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09/02/2022

Supplier Spotlights: Hi-Chew, NRS, PDI Technologies, Rich Products & Upshop

Hilco, CandyRific, ParTech, TruAge, Volta Media and Wonderful Pistachios also make news this summer.
Sanestina Hunter
Associate Editor
Sanestina Hunter profile picture

CHICAGO — 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:

Hi-Chew

Hi-Chew signed a three-year partnership deal with Duke University Athletics, becoming the first "Official Fruit Chew of Duke Athletics." 

Through the partnership, Hi-CHEW will host on-site activations and product sampling for all Blue Devil fans during select home games.

"We are thrilled to partner with Duke Athletics and bring Hi-Chew's fun brand experience to the Blue Devil fans," said Noriyuki Nishikawa, CEO of Morinaga America Foods Inc. "Hi-Chew's first American production facility was opened in Mebane, N.C., in 2015, so this partnership also serves as a further extension of our commitment to continue to engage the local community."

The partnership with Duke Athletics will enable Hi-Chew to support the local community and reach brand fans in the North Carolina market.

Hilco & CandyRific 

Hilco and CandyRific were named candy sponsors for this year's 24th annual Kool-Aid Days Festival in Hastings, Neb. The festival took place Aug.19-21. 

Both companies signed licensing agreements with Kraft Heinz for Kool-Aid brand candy. Hilco is Kool-Aid brand's first entry into the novelty candy market, and the license continues to grow with the 90-year-old brand.

For this year's Kool-Aid Days Festival, Hilco donated case loads of Kool-Aid brand Fruity Chews and CandyRific donated its new Kool-Aid brand Character Cases. 

"Hastings, Neb., is the birthplace of the Kool-Aid brand, and to have the popular Kool-Aid brand candy at our event for the second year in a row is sure to be a big hit again," said Michaela Borrell, festival chairperson. "We're so grateful to Hilco for its generous donation, and we're thankful and excited that CandyRific has also become a sponsor with its donation this year." 

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NRS logo

National Retail Solutions

In response to the rise in convenience store-related crimes throughout the country, the National Retail Solutions (NRS) intensified its position on the need for better worker safety and security measures with the debut of the patented NRS POS Panic Alarm Button for all New York and Jersey retailers, including independent grocery stores, convenience stores and bodegas.

The pilot program will begin in New York and New Jersey, and will expand throughout the United States in later 2022 and 2023.

The button, which is secretly and located among the feature buttons on the point-of-sale (POS) merchant's touchscreen, allows workers to hold the button for a designated number of seconds, opening the register and triggering a silent alarm that alerts the police.

NRS is a provider of POS systems custom-built for independent retailers across the U.S. The NRS POS network spans more than 18,000 stores nationwide.

ParTech Inc.

ParTech Inc. (PAR) acquired MENU Technologies AG (MENU), an omnichannel ordering solution for international restaurant brands.

The acquisition  adds an online ordering component to PAR's suite of unified commerce solutions that maximize business performance for  customers, better positioning the organization as one of the first unified commerce solutions for enterprise restaurants, according to the company. 

"Today, restaurants are overwhelmed with disparate technologies that are devoid of the connectivity or intelligence that a unified solution offers," said PAR President and CEO Savneet Singh. "The acquisition of MENU allows PAR to consolidate a restaurant's off-premise and on-premise orders into one unified tech stack.

"Restaurants will now have a unified, data-driven network from the point of order to the kitchen, and all the way through fulfillment, allowing their teams to focus on delivering a better guest experience, instead of wasting time on vendor management," added Singh.

Additionally, MENU's online ordering capabilities enhance PAR's integrated suite of SaaS solutions that includes Brink POS for front-of-house, Data Central for backoffice, PAR Pay and PAR Payment Services for payments, and Punchh for customer loyalty and engagement.

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PDI Technologies new logo

PDI Technologies

PDI, a global leader delivering solutions and insights that serve as the backbone of the convenience retail and petroleum wholesale ecosystem, is rebranding to PDI Technologies. The update includes a new logo and website that reflect the organization's ongoing commitments and investments in support of industry transformation.

The company was founded almost 40 years ago and was previously known as Professional Datasolutions Inc. It has grown from 1,200 associates in early 2020 to nearly 2,000 associates in August 2022. This growth stems from the company expanding its global footprint, accelerating product investments, and acquiring new solutions including adding significant enterprise offerings in payments, promotion and offer engagement; security; point of sale (available outside the United States); sustainability; advanced insights, according to the company.

PDI also owns and operates the Fuel Rewards program and GasBuddy.

"In recent years, we've made significant investments in growing our organization through innovation, client collaboration, and strategic mergers and acquisitions," said CEO Jimmy Frangis. "The new PDI Technologies name and brand continue our legacy of decades of trusted experience, with an eye toward a broader range of solutions designed to support customers as they grow their businesses."

Today, PDI supports customers in more than 50 countries and provides solutions and services to more than 200,000 convenience and petroleum wholesale sites.

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Rich's Products logo

Rich Products 

Rich Products relaunched its website with timely insights, proven tips, and storewide solutions that operators need to stay ahead of trends and demands, including Rich's Convenience Store Foodservice Study.

