Supplier Spotlights: Growth Energy, Heineken USA & Oberto Brands
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.
ADD Systems Inc. placed at No. 27 on the 2018 Best Places to Work in New Jersey list among medium-sized companies, or those with 50-249 employees. The awards program recognizes and honors the state's top employers who show a dedication to their employees' professional growth and quality of life.
"ADD Systems, at its core, is a family business with family values. ADD is successful because of our attention to relationships, and one of the most important relationships we have is with our employees. We are honored, not only by this award, but by the commitment from our employee family every day," said Gale Bott, secretary and treasurer of ADD Systems.
Rob Culbertson, senior vice president and chief operating officer, added: "In my 40 years at ADD Systems, we've worked very hard to create a work environment where everyone feels valued, and part of a family. Our dedication to our employees is reflected in our employees' dedication to providing the best products and service to our clients."
Ascentium Capital announced it experienced strong first quarter with $278 million representing 24 percent year over year growth, the highest origination quarter in the company's history. It was also named the largest private independent finance company in annual funded new business volume by the Monitor for the second consecutive year.
"I am extremely pleased with first quarter results and the contributions that our employees make to build the Ascentium brand and create a national demand for our financing programs. These on-going efforts enable us to capture market share," said Ascentium CEO Tom Depping.
The company had a record-breaking quarter for credit application submissions, representing $730 million for the quarter with $295 million submitted during March.
"We continue to see remarkable success due to our proven value in the industries we serve," said Richard Baccaro, chief sales and marketing officer at Ascentium Capital. "Our collective goal as an organization is to support and drive the success of our valued partners and customers. We anticipate another strong year in growth and expansion in 2018."
The Atlanta Business Chronicle named GreenPrint a 2018 Pacesetter and awarded it the No. 40 spot on its exclusive list of Atlanta's fastest-growing companies.
The annual list represents the most comprehensive look at private business growth within the Atlanta metro area. To qualify, a company must be based in the 20-county metro area and not be a subsidiary of another company. Additionally, it must have been established in the first quarter of 2015 or earlier, experienced a two-year growth in sales of more than 50 percent and garnered revenue between $1 million and $300 million in 2017.
"As a team, we're extremely proud to be recognized amongst the top growing companies in our home base, Atlanta," said Pete Davis, founder and CEO of GreenPrint. "Our programs and products are designed to drive sales, loyalty, and more, while also doing good for our communities and environment. Being recognized as a Pacesetter in that context is what motivates our team to continue to do good."
Growth Energy launched a new partnership initiative between its American Ethanol program and Universal Technical Institute (UTI), a provider of technical training for automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians.
As part of the agreement, Growth Energy will support the student resource center at UTI's NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C.
"We are thrilled to join Universal Technical Institute's Business Alliance," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. "We know that most Americans look to technicians at their local auto shops and dealerships for advice on how to maintain their vehicles, so working with Universal Technical Institute, the nation's leader in training highly skilled automotive technicians, will ensure the experts advising consumers have all the facts on American ethanol performance.
As part of the effort to show consumers the myriad benefits of high-octane biofuels like ethanol, Growth Energy strives to work with automotive thought leaders in the technical space to validate the engine performance capabilities of ethanol so that information is passed on to consumers, the company said.
"Growth Energy will be a great addition to the list of partners who support us in educating students on the industry's most current information and technologies," said John Dodson, UTI vice president of business alliances and NASCAR. "Today's cars are sophisticated, high-tech machines and, as vehicle technology continues to evolve, renewable biofuels like ethanol will play an even more important role. Growth Energy has a deep commitment to supporting automotive education and giving back to this industry through its American Ethanol program, and we are pleased and proud to welcome them to the UTI family."
Heineken signed a marketing alliance with Live Nation that gives its key Mexican import Dos Equis exclusive naming rights to the Starplex Pavilion, a 20,000-seat venue located in historic Fair Park in Dallas. The largest amphitheater in the Dallas/Fort Worth area will be renamed Dos Equis Pavilion in this multi-year agreement.
Under the terms of the deal, Dos Equis will be the exclusive naming rights partner of the facility and be integrated into the official logo of the Pavilion. Prominent signage throughout the venue, including on the facade, box office and LED displays, will drive brand awareness.
