Other milestones and new initiatives come from American Security, Van's Kitchen and more.
NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.
Here are the latest supplier spotlights:
Custom safe manufacturer American Security celebrated the milestone of 75 years of helping people protect what they hold most valuable. To celebrate, the company is planning many activities to engage customers, partners and employees, including a limited edition of diamond anniversary gun safes to debut at the 2022 Shot Show in Las Vegas.
The company will celebrate with stakeholders for a full year from August 2021 to August 2022.
"American Security's success is a result of 75 years of innovation, customer excellence, accountability and teamwork," said CEO Drew Meng. "Since 1946, American Security has been dedicated to designing and building the best performing high security safes on the market for home and businesses."
American Security holds more than a dozen technology and engineering patents and several industry firsts including the first round-door vault (1958), the first domestic-built U.L.-listed TL-15 and TL-30 composite safes (1989), the industry's first retro-fit group II electronic safe lock (1990) and the first burglary and fire composite gun safe (1999).
In 2013, the company entered the smart safe market with CashWizard, which provides ultimate visibility into daily cash transactions via integrated cloud-based software that gives treasury and other management suites the ability to remotely manage money from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"CashWizard makes it easier for operators of corporate-owned, and multi-location franchise retailers to manage their safes and cash flow from a far," said Donny McKay, vice president of marketing and engineering. "Our smart safe solution reduces the number of touchpoints in the cash management process and saves our clients thousands in labor costs."
Based in Fontana, Calif., American Security employs more than 200 people.
"Our mission has always been to help others protect what they hold most valuable, because what matters most to them, matters most to us," Meng added. "The honor and prestige that comes with celebrating 75 years in business is owned by every one of our dedicated and hardworking team members who take pride in creating the best possible experience with our brand for the consumer."
Avery Dennison completed its $1.45 billion acquisition of Vestcom, a provider of pricing and branded labeling solutions at the shelf-edge for retailers and consumer packaged goods companies. Vestcom uses data management capabilities to synthesize and streamline store-level data and deliver item-specific, price-integrated messaging at the shopper's point of decision.
Headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., Vestcom has 11 U.S. production facilities and approximately 1,200 employees, with sales across multiple U.S. retail channels, including grocery, drug, and dollar. Vestcom's solutions include stackz pre-cut, pre-sorted self-adhering shelf labels; shelfStrips shelf-edge planogram displays; adSigns signage kits; and shelfAdz branded marketing displays.
"Vestcom is a high-performing business that is a near adjacency to RBIS," said Mitch Butier, chairman, president and CEO of Glendale, Calif.-based Avery Dennison, when the acquisition agreement was announced. "With this acquisition, we are expanding our position in high-value categories and adding complementary channel access and data management capabilities that have the potential to further accelerate our Intelligent Labels strategy. We look forward to welcoming them into the Avery Dennison team."
Post-acquisition, Avery Dennison and Vestcom will accelerate their respective solutions, and combine inventory availability, price management and frictionless checkout to offer a complete solution across multiple U.S. retail channels. Their new capabilities offer:
A full end-to-end retail experience that bridges the physical and digital, driving conversion amongst retail customers, while providing opportunities to engage customers at point of purchase with digital solutions embedded directly into apparel and footwear items.
Strong promotional capabilities at shelf edge and point-of-sale (POS) signage, with an extensive North American footprint.
Leading solutions to engage consumers digitally on the shelf, on the rounder, and on the product itself, so retailers can interact with consumers pre-purchase, post-purchase and throughout the product life-cycle.
THE COCA-COLA CO.
Coca-Cola partnered with Lime, provider of shared electric vehicles, to reward people who are committed to recycling. To celebrate the nationwide availability of Coca-Cola Sip Sized bottles, made from 100 percent recycled plastic material (rPET), not including the bottles' cap and label, the companies are offering more than 40,000 free bike or e-scooter rides to people who purchase and pledge to recycle their 13.2-ounce rPET Coca-Cola bottles.
The Lime partnership comes as consumer demand for micromobility has skyrocketed, specifically among Gen Z, who expect their use of alternative modes of transit to increase in the future, compared to pre-pandemic transportation, according to the company.
"The 13.2-ounce, 100 percent rPET Coca-Cola bottle is just one of the many innovations the company has introduced to make important advancements towards a World Without Waste," said Brandan Strickland, brand director of Coca-Cola trademark, Coca-Cola North America. "Now, with 13.2-ounce, 100 percent rPET Coca-Cola bottles available at convenience stores across the nation, we're encouraging people to go the extra mile to commit to recycling our products again and again."