Updates to the website contain solutions for all four corners of a c-store, including sections such as hot case, bakery, beverage, and grab-and-go. Each section is filled with new product innovations, turnkey programs, recipes, trends and insights.

According to the company, the reports provide convenience store operators with solutions in a post-pandemic world. 

"C-stores today face ever-evolving challenges," said Alyssa Barrett, customer marketing manager, convenience, Rich Products. "Consumers expect quality, customizability, and variety throughout the day all with speed and affordability. The enhanced richsconvenience.com is a powerful tool that can help c-stores drive foot traffic and sales." 

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TruAge Logo

TruAge

CDE Services Inc., a payment solutions provider of processing, point-of-sale (POS) payment equipment and support services, will market and deploy TruAge to convenience stores nationwide, including to its existing network of 27,000 retailers serviced by goEBT.

"The convenience retailing industry conducts 165 million transactions a day and 50 million of them involve an age-restricted product. It is exciting to announce that TruAge will be implemented in thousands of stores that conduct age-restricted transactions," said TruAge CEO Kyle McKeen.

TruAge is an age-verification system that makes it easier to verify an adult customer's age when purchasing age-restricted products. One-time-use digital tokens are used to share only the most important elements to confirm that the purchaser is of legal age, which also protects the user's privacy.

"CDE will provide a streamlined, simple and reliable rollout of the TruAge age-verification solution to merchants of any size, with a focus on the 27,000 small businesses and retail chains that we service nationwide," said Joe Cohane, CEO of CDE. "About 60 percent of the convenience stores operating in the U.S. are single-store operators. With CDE's implementation of TruAge, these retailers will be able to benefit from the protection and effectiveness of the solution, by having the flexibility to implement the age-verification platform in a full range of POS environments."

Developed by NACS and Conexxus, TruAge makes the traditional carding experience more reliable and accurate. The age-verification program is free to retailers, consumers and POS providers to ensure access and to help facilitate broad adoption of the program.

Upshop

Applied Data Corp. (ADC), a global pioneer of total store operations, rebranded as Upshop.

"Upshop is our company’s vision for a connected store," said Shamus Hines, CEO of Upshop. "Point solutions have flooded the industry —and shoppers have high expectations of retail, they want to see experience. There's no way to have the best shopping experience when the retailer is using upwards of 40 point solutions on average. A total store platform that syncs up end-to-end not only streamlines operations for the retailer, but makes the experience simpler, smarter, and more connected for employees and shoppers. There's no more critical time than now for retailers to double- down on tech that benefits the total store."

Upshop has experienced significant growth, implementing solutions to synch up the entire fresh perimeter. Leading convenience and grocery retailers are rapidly innovating systems and revolutionizing supply chain, and demand technology that can forecast and order fresh products accurately, every time, while decreasing associate time spent on kitchen math, food operations and order management, according to the company.

For more than 30 years, ADC has been a pioneer in fresh operations in more than  20,000 grocery and convenience stores. In 2019, the company re-architected from on-premise to cloud-based SaaS as a first step in driving associate usability and adoption. This past year has seen e-commerce fulfillment orchestration and expiration date management capability integrations to pioneer a singular platform for total store operations.

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Volta Media logo

Volta Media 

Volta Media, an electric vehicle (EV) charging and media company,  exceeded 1 billion monthly impressions in the United States. This milestone comes less than nine months after Volta formally launched its media network with 618 million monthly impressions. 

According to Volta, its ability to nearly double its reach represents the company's commitment to expanding its dual EV charging and media network for the benefit of drivers, advertisers, commercial properties, shareholders, and ultimately the planet as it supports mainstream adoption of clean, carbon-free transportation.

Every campaign featured across Volta's network of more than 4,600 large-format digital screens directly supports charging sessions providing electric miles to drivers. To date, Volta has provided more than 124 million electric miles and avoided more than 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions that would have otherwise been created by gas-powered vehicles, the company said.

Volta offers advertisers a suite of measurement capabilities enabled by collaborations with measurement companies. These relationships allow Volta to report on the same full-funnel impact marketers have come to expect from the most notable digital advertising platforms. This includes performance metrics like sales lift and incremental return on ad spend (ROAS).

Wonderful Pistachios

Wonderful Pistachios received two awards for two products, BBQ and Chili Roasted Both No Shells flavors, from the Good Housekeeping 2022 Healthy Snack Awards.

The company was selected for its high protein snack nuts, containing six grams of protein per serving.

The Good Housekeeping 2022 Healthy Snack Awards highlight innovative snacks in the food space that meet the publication's nutritional criteria (including caps on per-serving calories, sugar, and sodium). Good Housekeeping's in-house registered dietitian and team of nutrition experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute's Nutrition Lab analyzed ingredient lists, Nutrition Facts labels, packaging claims, and flavor profiles of hundreds of snacks to find the best of the best. Consumer testers also weighed in on taste and provided additional real-life analysis.

About the Author

Sanestina Hunter
Sanestina Hunter is Associate Editor of Convenience Store News. Read More