"We are honored to be aligning with such a respected partner as Live Nation. And the fact that the newly named Dos Equis Pavilion is located in the heart of a key Dos Equis market makes this partnership uniquely relevant to our core consumers," said Elizabeth Cannon, regional marketing manager at Heineken USA.
Opened in 1886, Fair Park covers 277 acres east of Dallas. Its cultural, educational, sports and music facilities play host to more than seven million visitors each year. Dos Equis Pavilion will play host to top music talent throughout 2018.
The Hershey Co.
Hershey celebrated the launch of Reese's Outrageous Bars by surprising the brand's biggest fans with outrageous experiences. Initiatives included creating a Reese's oasis in one fan's backyard, filling an entire pool with Reese's products; dropping a Reese's refrigerator that dispenses free bars in the center of town; and delivering an outrageous Reese's Egg wedding cake.
"The Reese's brand has the most passionate and outgoing fans in the world," said Eric Bowers, Reese's brand manager. "To celebrate the launch of Reese's Outrageous, there is no better way than taking inspiration from our fans. We're taking our fans' passion to the next level, not only with this outrageous new product, but by re-creating their Reese's fandom in epic ways."
On May 18, the brand invited fans to share their own acts of outrageous Reese's fandom for the chance to win free products and a cash prizes. The first 100 qualified entries received a box of new Reese's Outrageous bars.
Inline Plastics celebrated 50 years in business on April 17, commemmmorating its golden anniversary with a celebration at its corporate headquarters on Canal Street in Shelton, Conn.
The event kicked off at 11 a.m. with president and owner Tom Orkisz welcoming the staff of the Shelton facility and the company's Board of Directors. Other speakers were Shelton Mayor Mark A. Lauretti; Bill Purcell, president of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce; and Kevin Kelly, State Senator. Special guests included Paul Grimmer, president of the Shelton Economic Development Corporation and John Anglace, president of the Shelton Board of Alderman.
Orkisz was joined by the mayor, distinguished guests, the board of directors and the senior leadership team at the front entrance of the headquarters building to unveil a celebratory 50th Anniversary banner next to the newly installed corporate sign.
"Not only are we one of the few privately held companies in our industry, our entire fifty-year history has been under Orkisz family ownership," Orkisz said. "The stability of our senior leadership team, our deep and long-lasting relationships with customers, and our reliability and innovation coupled with a commitment to quality and product leadership are the cornerstones of our longevity and our future success."
Oberto Beef Jerky is teaming with Seattle Seahawks three-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner as the new face of the brand. A multi-faceted campaign will continue to build upon Oberto's unique positioning in the jerky space — connecting the brand with an active lifestyle and the benefits of its high protein, all-natural products.
The addition of Wagner as a key Oberto brand ambassador comes as the superstar assumes a more prominent role as the face of the Seahawk's defense. Off the field, Wagner will play a fundamental role in helping magnify Oberto's brand mantra, "You Get Out What You Put In," a rallying cry to consumers to put great fuel into their body to help get the best out of their performance. Wagner will star in Oberto's new television campaign as the latest sports superstar to communicate with "The Little Voice Inside My Stomach," and will be featured in digital and social content programming, point-of-sale materials, print and radio advertisements.
"Bobby's drive and dedication both on and off the field have pushed him to become one of the best players in the NFL. We couldn't be more excited to have Bobby as the new face of Oberto," said Tom Hernquist, president and CEO of Oberto Brands. "Wagner will help to deliver our brand message and further educate consumers on the benefits of lean protein and an active lifestyle."
SAP awarded Petrosoft the Top Innovation Partner Award at the 2018 SAP SMB Innovation Summit. The SAP Innovation Award celebrates the achievements of top SAP partners across the globe that are using SAP platform technologies to transform their business, drive innovation for customers and win in the digital economy.
Innovation leverages Petrosoft's IoT Site Integration Network, SAP HANA and Petrosoft Enterprise powered by SAP Business One to automate processes related to equipment monitoring and field service management. It addresses the way retailers manage repairs and maintenance of the assets and systems that affect their daily operations.
"Petrosoft is honored to win SAP's Top Innovation Partner award. It helps to highlight how technology can improve a retailer's operations by leveraging Petrosoft's market-leading application suite and SAP's market-leading ERP platform, along with our retail and downstream petroleum industry experience. It has brought about innovation that improves how retailers manage their assets and systems," said Sergei Gorloff, founder and CEO of Petrosoft.