Consumers who purchase the Sip Sized Coca-Cola bottle from their nearest convenience store can pledge to recycle by visiting CokePlayToWin.com/endlesslyrefreshing. Those who pledge to recycle their Sip Sized 100 percent rPET Coca-Cola bottles will receive a promo code via email, available on a first come, first serve basis, that is redeemable for a free 10-minute bike or e-scooter ride through the Lime app.
This initiative, along with transition to the 100 percent rPET packaging across the Coca-Cola trademark portfolio, reduces the company's use of new plastic by more than 20 percent across the portfolio I North America compared to 2018. It is estimated that this effort in the U.S. represents a 10,000 metric ton reduction in GHG emissions annually. This is the equivalent of taking 2,120 cars off the road for one year.
"With sustainability so central to Lime's core values, we're thrilled to partner with Coca-Cola to encourage recycling of its new bottle made from 100 percent recycled materials," said Sara Lannin, head of Global Business Development and Partnerships at Lime. "Contributing to a healthier planet requires us all to live more sustainably, whether doing more to recycle or replacing car trips with light electric vehicles."
DRB Systems LLC announced plans to be acquired by Raleigh, N.C.-based Vontier Corp., a global industrial technology company focused on transportation and mobility solutions. Subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, the transaction is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2021.
Vontier's portfolio of brands includes market-leading expertise in mobility technologies, retail and commercial fueling, fleet management, telematics, vehicle diagnostics and repair and smart cities end-markets. Its products, services and software advance efficiency, safety, security and environmental compliance worldwide, according to the company.
"DRB's passion to leverage technology to unlock value for our customers became stronger today," said DRB President and CEO President Dan Pittman. "Vontier's purpose of mobilizing the future to create a better world, along with its great portfolio of companies, positions DRB's team to continue its growth and better serve its customers."
Established in 1984, Akron, Ohio-based DRB provides POS and optimization technology to the car wash, quick lube and light repair industries.
"DRB's focus on technology and software solutions complements our existing point-of-sale and payment offerings," said Mark Morelli, president and CEO of Vontier. "Furthermore, entry into the high-value segment of the car wash industry positions Vontier to increasingly benefit from the growing demand for clean, efficient mobility solutions and key trends including autonomous vehicles and water conservation. We look forward to working with the DRB team to deliver an expanded suite of solutions to meet the industry's rapidly increasing needs for technology and workflow expertise."
Mashgin, a touchless self-checkout system powered by AI and computer vision, surpassed the milestone of $100 million in global sales transactions in August. The company's touchless checkout kiosks have now processed more than 16 million transactions worldwide.
Deployments of Mashgin kiosks increased by more than 100 percent in 2021, reaching nearly 500 locations. Additional data collected by Mashgin from its touchless checkout kiosks reveals Mashgin saved global consumers more than 15 years of their lives — time otherwise spent waiting in a queue, according to the company.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Mashgin recently introduced new payment integrations for c-stores and fuel retailers, including an integration with cash technology solutions provider Glory. The new payment integrations allow customers to purchase fuel at Mashgin kiosks and use cash to checkout even faster than paying by credit card. Credit and debit cards are typically considered more efficient payment methods, but Mashgin found that many cash transactions completing faster than typical EMV chip credit cards during the testing phase of its soon-to-release integration with Glory.
"U.S. gas prices are at their highest in seven years. A lack of available fuel pumps equates to lost revenue for gas station convenience stores as potential customers may drive to another nearby gas station if wait times are too long," said Jack Hogan, vice president of strategic partnerships at Mashgin. "By opening up Mashgin to cash payments and gas orders, even more customers can handle their transactions on high-speed self-checkout. That means even shorter lines that let customers happily return to their cars faster, opening up those pumps for additional customers."
NATIONAL CONVENIENCE DISTRIBUTORS
National Convenience Distributors (NCD), the fourth-largest convenience distributor in the U.S., held its first in-person trade show at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., on Aug. 12. More than 1,100 retailers and 261 vendors attended the event.
Retailers were able to sample products, make connections with vendors and meet the NCD team.
"This trade show was one of the most important events of the year. I am so proud of our team that came together to make this happen," said Jeff Allen, CEO of NCD. "It was a privilege to meet and see all of our valued customer partners, vendors, and employees who came to support."
The show featured a 3,200-square-foot c-store designed and implemented by the NCD merchandising team. This live store allowed retailers to see top-of-the-line foodservice programs, new shelving designs and floor layouts. NCD also focused on the "Specialty Spotlight" that displayed recent trends within the evolving customer market.
NCD plans to hold its next show in November in Edison, N.J.
Enterprise technology provider NCR Corp. announced a definitive agreement to acquire cryptocurrency software provider LibertyX.
