of the environment have put green initiatives at the top of the agenda for the global convenience industry," explained Robert. "The Congreenience Store lays out achievable goals with projects for immediate action, for medium-term refit improvements and for long-term strategic planning."
The Congreenience Store will also provide case studies on the ways c-store operators have improved the environmental impact of their stores, pleased shoppers, increased sales and cut costs, she added.
The 2009 NACS Show will give attendees a chance to hear advice from leaders outside of the convenience industry, including opening general session speaker Robert Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, who will address how organizations can build customer-focused teams and make customer loyalty a critical differentiator, according to Robert.
And attendees can look forward to hearing former president Bill Clinton share insights and observations gained from his two-term post as the 42nd U.S. president, during the closing general session, she said.
To stay informed on NACS Show happenings, attendees can view NACS TV, which will air in several locations throughout the convention center, on shuttle buses and in some hotels, according to Robert. Attendees can also view live interviews with industry leaders for NACS TV at a studio in the NACS Center, she said.
Meanwhile, NACS Show attendees can maximize their networking opportunities by utilizing NACS Connect, a virtual marketplace where attendees can schedule meetings with vendors and retailers during the show, along with viewing conference details, such as workshops and exhibitors. In addition, all NACS Show guests are invited to attend the NACS Welcome Reception, being held Oct. 20, at 6 p.m.