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    Nice N Easy's Super Plans

    C-store chain talks about its new prototype store at annual corporate trade show this week.

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Locally grown convenience store chain Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes has some grander plans to help bring groceries to underserved regions in Upstate New York, The Post-Standard reported.

    As the 80-store chain continues to grow, the company is looking at a new prototype store that "would have more groceries to fill the void left in towns that lost their Big M's and other smaller supermarkets," said Matthew Paduano, a Nice N Easy vice president. Locations on the drawing board include Onondaga Hill, Brewerton (a replacement store) and Lakeport.

    "We have to figure out how to go to that next level," Paduano told the newspaper during the company's annual trade show and shopping trip, held this week. Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes' captains and crew converged Wednesday on the Syracuse area, bringing dozens of store managers, as well as food and product vendors, together under one roof.

    After 12 years of holding the event in downtown Syracuse's OnCenter, Nice N Easy's management moved this year's trade show to the Holiday Inn convention center in Liverpool. "We started off here, but outgrew the space and moved it to the OnCenter," said Paduano. "It was a great place, but there' s no hotel. Since they expanded this place, we decided to come back. We've come full circle."

    The trade show featured 100 vendors that set up booths to show off and sample products -- from soda and beer to sandwiches, pizza and cookies -- to Nice N Easy franchise owners and store managers. The franchisees and managers have budgets that allow them to stock their stores to their communities' needs and wants, not just creating boilerplate Nice N Easy shops.

    The trade show was slightly smaller than in previous years. With product mergers -- the Coors Brewing Co. and Miller Brewing Co. merger that produced MillerCoors, for example-- that means fewer companies, and it's the same with product distributors, Paduano said.

     

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