The award was presented during the SAP SMB Innovation Summit 2018 which took place in Orlando, Fla., on April 18-20.
Poland Spring launched a new TV spot, "Just What's Refreshingly Real," which takes place in nature and focuses on the brand's water source.
"Poland Spring has been around since 1845 and the brand has such a strong connection with our fans that we felt the best way to introduce our sparkling water was to embrace our heritage and values," said Rosa Veliz, brand manager for Regional Spring Water Brands. "Product source is as important to our consumers as it is to us. There are a lot of new sparkling water brands out there creating a lot of hype, but we believe in real, simple ingredients, like 100% natural spring water — not image or gimmicks."
Other TV spots and digital content will launch for other Regional Sparkling Spring Water brands, including Deer Park in the mid-Atlantic and South, Zephyrhills in Florida, Ozarka in the Southwest, Ice Mountain in the Midwest and Arrowhead in California.
Saverino and Associates
Saverino is partnering with Spirit Specialty Solutions to provide the best in class c-store merchandising, point of sale and signage to distributors and retailers throughout their coverage area.
The combination brings together expertise in custom foodservice and c-store materials through Spirit Specialty Solutions and Saverino's knowledge of Foodservice, store branding and driving traffic through stores, according to the companies.
"We understand the importance of foodservice, beverage and branding within the c-store channel and that many accounts are still behind in terms of providing a destination experience. We now have the ability to connect our customers with a custom merchandising option that provides their consumers regardless of size more options to immerse their stores into this segment while supporting our brands through higher turns," said Frank Saverino Jr., president of Saverino.
The provider of personalized and predictive commerce solutions for retailers announced it has completed PCI DSS Level 1 compliance certification.
"As a leading provider digital commerce solutions for retailers, it is imperative our company, our Open Commerce products, network, infrastructure, and processes meet the most rigorous security standards," said Aaron chief operating officer of Stuzo. "As security is an evergreen concern within merchants and their technology partner ecosystem, it was of the utmost importance for us to make this investment in Stuzo and our retail clients."
The quickly evolving technology landscape, growing concern over international data security threats, and the continuing digitization of payments make compliance a key issue for all merchants, consumers and digital commerce technology suppliers, according to Stuzo.
"With security breaches and cybercrimes considered commonplace, cybersecurity and adhering to PCI Data Security Standards are critical to keeping consumers' personally identifiable information safe and secure," stated John Shin, managing director of RSI Security, who performed the assessment. "By achieving PCI DSS certification, Stuzo assures its retail clients that their data and that of their consumers is being handled with a high degree of security compliance."
The provider of environmental compliance testing and inspection services launched a revamped website in April. The new site offers quick and easy access to essential information and features that offer a more comprehensive understanding of the Tanknology's innovative testing and compliance offerings. It also has a comprehensive international section with updated news and events, service and compliance information.
"We are excited about our new website launch and the robust information it provides for customers, partners and media to better understand Tanknology's industry-best testing and compliance services," said Allen Porter, president and CEO of Tanknology. "We believe that the rebuilt and reorganized site will allow our visitors to have a very informative experience as we continue to grow."
The website launch coincides with the celebration of Tanknology's 30th anniversary and is branded with the company's new 30-year logo. Founded in 1988, Tanknology created in response to 40 CFR 280, a government regulation that established the first federal minimum standards governing underground storage tanks and piping. Since then, Tanknology has grown to become the world's largest petroleum tank testing company, operating in all 50 states.
Traulsen Refrigeration & Hobart Corp.
For the third year in a row, Traulsen is giving schools across the United States the chance to "roll the dice" in a series of kitchen equipment giveaways as part of its "Save Your Kitchen" giveaway. This year, schools can win one of four pieces of equipment from its school lunch line.
Additionally, for the first time, Hobart is joining in to offer chances to win one of three pieces of food preparation equipment as well as the chance to win a door-style fishwasher.
Traulsen's "Save Your Kitchen" campaign stars Traulsen mascot "Martin the Carton," and includes a total of four K-12 giveaway events with eight jackpot drawings, each celebrating a different key School Nutrition Association event.
