Supplier Spotlights: Core-Mark, Five Star Breaktime Solutions & Hussmann Corp.

Krispy Krunchy Chicken, National Retail Solutions and Moringa America Inc., among others, also announced new initiatives and partnerships.

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.

[Read more: Supplier Spotlights: Eco-Products, Electric Era Technologies & Fresh Blends]

Here are the latest supplier spotlights:

Core-Mark Expo Logo

Core-Mark International

Performance Food Group subsidiary Core-Mark International is hosting a full slate of customer buying expos this spring with five regional events.

Focusing on foodservice offerings and customer solutions, the expos will offer attendees the opportunity to network with more than 180 vendors, explore new products and innovations for the c-store industry, and take advantage of discounts that could potentially help customers increase their profitability and build customer loyalty.

Core-Mark also added two new events to their 2024 line-up, one in southern California and one in Atlanta.

The expo schedule includes:

  • Core-Mark Expo East at the Huntington Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland (Feb.29)
  • Core-Mark Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. (March 5-6)
  • Core-Mark Expo Southeast at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta (March 20)
  • Core-Mark Expo Midwest at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill. (March 28)
  • Core-Mark Expo Northeast at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Montville, Conn. (April 11)

More information and registration for the events is available here

New Five Star Breaktime Services logo

Five Star Breaktime Solutions

Workplace food and beverage solutions provider Five Star Food Service has rebranded to Five Star Breaktime Solutions. The name change, a first for the company in its 30-year history, is accompanied by a refreshed visual identity, including a new company logo and updated brand colors.

The new brand name represents the company's commitment to delivering a wide range of custom solutions focused on enhancing breaktime experiences and fostering employee well-being.

In recent years, Five Star has grown into a regional operator in the convenience services industry, serving businesses and other organizations with micro markets, vending service, food service, office coffee and other refreshment solutions. The new branding embodies the company's renewed sense of purpose and reflects its mission of reshaping the at-work experience for all, the company said.

The new branding will be rolled out across the company's growing geographic service footprint including employee apparel, digital communications, company vehicles and other branded assets.

Hussmann Corp.

Hussmann Corp., a Panasonic company, added production capacity for transcritical carbon dioxide (CO2) rack systems in its Suwanee, Ga., facility. 

The rapid adoption of CO2 technology by many retailers had placed a strain on the company's current original equipment manufacturer capabilities, necessitating the expansion, according to Hussmann. Along with the anticipated January 2025 implementation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on new store construction and the use of low global warming potential refrigerants, Hussmann is expecting to see the high demand for CO2 products continue to accelerate.

The expansion focused on Hussmann's large outdoor transcritical rack platform, part of its Evolve Technologies portfolio, and is designed to serve large and medium-sized retail floor plans. This unit's footprint is optimized to consider loading limitations in areas where snow is common and flexible enough to accommodate various internal configurations.

According to the company, transcritical CO2 rack systems are ideally suited for new construction projects where there is no existing refrigeration infrastructure. 

Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Krispy Krunchy Chicken grew exponentially in 2023, opening 481 new units over the course of the year. The hot food concept is now available in nearly 3,000 locations.

[Read more: Krispy Krunchy Chicken Maps Out 'Aggressive Growth']

"Our growth this past year focused on three key components to success: optimizing our menu and procedures for ease of operation, building brand awareness, and, of course, continuing to serve delicious fried chicken and sides," said Jim Norberg, president of Krispy Krunchy Chicken. "From investing in insights work, to enhancing our training and operations support, to bringing in top talent to lead our marketing efforts, to rolling out a new menu and overhauling our brand look — the future is bright for our great brand."

The brand also implemented operational improvements, including an expansion of its field support team and adding to the headcount across all departments with talent from the restaurant, quick-service restaurant, convenience store and foodservice spaces. The company plans to continue to hire throughout 2024 in order to support the on-going growth.

Krispy Krunchy Chicken additionally opened a new corporate office in Atlanta at 1000 Marietta Street Northwest. The new location will house team members from across the organization in information technology, human resources, finance, marketing, sales and operations.

NRS and Source One Digital Signage in Store

National Retail Solutions

National Retail Solutions (NRS) and digital printing company Source One Digital entered into collaboration to enhance the in-store experience for retailers nationwide.

Retailers using NRS's point-of-sale (POS) systems can now opt for grand format, vibrant graphics from Source One Digital, that could potentially create an enhanced in-store atmosphere that drives traffic and bolsters brand awareness. It could additionally give independent store owners a unique advantage by utilizing the technological infrastructure of NRS in combination with Source One visual elements, the organization stated.

"Teaming up with Source One Digital enables us to offer our retailers a comprehensive solution that merges cutting-edge POS technology with captivating store aesthetics. Since our inception, NRS has been deeply committed to empowering independent retailers and store owners nationwide, and this collaboration further underscores that mission," said Elie Y. Katz, NRS CEO.

Mars Healthy Planet ad still

Mars Inc.

Mars Inc. launched a new digital marketing campaign that "reuses" fan-favorite advertisements, giving them a second life with new messages of hope and progress around climate.  

The campaign, titled "Healthy Planet Productions," follows the recent publication of Mars Net Zero Roadmap, which aims to accelerate action towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, including a new Science Based Targets-approved (SBTi) target to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 across the company's full value chain. 

