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    CST Gives Store Managers Access to the Latest Trends

    Sandwiches on hot pretzel bread, wines prove popular.

    SAN ANTONIO — CST Brands Inc. held an open house for its store managers to get an up-close look and taste of products vying for space at Corner Store locations.

    The San Antonio-based convenience store retailer hosted more than 1,200 CST store managers at the San Antonio Convention Center on Feb. 4, where 100 suppliers showcased the latest trends in on-the-go food options, according to MySanAntonio.com.

    A sample of the menu included jalepeño-bacon-cheeseburger-hot-pretzel-bread sandwiches and Redtree Pinot Noir wine.

    "They get to see a cross-section of new items and items that we already carry," said Hal Adams, president of retail operations for CST, which has about 2,000 c-stores throughout the United States and Canada. "They can try products we don't list for all stores, that we're not sure would go for all stores, but a store manager may say, 'Oh my customers will like that product. I'll try it.'"

    CST managers have about 20-percent flexibility in stocking their stores, giving them the chance to tailor the store to their local customers, according to the news report. This flexibility also allows store managers to keep up with evolving consumer demands. 

    "Millennials are willing to try different flavors and they're willing to try different items," Adams said. "They're not as brand loyal."

    In addition, consumers are increasingly using convenience stores for fill-in shopping — just a few items — instead of heading to the grocery store, and they are also skipping trips to liquor stores.

    Brian Fischer of O'Neill Winery told the news outlet that shoppers have been more willing to purchase pricier wines at convenience stores, especially ones that have a larger footprint and offer grocery items.

    "Over the last five to six years, there has been a huge spike in wine sales in convenience stores in general," Fischer said.

    According to MySanAntonio.com, prepared foods proved especially popular with the CST store managers on the convention center floor, particularly new $3.99 sandwiches made of hot pretzel bread. Options include a meatball sandwich, an Italian sandwich and a jalapeño-bacon cheeseburger. The sandwiches will be in 81 CST stores by next week.

    "That's our wheelhouse," Adams said. Even the meatballs are linked together, "so when you bite into it, they don't squirt out."

    CST Brands is one of the largest independent retailers of motor fuels and convenience merchandise in North America with more than 2,000 locations throughout the Southwestern United States, Georgia, Florida, New York and Eastern Canada.

    CST Brands also owns the general partner of CrossAmerica Partners LP, a master limited partnership and wholesale distributor of motor fuels, based in Allentown, Pa. 

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