"Everyone at Traulsen is excited that we could expand the Save Your Kitchen contest this year with the addition of food prep and dishwashing equipment from Hobart," said Hailey Elting, sales development manager at Traulsen. "As a proud supporter of school kitchens, we hope as many schools as possible will take the opportunity to enter each drawing.
Tyson Foods has committed to support improved environmental practices on two million acres of corn by the end of 2020. It is the largest-ever land stewardship commitment by a U.S. protein company and supports the company's recently announced goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30 percent by 2030.
The two million acre commitment was announced April 3 as part of the release of Tyson Foods' newest sustainability report. It will encourage grain farmers to adopt more efficient fertilizer practices, and take additional measures to reduce water runoff and soil loss.
"Each day our team members are defining what it means to achieve our aspiration of sustainably feeding the world. This is a big step that is part of our ongoing and deepening commitment to environmental stewardship," said Justin Whitmore, executive vice president corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. "We've made significant progress toward previously announced goals related to workplace safety and fully expect similar momentum with today's land stewardship target."
Tyson Foods does not own grain farms but buys corn and soybeans to feed its poultry. It also buys cattle and hogs from farmers and ranchers who use grain to feed their animals. The initiative is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by the company's supply chain.
To reach the target, Tyson Foods expects to work with at least one third-party organization on a program to encourage corn farmers to adopt practices that reduce fertilizer use and soil loss. Company officials also plan to collaborate with various environmental groups, such as the Nature Conservancy, as well as academic experts.
"The world needs a more sustainable food system, and we believe it's up to big companies like ours to set the pace with bold goals that help protect the planet while also enabling us to feed a growing world," said Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. "We look forward to collaborating with grain farmers, environmental groups and others as we implement this new initiative."
Utz Quality Foods
Major League Baseball (MLB) and Utz Quality Foods are launching a new multi-faceted sponsorship agreement that extends across television, digital media and retail locations and makes Utz the Official Salty Snack of MLB.
Starting this season, Utz will promote its full assortment of snack products with integrated branding across MLB's broadcast and digital platforms such as MLB Network and MLB.com. In addition, as part of its first professional sports league partnership, Utz will begin selling products that feature MLB branding at retail locations across the U.S.
"As a nearly 100-year-old, family owned company, Utz is proud to be affiliated with an institution as great as MLB. We both place a great deal of emphasis on quality, family, excellence and tradition, and look forward to finding ways to bring Utz fans and MLB fans closer together," said Tom Flocco, president and chief operating officer of Utz.
As part of the new partnership, Utz will create new, baseball-themed packaging for a variety of its products that will include the silhouetted batter and other official MLB marks for the first time. The multi-year partnership supplies Utz with marketing and activation rights across MLB special events including All-Star Week attractions such as The Color Run All-Star 5K and GEICO All-Star FanFest, the Postseason and the World Series presented by YouTube TV. During these key times on the MLB schedule, fans can expect to see Utz retail promotions and sweepstake opportunities in their local stores.
Chicago's legendary manufacturer of beef hot dogs, sausages and other premium food products announced a series of special events in honor of the company's 125th anniversary, which will culminate in a celebration at the company's Damen Avenue headquarters on Chicago's North Side on August 1.
The anniversary events will emphasize the company's deep roots in the Chicago community. Highlights of the summer-long celebration will include:
- The grand opening of the Vienna Beef History Museum on May 30 at the company's headquarters. The Museum will be open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and offer visitors a chance to experience the evolution of the classic Chicago Style hot dog.
- Opportunities for customers to celebrate with their favorite hot dog stand and share "Vienna Beef Memories" and photos through social media using the hashtag #125YearsOfVB, with the chance to participate in the company's commemorative anniversary poster.
- A 125th Anniversary Celebration event on August 1 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., honoring all 125 inductees in the company's "Hot Dog Hall of Fame", along with tours of the Vienna Beef History Museum, free hot dogs, music and more.
- The Official Hot Dog of the Chicago History Museum's 2018 Chicago Hot Dog Fest, held August 10-12.
- The launch of a new company website highlighting the anniversary and its theme line, "Celebrating 125 Years. Chicago Style!"
"We're honored to bring our community together to celebrate 125 years of Chicago's hot dog," said Jim Bodman, Vienna Beef chairman and CEO. "This is a great opportunity to salute the hot dog stands and local businesses who have made Chicago Style hot dogs part of our collective memories, as well as show our appreciation to our customers and employees for their loyal support."