IRVING, Texas — For the third consecutive year, 7-Eleven Inc. is inviting emerging brands to make their case for why they deserve a spot on the convenience store retailer's shelves via the Brands with Heart event.
Brands can apply before Oct. 1 for a chance to showcase their most innovative products while engaging with leaders from the world's largest convenience store retailer, according to 7-Eleven. The third annual event will take place virtually from Oct. 21-22.
Through the Brands with Heart event, rising brands are given a unique opportunity to enter a new retail channel and introduce their products and brand story to 7-Eleven's 8 million daily U.S. customers. The company's goal is to diversify its product offering beyond the traditional c-store assortment and put delicious sips and snacks in the hands of the on-the-go customer, 7-Eleven stated.
"As a franchise business, we embody the spirit of entrepreneurship," said 7-Eleven Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Demand Chain Jack Stout. "At a time where many retailers are pausing new product launches, 7-Eleven is excited to give small business owners this unique opportunity."
During the product expo, participants will attend workshops and panels with 7-Eleven merchandising and operations leadership. The two-day experience will close with an informal networking session where entrepreneurs will have access to the 7-Eleven merchandising team to exchange ideas and pitch their products.
"7-Eleven offers emerging brands a unique opportunity to grow their business in the c-store channel," said 7-Eleven Vice President of Merchandising Chris Harkness. "New and innovative products have an opportunity to really stand out in our small-store format. Plus, convenience customers are more likely to try a new item that is single serve, which gets a new product into more potential consumers hands.
"Ultimately, it's our customers who will decide which products become success stories. The Brands with Heart expo is a terrific opportunity all the way around — for customers, for companies just starting out, and for 7-Eleven to deliver more of the great products our customers want," he added.
More than 750 companies applied to present their brand at last year's Brands with Heart event, and 65 made the cut to participate in the two-day "listen and learn” and "show and taste" sessions. From the contenders, 25 brands were chosen to participate in a real-world, in-store test called Sips & Snacks.
Based in Irving, 7-Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 71,100 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America.