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    Independent C-Store Expo Spotlights Areas of Opportunity

    Category management and foodservice top the event’s agenda.

    By Kathleen Furore

    BURR RIDGE, Ill. — Convenience store retailers, manufacturers and suppliers gathered at the Chicago Marriott in Burr Ridge on Thursday, May 12, for the 2016 Independent C-Store Expo (I-C-Expo). Sponsored by Royal Buying Group, the annual event is designed to educate attendees and provide networking opportunities to help increase c-store industry profits.

    Approximately 300 attendees and 60 exhibitors took part in the program. 

    This year’s I-C-Expo kicked off with two educational sessions discussing topics of special importance to the convenience retail channel today: category management and foodservice.

    During her presentation entitled “Assessing Your Category Management Approach…Opportunities for Future Growth for Your Store(s),” Sue Nicholls, president of the Category Management Knowledge Group distributed a scorecard to help attendees assess their current performance level.

    She then explained that category management involves creating a retail strategy, developing category plans, reviewing category performance, and implementing category plans.

    “It is a continuous process that is owned by you, the retailer,” Nicholls stressed. “You — not your suppliers — need to be the navigator of your ship.”

    In the “How to Be Successful in Foodservice in a C-Store Environment” session sponsored by AdvancePierre Foods, Lou Pazderski, client development manager for foodservice/convenience at Shankman & Associates, discussed how c-store operators can identify the right foodservice programs for their locations and touched on ways to make these programs succeed.

    “A one-size-fits-all mentality will not work in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace,” Pazderski said.

    Following the educational sessions, attendees adjourned to the I-C-Expo floor, where vendors showcased their 2016 Royal Buying Group products and marketing programs. Royal Buying Group negotiates programs covering all categories of convenience stores with national vendors and utilizes group buying power to increase sales and reduce operating costs for its members. The company’s goal is to ensure independent retailers can take advantage of chain benefits in order to be competitive within the marketplace.

    The Independent C-Store Expo is billed as the only event exclusively targeted to independent single-site, multiple-site and wholesale jobbers representing all brands of petroleum/c-store locations. 

    By Kathleen Furore
    • About Kathleen Furore

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