Supplier Spotlights: Coca-Cola, Brakebush Bros. & Hostess

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:

Brakebush Brothers

Brakebush purchased Wells Food Processing, previously owned by North Central Equity LLC, effective April 21. The acquisition adds a third processing facility and second fully cooked operation. Brakebush already operates a processing facility and corporate headquarters in Westfield, Wis., and a raw portioning plant in Irving, Texas.

"Adding the Wells facility puts us in a great position to continue to grow our existing customer base and aggressively pursue new business," stated Brakebush Bros. President Scott Sanders.

Since Brakebush acquired its Texas operation three years ago, the company has more than doubled its overall business. Brakebush services a wide array of customers in the fast-casual, college/university, health care, school, convenience store, national chain and retail segments.

The Coca-Cola Co.

The Coca-Cola Co.'s Sprite brand launched #DapTheKing, a social media campaign designed to help fans salute Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James following the team's victory in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Inspired by handshakes shared throughout the season between James and his teammates, Sprite is inviting fans to record videos of themselves performing celebratory LeBron-style handshakes with fellow fans and post them on social media using the hashtag #DapTheKing and tagging @Sprite.

"Sprite began working with LeBron in 2003 before he played his first professional game," said Stuart Kronauge, senior vice president, brand marketing, Coca-Cola North America. "Even as an 18-year-old, we could see how passionate he was about bringing The Land a title. The Coca-Cola Co. has been lucky to follow him on this 13-year journey, so it's an absolute joy to support his fans in celebrating the special moment."

The campaign is being supported by a digital video featuring viral basketball influencer Brandon "BdotAdot5" Armstrong, as well as the release of a limited-edition 16-ounce can that features a yellow-on-green illustration of James. The can will be available at participating retailers in Ohio, while supplies last.

Emerson Climate Technologies Inc.

Leading retailers attended the 2016 E360 Annual Conference, hosted by Emerson Climate Technologies, on May 9-11 at the company's Helix Innovation Center in Dayton, Ohio. The three-day event provided collaborative opportunities for convenience store, supermarket and foodservice professionals to explore innovative solutions to industry issues and share best practices for improving retail facility operations.

Programming included a keynote address from futurist Robert B. Tucker, a leading authority on innovation, and focused discussions on driving organizational growth and collaboration with industry partners. Small group sessions explored topics relevant to both small- and large-format food retailers, such as facility management best practices, big data insights, the "Internet of Things" and changing regulations.

"As retailers face increasing challenges, from constantly changing regulatory requirements to emerging retail formats and pressures related to operating costs and workforce changes, we see incredible value in collaboration and ideation to explore innovative solutions for our industry," said Ed McKiernan, president of Emerson Climate Technologies' Retail Solutions business. "This year's E360 Conference was structured differently with this purpose in mind. We used the collaborative environment of The Helix to engage our customers and business partners in an interactive dialogue about trends and issues impacting our industry."

Heineken USA Inc. 

This summer, Heineken USA's Tecate Light beer brand is partnering with Chivas del Guadalajara, one of the most followed soccer clubs in the Americas, to sponsor four of the club's premiere summer matches in the United States. The matches will take place June 25 in Chicago, July 2 in Denver, and July 10 and 31 in Los Angeles.

As an increasingly popular beverage choice among multicultural and specifically Mexican-American men, Tecate Light is supporting the program with national television and radio advertising, in-store materials and a national consumer sweepstakes that offers the chance to win tickets to Chivas matches and other related Tecate prizes.

"Tecate Light is on fire, growing 46 percent and outperforming the beer category and Mexican import segment," said Juan Carlos Montes, shopper marketing manager, Tecate. "Among light beer offerings, Tecate Light indexes the highest with multicultural consumers, who are 42 percent more likely to participate in and watch soccer vs. other domestic light beer consumers. Our Chivas soccer program brings to life messaging that reflects our fans' bold lifestyle and connects with the traditions that surround their Chivas soccer viewing occasions."

