Supplier Spotlights: blu, Impact 21 & KIND Snacks

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Supplier Spotlights: blu, Impact 21 & KIND Snacks

blu's Pledge World

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:


Belanger launched a redesigned, mobile-responsive website that provides customers with easy access to technical resources along with educational materials. The site will serve as the Belanger brand's digital hub under the newly formed OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions business unit.

"Creating one effective eco-system for car wash solutions is a contributing factor to the success of our new vehicle wash brand," said Gary Campbell, general manager for OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions. "A new Belanger site that provides the same intuitive experience as our other OPW business unit pages is a major step in improving purchasing, service and education for our vehicle wash customers."

Site improvements include a more intuitive menu system, improved search functionality and a cleaner layout that presents key content first.


Following a six-month run, blu is celebrating the results of its latest campaign, "Pledge World," which invited adult smokers and vapers over the age of 21 to submit their pledge for a chance to win an opportunity to make positive change.

The campaign received more than 10,000 submissions since it launched in December, including pledges to overcome physical boundaries, honor historical heritage, and build community projects with the power to inspire positive, long-term change.

In addition to changing the lives of adult smokers and vapers across the country, Pledge World inspired a panel of 10 individuals who not only helped select the winning consumer pledge entries, but also fulfilled pledges of their own. Pledge World went on tour to events in Miami, Nashville, Tenn., New Orleans, and Austin, Texas, where attendees over the age of 21 were able to jump safely from a 30-foot tower on location, express their individuality with a new tattoo and submit pledges of their own.

"We've been incredibly excited by the positive response to Pledge World over the past few months. The campaign's message of owning your choices and making a positive change in life clearly resonated with our consumers," said Greg Moser, vice president of marketing at blu. "Creating the opportunity for pledgers to confront a fear or achieve a goal they never thought possible is what this campaign was all about.

"We're thrilled to have given so many adult smokers and vapers the opportunity to embark on their own journeys towards positive change. It truly echoes the commitment we made since we launched 10 years ago — to give consumers the confidence to make the transition from cigarettes to vaping," he added.


DRB Holdings LLC dba DRb Systems acquired Suds Creative, a full-service marketing agency for car wash owners and industry vendors.

"Our mission is to help car wash operators drive growth as a trusted partner," said Dan Pittman, CEO of DRB. "Traditionally, we've done that with enterprise technology solutions, industry know-how and best-in-class support. With Suds, we can take that to the next level by providing strategic marketing solutions that truly drive customers to the car wash. We know marketing is a success quotient to a thriving car wash and lube center, which is exactly why we are partnering with Suds."


GoodWest Industries, a national provider of coffee condiments and innovator in the iced coffee and cold brew product segments, acquired Skinny Mixes LLC, a branded provider of low-calorie coffee syrups and flavorings, whipped foam toppings and beverage mixes. Skinny Mixes offers four beverage collections: SKinny Syrups, Whipped Foam Toppings, Meaningful Daily Wellness Boosts and Skinny Mixes.

"We are excited to have [Skinny Mixes founder] Jordan Engelhardt and the entire Jordan's Skinny Mixes team join the GoodWest family," said GoodWest CEO Rick Lawlor. "We look forward to broadening GoodWest's beverage platform with existing and new Skinny Mixes products, including new coffee condiments, and investing further in product development.

"Jordan is a passionate innovator, and we welcome her leadership and insights as we offer our convenience, foodservice and other customers a range of premium, authentic beverages, mixes and syrups. Skinny Mixes is the perfect complement to our existing product portfolio of coffee creamers, and enhancements, and specialty cold coffees," Lawlor added.


Hughes Network Systems LLC, which provides managed network services under its HughesON brand, earned certification as a Gilbarco managed network service provider (MNSP). This authorized the HughesON Managed SD-WAN solution using the HR4860 Secure SD-WAN Gateway or Fortigate router technology as an alternative to the Gilbarco Secure Zone router, providing a secure, PCI-compliant solution compatible with the Gilbarco Passport point-of-sale system, the company said.

"More than ever, retail petroleum customers rely on their networks to provide application assurance," said Dan Rasmussen, senior vice president of North America sales and marketing, Hughes. "With this certification, customers on the Gilbarco Passport system can confidently choose Hughes industry-leading SD-WAN technologies to meet the need for high performance, next-generation security and scalability to deploy new services, mobility and partner applications."


The global retail consulting, analytics, and services company celebrated its 21st year in business on May 16.

"I can't believe it has been 21 years already," said Lesley Saitta, Impact 21 CEO and co-founder alongside President Lisa Stewart. "When Lisa and I started the company, we weren't entirely sure how it would go. We knew we had expertise and insight that could help the industries we worked in. Since starting out, the depth of trust our clients have given us over and over is such an honor. We are so grateful to our clients, our team and industry supporters for helping us reach this milestone; and, we can't wait to see what the next 21 years hold."

Since its inception, the company has broadened its expertise and expanded its offerings to other channels. Some of the industries currently served by Impact 21 include:

  • Convenience/fuel retailing
  • Oil companies and independent refiners
  • Truck stops and travel plazas
  • Foodservice
  • Specialty retail
  • Small format retail
  • Consumer packaged goods
  • Solution providers

In 2017, Impact 21 broadened its impact through a strategic alliance with Hanifin Loyalty, which delivers consulting, analytics and marketing-related services in the areas of loyalty marketing, payment systems and marketing technology.

"We have grown so much since Lesley and I first started the company," Stewart added. "We are very thankful to our talented team who helped bring our vision to life. We are proud that our team has stayed so active in the industry. This has been pivotal to evolving Impact 21 and bringing new business strategies to our clients."


KIND Healthy Snacks unveiled a new call to its community, "be kind to yourself," which aims to remind people that "kindness starts with you." The platform speaks to the importance of self-care and demonstrates choices people can make when life inevitably gets in the way of healthy, according to the company.

"Our longstanding belief at KIND is to craft snacks made with a nutrient-dense first ingredient, like whole nuts, whole grains or whole fruits. Through this new platform, we want to spark a dialogue and remind people to look at what ingredients are most prominent in their snacks," stated Mike Barkley, president and chief operating officer at KIND.

The campaign highlights the daily grind and compromises people often make when life makes it challenging to make healthy choices. It will run on national TV and across digital channels, and be promoted via email and field marketing as well as public relations.