Advertisements in the "reused" advertisement campaign will run in the United States, United Kingdom and Mexico across Meta platforms and YouTube, and will include out-of-home activations in select markets. In the U.S., the campaign will highlight advertisements for M&M'S, TWIX and Ben's Original.  

[Read more: Mars Debuts Global Research & Development Hub]

The Mars "reused" advertisements campaign reduced production emissions by removing the need for travel, filming and set production through the repurposed content. Additionally, it minimized remaining emissions by prioritizing carbon avoidance as a key consideration in decision-making and creative development, including forgoing emission-intensive animation techniques for more sustainable methods, the company noted.

Additionally, the M&M'S brand entered into a partnership with Rock The Bells, a global platform focused on covering hip-hop culture from its roots to the modern day. The collaboration introduced Rock The Bells' Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) School of Music Campaign to celebrate and honor the impact of HBCU culture on the development of the music genre.  

M&M'S will support a number of initiatives from Rock The Bells in celebration of hip-hop's 50th anniversary, including the "Artist on the Rise" series, which has elevated the work of artists like Jai'len Josey, and helping to select HBCU students that produced a performance from Grammy-nominated at The National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tenn. 

Hi-Chew logo

Morinaga America Inc.

Moringa America Inc.'s Hi-Chew brand selected global brand licensing agency Beanstalk to extend its presence into the food and beverage and lifestyle categories. 

Building off the company's marketing partnerships with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, along with previous brand collaborations, the Hi-Chew licensing program will expand the candy's signature flavors and vibrant colors into a variety of categories including fashion and lifestyle, health and beauty, gift and novelty and social expression.

"Beanstalk is thrilled to be partnering with beloved confectionary brand Hi-Chew. With a digitally engaged audience that embraces the brand's all-natural ingredients, bright color palette and Japanese heritage, Hi-Chew is establishing a unique position in culture," said Allison Ames, president and CEO of Beanstalk. "This will naturally translate to vibrant and exciting partnerships. We look forward to bringing Hi-Chew's brand to life through joyful products that consumers will celebrate in a multitude of ways."

OWL Services logo

OWL Services

Retail fueling service partner OWL Services acquired Dark Horse Enterprises Inc., a Mid-Atlantic fueling construction, service and compliance company.

Established in 2014, Dark Horse specializes in the construction and service of fuel systems, including above and below ground storage tank installations. 

The acquisition will potentially strengthen OWL's geographic coverage in the Mid-Atlantic states and expand its fueling construction resources in the U.S. market.

"As we expand our footprint via organic growth and acquisition to strengthen our position as the first truly national construction and service provider in everything fueling, it's important we close our geographic gaps," said Greg Ergenbright, OWL CEO. "Dark Horse's location in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic and strong construction and fuel tank maintenance reputation made it a natural fit as part of our portfolio. We are excited to welcome Dark Horse's passionate, hard-working employees to our growing team."

SurgePays Inc.

SurgePays closed on an asset purchase agreement to acquire the software development and point-of-service (POS) equipment and operations of DNR Business Solutions Inc. dba ClearLine Mobile.

ClearLine produces a touchscreen display, positioned by the cash register, that can be integrated into the SurgePays software platform and markets SurgePays products 24/7 from a central server. SurgePays can advertise its entire suite of products and services while utilizing the POS device for transactions.

"Increasing sales within stores is a major initiative for SurgePays. The touchscreen display provides an ideal solution to drive new wireless subscribers and promote our ancillary products," said Biran Cox, SurgePays CEO. "From a growth perspective, we consider this such a gamechanger. We don't have to battle other product vendors for advertising materials space and necessitate a salesperson constantly visiting the store to hang posters or other promo materials. Our products and services will be marketed front and center right at the register."

Vivid Impact Logo

Vivid Impact Co.

Vivid Impact Co. completed its acquisition of Impressions Inc., a strategic move aimed at bolstering the former's manufacturing capacity and bolstering its geographical expansion. Coinciding with the announced purchase, the company unveiled its newest location in the Phoenix area, along with a new sales office in the Dallas area. 

Vivid Impact will additionally be expanding its artificial intelligence, technology and data-science services with the launch of its machine learning platform, PrecisionPOP iQ.

"We are thrilled to announce the successful completion of the acquisition, the opening of new locations, and the expansion of our technology services," said Sam Campitella, President of Vivid Impact. "These strategic initiatives underscore our dedication to growth, innovation, and, most importantly, our commitment to providing exceptional value to our clients."

[Read more: Bobby Taylor Oil Co. Sells Fuel Assets]

New Vollrath Logo

The Vollrath Co.

The Vollrath Co. launched a comprehensive brand refresh as part of its 150th anniversary celebration in 2024. The visual update included a new logo, revamped mission, vision and purpose, as well as an updated tagline.

"Our 150th anniversary represents a unique milestone in our rich history," said Erik Lampe, Vollrath president and CEO. "We've evolved and grown over the years, and our brand refresh reflects our commitment to the future while honoring our past and our heritage."

From its beginnings in 1874 as the Sheboygan Cast Steel Co. to becoming The Vollrath Co. in 1908 and on through today, the company's logo and brand identity has always intended to reflect its dedication to quality and sustainability. According to Vollrath, its brand is meant to reflect a commitment to empowering its stakeholders to create better workplaces, communities and lives. This purpose is reflected in the brand's new tagline: "Creating Better."

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