Independent C-store Leaders Gather at Future-Focused Trade Show

The Greater Houston Retailers Cooperative Association's annual event highlighted collaboration and next-gen offers.
Angela Hanson
Senior Editor
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2023 GHRA Trade Show

HOUSTON — More than 2,000 independent convenience store owners and operators, suppliers, vendors and other industry leaders shared ideas, insights and new offerings at the 2023 Greater Houston Retailers Cooperative Association Inc. (GHRA) Trade Show on Oct. 25. The theme of the event was "Next Gen — Collaborating to Achieve."

Held at the Houston NRG Center, the 12th and largest-yet GHRA Trade Show featured more than 191 local, regional and international exhibitors showcasing 500-plus new consumer products and other resources available to c-store owners and operators. Activities at the show highlighted innovation, new products, relationship building, celebration of achievements and commitment to community.

Additionally, a trio of Texas retailers received the inaugural Big Madre Tacos y Tortas Captain's Awards at the GHRA Trade Show kickoff.

"Working together, our members, vendors, suppliers, and staff are defining and delivering the next generation of convenience retail. Their success is important to the many customers, communities, and neighborhoods they serve throughout greater Houston and southeast Texas," said Brian Trout, chief executive.

GHRA is a membership organization that provides resources to independently owned and operated convenience retail stores throughout greater Houston and southeast Texas. The group represents nearly 1,100 individual members who own and operate more than 2,000 convenience retail stores in neighborhoods across 37 counties. GHRA's family of brands include Kudos, Big Madre Tacos y Tortas and GHRA Fuels. 

The event featured a "Convenience Store of the Future" exhibit that highlighted next-generation business and consumer experience solutions. Its innovative approaches and new technology opportunities included outdoor and indoor digital displays designed to provide cost effective, efficient, flexible and engaging options for convenience store operators to communicate and interact with their on-the-go customers.

"The event showcased new and upcoming products and technologies and trends on where they are heading," said GHRA Board of Directors President Imran Ali, who holds an ownership stake in 25 GHRA member stores. "Most importantly, the trade show was an opportunity for GHRA members to meaningfully interact with each other and with vendor partners who are critical to our business success and to delivering products and services that our retail customers need and want."

The event's New Items exhibit included more than 500 new products and services. Additionally, the GHRA showcased a new foodservice offer that includes freshly breaded and fried chicken.

Exhibits also featured:

  • Kudos, GHRA's convenience store concept that includes a kitchen with chicken recipes, breakfast and deli sandwiches, biscuits and fries;
  • Big Madre Tacos y Tortas, a restaurant brand in place at 37 convenience store locations in southeast Texas;
  • GHRA Fuels, which offers unbranded gas station fuels distribution services for GHRA members; and
  • GHRA Warehouse and Distribution Center, a flagship product distribution resource for GHRA members that is located in Houston.