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    What Happens at NACS Shouldn't Stay at NACS

    Smart retailers bring home invaluable lessons and business contacts.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" has been the advertising slogan for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority since 2002. If you're here for this year's NACS Show, however, you don't want to leave behind anything you learn at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For one thing, you spent too much time and money not to achieve something valuable in return.

    For the next three days, you are going to be overwhelmed by the vast number of educational sessions and exhibitions of new products and services to improve your business. Obviously, you can't see everything, so it's important that you write down a few (three to five) goals that you want to accomplish.

    Of course, you know what your own goals are, but I thought I'd just jot down a few of the things I think stand out at this year's NACS Show:

    • The Cool New Products Preview Room opened Sunday and is open today for retailers only (it will be open to everyone tomorrow). Each year, many of these "cool" products become fixtures on convenience store shelves. You never know if you might find the next million-dollar item here.
    • Before you even hit the exhibit show floor, there are dozens of educational sessions at your disposal. Which ones you attend will depend on your original goals, but definitely attend as many as possible. No offense to consultants, but I've always found the best workshops and seminars are those featuring retailer participants talking about their businesses.
    • Among the general sessions, my favorite has always been NACS' Ideas 2 Go session (being held tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.). Each year, Ideas 2 Go presents a rapid-fire video look at some of the most creative ideas in convenience retailing. We always find a couple of story ideas in this session (although in some cases, we've already written about the companies featured). This year, NACS President and CEO Hank Armour will kick off the session by discussing some of the industry's key initiatives, so you don't want to miss it.
    • One of the industry's most important initiatives is improving and growing the foodservice side of the business. Tonight at 5:45 p.m., Convenience Store News and Tyson Foods will host the first Foodservice Innovators Awards reception in the NACS Hunter Club. During the reception, which is open to retailers only, 12 of the c-store industry's most accomplished foodservice retailers will be honored for innovation. You should definitely join us and enjoy a drink with some of the industry's top innovators.

    When it comes to the vast show floor, a good idea is to develop a list of which exhibitors you want to see based on where their booths are located. This way, you won't spend a lot of time walking over the same territory during the show.

    And, finally, enjoy the social events at the show. But if you do burn the candle at both ends, well, I guess some things that happen in Vegas should stay in Vegas.

    For comments, please contact Don Longo, Editor-in-Chief, at (201) 855-7606 or [email protected].

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News
    • About Don Longo Don Longo is editorial director of EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News, Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner and Hispanic Retail 360 media brands. He has covered retailing for more than 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. Previously, he spearheaded the editorial efforts at a variety of business publications focused on mass, drug, grocery and specialty store retailing. Convenience Store News won American Business Media‚Äôs Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Issue of the Year in 2008 and 2012. Longo has won numerous other editorial awards over his career and is frequently quoted in the national and local news media on the subjects of retailing and consumer trends.
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