ATLANTA — More than 23,500 individuals from 69 countries attended the 2019 NACS Show in Atlanta, which delivered four days of learning, insights, networking, and exploring what’s new and exciting for the global convenience and fuel retailing industry.
As always, one of the highlights of NACS Show 2019 was the expo floor, which this year spanned 425,000-plus net square feet and featured more than 1,200 exhibitors, from startups to big brands. The expo floor also included the New Exhibitor Area, 20,000 square feet of dedicated expo space spotlighting more than 200 companies brand-new to the show; and an all-new CBD Pavilion, a partitioned section of the expo that showcased hemp-derived CBD products from 50 industry suppliers.
The Convenience Store News editorial staff was out in force meeting with suppliers and checking out all the expo floor happenings. Here’s our rundown of the top distributor takeaways:
Core-Mark announced that it broke ground on an industry-leading Center of Excellence (COE), scheduled to open in 2020, and was showcasing a virtual tour of the facility at its booth.
The Core-Mark COE will have five hubs to deliver an immersive experience allowing retailers and vendors to gain real-time insights into emerging trends and opportunities. The hubs include: a collaboration hub for Core-Mark and customers to work on joint strategies and goals; a culinary test kitchen; a modern retailing experience hub to view virtual product placement and store layouts using the latest software tools; an insights and data center for leveraging leading-edge data analytics tools; and a people training facility.
Earlier this year, Performance Food Group Co. (PFG) acquired convenience channel distributor Eby-Brown Co. LLC. Six months into the relationship, the newly combined organization took the wraps off its first collaborations at the 2019 NACS Show: a pizza program and a barbecue program.
"Eby-Brown and PFG are stronger together, offering the greatest breadth of foodservice products for the c-store space," said Lonnie Varisco, corporate executive chef for Performance Foodservice, a division of PFG and a large pizza supplier in the market.
The new Eby-Brown pizza program features Performance Foodservice branded offerings such as its exclusive Bacio cheese, as well as its Roma, Luigi and Piancone brands.
The new Eby-Brown component barbecue program features Performance Foodservice products from its West Creek and Heritage Ovens brands. The offerings include pulled pork, pulled chicken and beef brisket, which are available in six different flavor profiles.
"We are really taking the barbecue program to a higher level," Varisco said. "The flavors meet any palate out there, and we are excited about having all of these products available for delivery in the c-store market from Eby-Brown."
McLane Co. Inc.
McLane, the largest wholesale distributor in the c-store industry, showcased a few new things at this year’s NACS Show. Although many of the company’s newest products debuted at its recently held National Trade Show, a company representative told CSNews that McLane’s proprietary Fly Guys Pizza is planning to launch a new flavor, with product testing and sampling of different flavors going on now.
In the technology arena, McLane showed off its latest customer-facing tech on a variety of devices — from Surface Pros to smartphones to Honeywell handheld devices, and even a new tablet built specifically for c-store operations. The featured technology included its recently announced back-office management solution, a one-stop shop for retailers and all their tech needs; and a new text notification feature on McLane’s Delivery Tracker Application, which sends a text message to a retailer’s phone if their delivery is delayed.
Exclusive brands were also on display at McLane’s booth. The distributor debuted 40 new products in its private label CVP (Convenience Value Products) line. Among the new items were four dog treats from Beau Dacious, phone accessories from Road-Tech, and CVP health and beauty products.
The 2019 NACS Show took place Oct. 1-4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.