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By Don Longo
DALLAS -- An unscientific poll of attendees and exhibitors at the Texas Food & Fuel Expo, held Monday and Tuesday at the Gaylord Texas Resort in Grapevine, found overwhelming agreement that this year's combined event by the Texas Grocery and Convenience Association (TGCA) and the Texas Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (TPCA) was more productive than the two separate conventions the organizations conducted in years past.
Interestingly, most of the Texas c-store retailers CSNews spoke with said their business was stronger this year than a year ago, yet they were also extremely worried about the immediate future. Asked to list their biggest business concerns, attendees cited:
-- Rising gas prices and the possibility of a widening war in the Middle East;
-- High consumer debt and continuing increase in credit card transaction costs; and,
-- Another year of devastating hurricanes which wracked chaos along the Gulf Coast last year.
Larry Kerns of GSC Enterprises and chairman of the TGCA kicked off last night's opening gala by praising the high level of cooperation that existed between the TGCA and the TPCA to bring this event to reality. He said the event was "three years in the making."
The Expo also included a third formerly freestanding show, the Latin American Food & Beverage Expo, which added about 25 additional exhibitors of consumables with a distinctly Hispanic flavor.