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NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.
Here are the latest supplier spotlights:
Anheuser-Busch extended its marketing partnership with the PGA Tour, continuing Michelob ULTRA's designation as Official Beer Sponsor of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions through 2020. As part of the renewal, O'Doul's will also continue to serve as the Official Non-Alcohol Brew of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions.
Michelob ULTRA will maintain a significant presence at more than 45 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and Web.com Tour. New stops in 2017 include the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, and the Presidents Cup at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J.
"Michelob ULTRA is proud to continue its designation as the official beer sponsor of the PGA TOUR," said Eelco van der Noll, vice president, experiential marketing at Anheuser-Busch. "It allows us to interact with golf fans across the country and provide unique experiences only Michelob ULTRA can bring."
The beer brand will also expand its onsite fan engagement by adding more tournament stops for the mobile Build-a-Bar, a 40-foot high-end beer selling station featuring plasma screens and a rooftop viewing area.
Michelob ULTRA also became the Official Beer Sponsor of the World Surf League (WSL) in the U.S. Through this new partnership, Michelob ULTRA will be the exclusive beer sponsor of WSL events in the country.
This new partnership is part of Michelob ULTRA's strategy of driving continued growth by engaging drinkers who embrace and prioritize an active, balanced lifestyle, according to the company.
"As our brand continues to gain momentum, our new partnership with the World Surf League will further connect us to those who are passionate about living the active and balanced lifestyle that Michelob ULTRA celebrates," said Azania Andrews, vice president, Michelob ULTRA.
Finally, Michelob ULTRA formed another new partnership with Brooks Koepka, the world's 25th ranked golfer and 2016 Ryder Cup breakout player. This includes appearances at consumer events and inclusion in multimedia platforms.
"Michelob ULTRA has long been the go-to choice for golfers and golf fans alike. Our new pairing with Brooks Koepka further strengthens our connection to the game and reinforces our support for those who pursue active, balanced lifestyles," said Andrews. "As one of the sport's most impressive young stars, Brooks continues to ascend at a rapid pace and is an ideal fit for the fastest-growing beer brand in the U.S."
National commercial lender Ascentium Capital LLC announced that first quarter funded volume reached $225.1 million, representing 25.5 percent growth and managed $1.6 billion in assets, representing a 37.7 percent increase year over year in the first quarter of 2017.
Ascentium Capital also experienced a record month in March with $259.6 million in credit application volume.
"Our financial relationship platform powers our performance. We continue to scale our operations and integrated infrastructure to deliver positive business outcomes that benefit our equipment vendors and small business clients nationwide," said CEO Tom Depping.
The company specializes in providing a broad range of financing, leasing and small business loans.
Broaster Co. announced Team Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda, a key player in the Superbike class for the 2017 MotoAmerica season. This marks the first year Broaster's involvement with the RoadRace factory is elevated to a corporate-wide level of participation.
"We're excited to build our brand beyond foodservice as a part of the RoadRace Factory," said Jay Cipra, president and CEO of Broaster Co. "We're looking at some very exciting things for the future of the Broaster Co. Team Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda allows us to connect with our customers and consumers unlike never before. Our partnership gives our fans something more to cheer about."
Team Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda comprises the experienced team owner Danny Walker, veteran rider Jake Gagne and motorcycles and technical support from Honda.
The Carlin Group, a privately owned full-service brokerage and member of BeaconUnited, as well as a leading regional sales and marketing solutions company, acquired Des Moines, Iowa-based Johnson-Holmes & Associates.
"We're looking forward to having a stronger presence in Iowa and parts of Nebraska," said Jeff Mahler, president of Carlin Group. "Johnson-Holmes & Associates' deep local roots make the company a great match for our organization."
Johnson-Holmes & Associates customers include Farner-Bocken, Hy-Vee, Fareway, Casey's General Stores and Kum & Go convenience stores.
"We are excited about providing additional services and resources to our customers and management by becoming part of the Carlin Group," said Johnson-Holmes President and CEO Paul Johnson, son of the firm's founder, Paul Johnson Senior. He will continue to work with the Carlin Group.
A sister company to Swisher International, E-Alternative Solutions launched a national advertising campaign for its Cue Vapor System. Cue provides simple vaping in the form of a premium-performance, stylish device that can be operated with the click of a cartridge and the push of a button, according to the company.
As part of an effort to broaden the offerings of its foodservice business and accelerate the growth of the professional products business area, Electrolux acquired Louisville, Ky.-based Grindmaster-Cecilware, a manufacturer of hot, cold and frozen beverage dispensing equipment, including coffee machines. The cash deal was worth $108 million.
"We are very pleased to complement our portfolio with such an attractive range of beverage products, as the combination better meets customer needs, especially among food service chains," said Alberto Zanata, head of Electrolux business area professional products. "This move will also reinforce our presence in North America, one of the largest global markets for professional appliances."
Grindmaster-Cecilware has manufacturing facilities in Louisville and in Rayong, Thailand, and employed approximately 200 people. Its net sales exceeded $65 million in 2016.
The Hershey Co.
The Hershey Co. announced a five-year extension with CBS Sports, Turner Sports and the NCAA to continue its role as Official Confectionery Partner. Its Reese's brand will return as title sponsor of the Reese's College All-Star Game and will continue to host a kick-off to Final Four weekend with Reese's Final Four Friday.