Hostess Brands LLC

Tapping into the rapidly expanding in-store bakery category, Hostess Brands completed the acquisition of in-store bakery company Superior Cake Products Inc. This marks Hostess' first acquisition since the brand returned to the market under new ownership in 2013.

Massachusetts-based Superior Cake Products has operated for more than a century and produces a range of sweet goods including eclairs, madeleines, brownie bites, black and white cookies and other offerings made under the brand name "Superior on Main." The company also makes premium baked goods that retailers sell through in-store bakeries.

"We see significant growth potential in the in-store bakery channel and believe that the Superior on Main products bring the same commitment to high quality and best-in-class baking that Hostess exemplifies," said Hostess Brands CEO Bill Toler. "We welcome with excitement the addition of Superior on Main to the Hostess family." 

Innovative Control Systems

Car wash management and control system technologies provider Innovative Control Systems (ICS) acquired PSD Codax, a global leader in car wash code entry and access control systems.

"This new alignment makes great strategic sense for both companies," said Innovative Control Systems President Kevin Detrick. "The geographic coverage and product lines are complementary. We are confident that the synergies created will offer significant benefits for customers around the world."

PSD Codax designs, manufactures and supports a full range of products for the car wash and forecourt car care equipment industry. Windgap, Pa.-based ICS will continue to operate PSD Codax from its headquarters in Bristol, England, giving the combined customer bases full technological support through a global network of call centers.

"The opportunities for global synergy are immense," said Graham Round, sales director for PSD Codax. "PSD Codax serves thousands of retail car wash and forecourt sites around the world. ICS products complement our own. Coming together with ICS will move Codax into a new phase of business development that offers more marketing functionality, operational control and connectivity for current and future customers."

Mars Chocolate North America 

Mars Chocolate North America kicked off multiple initiatives for the summer, starting with a new ad for Snickers Ice Cream Bars that launched Memorial Day weekend.

Additionally, in honor of M&M'S 75th anniversary, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch's No. 18 Toyota began sporting a new number, No. 75, at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte, N.C., on May 21. The change is part of a season-long celebration for the M&M'S brand and will only be used during non-points races.

"NASCAR fans have been enthusiastic all season about the M&M'S 75th Anniversary, so we're excited to continue the celebration by changing Kyle's race car from the No. 18 to No. 75," said Tanya Berman, director, M&M'S Brand. "It has been an amazing 75 years for the M&M'S brand and this year not only allows us look back at our accomplishments, but forward as well to our exciting future."

Fans are invited to share their favorite M&M'S racing memory on lap 75 of every Sprint Cup Series race using the hashtag #MMS75. Fans who also use #contest in their post will have the chance to win racing gear.


The National Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) is ramping up a campaign on the road to Rio as the world counts down to the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Initiatives that convenience stores and other retailers can tap into include:

  • A robust national marketing campaign that includes advertising, engaging digital content, in-store marketing support, and more.
  • The "Raise a Glass" retail promotion that went live in 16,000 stores nationwide in June. The promotion gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase milk and submit their receipts for a chance to win more than 1,000 prizes, including a U.S. Olympic Training Center experience. 
  • Milk companies across the company are customizing on-pack creative and in-store plans to feature official Olympic and Team USA marks aimed at driving demand, consumption and sales.

National Car Wash Solutions (Ryko) 

Ryko, a provider of friction and touchless in-bay automatic car wash systems, launched a revamped website designed to enhance the customer experience and streamline different processes. The new site offers quick, easy access to information about all of the products and service offerings from Ryko.

"We are excited about the recent launch of the all-new website and the great deal of information that is available for both current and potential customers," said Mike Gillen, CEO of National Carwash Solutions. "The new site allows us to offer access to any information our customers may need, whether it's on their computer, a tablet or a mobile device."

New customers have the ability to research equipment and get access to financing in two clicks, while existing customers can access all the information about car wash products and services in two to three clicks. The new website also offers the ability for customers to quickly contact a Ryko representative if they have any questions.