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Blog Series
06/16/2022

Approaching Innovation at Your Own Pace

TravelCenters of America and Sheetz will headline the 2022 Convenience Store News Technology Leadership Roundtable as retailers gather to discuss a variety of tech issues.
Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
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Innovation is a top agenda item for many convenience store operators, but the approach to innovation can differ. Some retailers take on a full transformation journey, with innovation and technology playing a pivotal role in all aspects of change. Others chip away at the old standards, rolling out one new innovative solution at a time.

Both approaches will be highlighted at this year's Convenience Store News Technology Leadership Roundtable & Dinner, being held Saturday, Oct. 1 in Las Vegas.

TravelCenters of America Inc.'s (TA) Sandy Rapp, senior vice president and chief information officer, and Sue Smolenski, vice president of marketing, will kick off the evening. The executives will discuss the travel center operator's business transformation and growth initiatives — a journey that began in early 2020, not long after CEO Jonathan Pertchik took the top spot at Westlake, Ohio-based TA.

This year's event will also honor Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc., with CEO Travis Sheetz accepting his company's 2022 Technology Leader of the Year award. While Sheetz is a well-known innovator in the foodservice space, the company has been quietly making strides in retail technology. For example, in the fall of 2019, it opened a technology and innovation hub in Pittsburgh and one year ago, it became the first c-store chain to accept digital currency.

Two different approaches. Neither is right or wrong. What works for one operator may not work for another, and a retailer must be comfortable and able to sustain the pace it chooses.

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