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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:
AdvancePierre celebrated the opening of its newest manufacturing facility in Vineland, N.J., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 21. The 75,000-square-foot facility contains two raw and four cooked production lines for Philly steak.
Construction of the facility began in June 2016 under the tenure of Allied Specialty Foods, which AdvancePierre acquired in October 2016. The deal expanded AdvancePierre's market position in the Philly steak platform, providing entry into fully cooked product offerings, according to the company.
"This new facility expands our production capacity in a product category that is primed for growth," stated George Chappelle, chief operating officer of AdvancePierre. "The investment in four cooked production lines underscores the importance of this new capability in our product portfolio in meeting the market demand for this versatile, easy-to-prepare, premium product."
National commercial lender Ascentium Capital LLC received the FinTech Breakthrough Award for Best Business Lending Platform. The awards' mission is to honor excellence and recognize the success of FinTech companies, technologies and products that disrupt and innovate the financial services industry.
This year's program attracted more than 3,000 nominations from more than 15 different countries. All nominations were evaluated by an independent panel of experts within the FinTech industry, including media, analysts, journalists and technology executives.
"We are excited to recognize Ascentium Capital as winners of the Best Business Lending Platform award, and we congratulate them on playing a leading role within the FinTech industry," said James Johnson, managing director, FinTech Breakthrough. "The judges were particularly impressed with the company's innovative and powerful suite of tools, such as the MyAscentium.com business portal for vendor clients and the streamlined financing process for SMBs. The Business Lending award category included nominations from the top financial services and technology companies, and we acknowledge and congratulate Ascentium Capital for breaking through to achieve this recognition."
Blue by Belly, a customer engagement platform for enterprise retailers, partnered with fuel discounts rewards company Drop Tank to bring combined customer engagement technology solutions to the fuel and convenience store space.
Drop Tank makes data readily available from all the leading fuel point-of-sale systems, while Blue's platform solution serves as the engagement and personalization engine, making that data actionable and driving marketing strategies to increase fuel demand and convenience store sales. The union of these technology solutions allows brands and retailers to not only deliver timely, personalized experiences to their customers, but also allows them to adapt to evolving technology and consumer demands quickly, according to the companies.
"We don't believe in custom solutions that inhibit the ability of our customers to evolve their marketing strategy," said Dan Gloede, CEO of Belly. "Custom solutions have trouble adapting to new consumer behavior, preferred engagement methods and changing business needs over time. We believe the path forward is being the best partner platform for marketing and IT as their initiatives evolve, and BLUE was purpose-built for this reason. David and his Drop Tank team have deep point-of-sale expertise and we believe our partnered solutions will disrupt consumer engagement solutions currently available to fuel, convenience store chains and CPGs."
Chef's Cut Real Jerky
Actress and entrepreneur Olivia Munn teamed with Chef's Cut to celebrate National Jerky Day at a steakhouse-inspired Gastro Station on June 12 in Los Angeles. Munn, who is an equity owner in the company, acted as "Master Jerky Sommelier" in a transformed Los Angeles gas station during the event, which featured unique cocktail and jerky pairings and unexpected surprises.
To kick off the partnership with Munn, Chef's Cut will turn a humble gas station into a five-star dining establishment to suit the steakhouse quality of Chef's Cut Real Jerky.
"Jerky has come a long way in recent years to become a premium, healthy snack," said Bart Silvestro, CEO of Chef's Cut Real Jerky. "We're excited for Olivia to join our team as Master Jerky Sommelier and to celebrate National Jerky Day."
To celebrate the release of Paramount Picture's "Transformers: The Last Knight," Tastykake revamped the packaging of limited editions of its Minis, Butterscotch Krimpets and Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes to honor individual characters and their unique sense of style.
Starting May 22 and running through July 10, fans can take the "Are You an Autobot or Decepticon?" quiz online at www.tastykaketransformersmovie.com to learn if they are an Autobot or Decepticon and for the chance to win Transformers-themed prizes, Tastykake snacks and more. One grand prize winner will receive a movie-inspired prize pack, and 70 weekly winners will receive other prizes, such as Tastykake snack cakes, movie tickets and Transformers branded items.
"Bringing together the iconic deliciousness of Tastykake and the entertaining excitement of the Transformers movie franchise is an exciting prospect for both brands," said Brent Bradshaw, Flowers Foods' vice president of cake marketing. "Aligning with the theatrical release of Transformers: The Last Knight is a perfect match to Tastykake's fun positioning and is sure to be a fan favorite."
In May, Gilbarco Veeder-Root announced that it has processed an estimated 350 million secure EMV transactions through March with its Passport point-of-sale (POS) EMV system, as fuel and c-stores across the U.S. continue to migrate to the new chip-enabled POS software.
"We launched EMV software for our Passport point-of-sale system almost a year ago. Consumers are starting to expect EMV payment acceptance and leading retailers like Champlain Oil Co. are listening and rapidly enabling EMV inside the store," said Mark Williams, Gilbarco's vice president of marketing for North America. "Given growing consumer expectations around EMV, we expect to see EMV 'turn on' at the fuel dispenser rapidly as well when the software is available later this year. Retailers are anxious to retain their security-conscious customers, who understand that fraud will be highest at those sites that haven't yet upgraded."
The company also announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bnei Brak, Israel-based Orpak Systems Limited, which delivers extensive technology solutions to oil companies and commercial fleets.