"Due to growing consumer demand, our customers require a complete digital currency solution, including the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency, conduct cross-border remittance and accept digital currency payments across digital and physical channels," said Tim Vanderham, chief technology officer. At NCR. "The LibertyX solution will accelerate our ability to rapidly deliver these capabilities to the market."
The LibertyX digital currency solution runs on ATMs, kiosks and point-of-sale (POS) systems. The company partners with independent ATM operators that own and manage ATMs in the U.S. at locations like convenience stores, pharmacies and supermarkets.
Moving forward, NCR will offer the LibertyX capabilities as part of its solutions for banks, retailers and restaurants. Its digital wallet and mobile applications will provide these capabilities across NCR's physical and digital touchpoints.
"NCR is an industry leader in banking, retail and hospitality, and has a tremendous customer base across our growth markets," said Chris Yim, co-founder and CEO, LibertyX. "We look forward to offering NCR's customers the ability to quickly and easily offer the digital payments and cryptocurrency capabilities consumers want, while significantly expanding the scope, scale and reach of our software."
Atlanta-based NCR also acquired Foremost Business Systems, a POS and restaurant solutions provider based in Minneapolis. This further expands the reach of NCR's restaurant technology, which is trusted by more than 100,000 restaurants around the world.
"Bringing Foremost Business Systems into the NCR family aligns with our strategy to increase our capabilities to deliver our solutions and serve our customers in thriving local restaurant markets, like Minneapolis," said NCR CEO Michael D. Hayford.
NCR will maintain Foremost's existing customer sites with the Foremost Business Systems management team and staff of local Minneapolis restaurant experts. The integration of the Foremost team into the NCR local office network accelerates NCR's ability to bring innovative solutions to Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.
"Our customers will continue to work with the same team they've grown familiar with through the years — and now, we have access to global resources and can deliver even better service," said Lori Alwin, president of Foremost Business Systems.
Republic Tobacco renamed itself Republic Brands to propel its brand portfolio and introduce new product offerings to address the rapidly growing rolling and make-your-own market. Building on its existing legacy, the company is poised to lead the ongoing transformation in rolling products, accessories and merchandise.
"Consumers appreciate being able to take a moment to enjoy the little things in life, which is what rolling your own is all about," said President and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Marobella. "The historic shift in market dynamics we are now experiencing in the United States and beyond opens valuable growth opportunities and the ability to connect with consumers in new ways."
Glenview, Ill.-based Republic Brands has built a vertically-integrated supply chain from plant to puff. Republic Brands continues to deepen its investments in brand and product lines featuring sustainable materials, and pursue innovative partnerships with today's leading artists, creatives and influencers who share the Republic Brands ethos.
"The creation of Republic Brands represents a massive opportunity for our multinational company that has built its reputation as a trusted manufacturer and developer of sustainably sourced products," said Don Levin, founder and chairman of Republic Brands. "We're on the vanguard of the next era in the roll-your-own category building on our core portfolio and our high-growth brands such as OCB, JOB, TOP, Abadie, JOKER and E-Z Wider."
Sonny's, the world's largest manufacturer of conveyorized car wash equipment, parts, and supplies, acquired Hydra-Flex, a privately held manufacturer of innovative and reliable fluid handling products for the vehicle wash industry. This includes chemical dispensing systems and high-pressure nozzles.
"Hydra-Flex has revolutionized car wash chemical dispensing and nozzle technology. They have consistently found better ways to solve customer and industry problems with fluid handling," said Sonny's CEO Paul Fazio. "While the products they make are the best in the business, what excites me most are the people we will gain. Their passion for our industry and for customer service fits perfectly with Sonny's."
Hydra-Flex's management and staff will remain in place with its factory in Savage, Minn.
"This is an exciting time for us and marks a huge milestone for the company, our employees, and our customers who will all benefit from the opportunities this acquisition presents," said Jaime Harris, president and CEO of Hydra-Flex. "Being a part of Sonny's allows us to better serve our customers as we continue to grow in all areas of our business."
Increased demand for Van's Kitchen products prompted the certified women-owned and minority-owned egg roll manufacturer to add another shift to its production facilities. Van's is moving to two shifts six days a week.
"This is a nice position to be in," said Van's Kitchen CEO Theresa Motter. "With our business growing across the board in mass, grocery and convenience and with expectations of continued growth this commitment to our business and clients is timely."
Dallas-based Van's recently celebrated its 35th anniversary as a manufacturer. It anticipates adding new products to its existing lineup to serve multiple channels of distribution.
"We continually work to provide our retail partners with the necessary supply of our delicious products that they need to service their customers," said Chief Strategy Officer Carl Motter. "Being proactive now by ramping up production capability ensures that we will continue to meet demand."