Skip to main content

Supplier Spotlights: PepsiCo, Skupos & Swisher


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:


National Carwash Solutions (NCS) formed a strategic partnership with Cleaning Systems Inc. (CSI), manufacturer of Lustra Professional Car Care Products.

"We are constantly searching for strong strategic partners willing to join the NCS family," said Michael Gillen, CEO of NCS. "CSI and its family of brands, led by Lustra, is an absolutely perfect fit with our brand portfolio. We're thrilled to partner with such an innovative company that serves many vehicle care channels, including car wash operators."

CSI adds value utilizing a customer-driven approach, providing technology-driven chemistry and application systems solutions to those in need of vehicle cleaning and protection, with the paramount objective being clean, shiny vehicles and satisfied consumers, according to NCS.

"National Carwash Solutions was the clear choice as our strategic partner in terms of continuing our vision of being the industry leader in satisfying customer needs for clean and shiny vehicles," said Dave Krause, CEO of CEI. "Only NCS has the brands, the proactive strategy, and the market leadership that will drive our business to even higher levels. I am thrilled to watch the company I began so many years ago join the NCS family."


AI-powered analytics platform Cuddle, which enables industry leaders to use business insights gleaned from company data to improve overall business performance, joined the Nielsen Connect Partner Network, the largest open ecosystem of tech-driven solution providers for retailers and manufacturers in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

The new relationship activates Nielsen data for customers at an unprecedented level, according to the company.

"We're pleased to have Cuddle join the Nielsen Connect Partner Network, as we continue to grow the network with highly qualified partners to fuel a smarter market for the retail and consumer packaged goods industry," said Brett Jones, global leader, Connect Partner Network, Nielsen. "Cuddle is a prominent player in the business analytics space. Together, we'll use the power of their AI-driven platform along with our data to transform the world of decision making within the markets of retail and CPG."

Cuddle's solution automatically detects patterns in enterprise data and alerts users on what they need to know, before they even ask.


Optimum Nutrition formed an agreement with Speedway LLC for full distribution of Essential Amin.O. Energy Plus Electrolytes Sparkling Hydration DRINK. The lightly carbonated beverage is now available at Speedway locations across the country.

"Optimum Nutrition's portfolio of ready-to-eat and ready-to-drink products make performance nutrition more accessible to all consumers," said Sarah Lombard, director of brand marketing for Optimum Nutrition. "Speedway now offers its customers a range of convenient products that taste great, and satisfy their desire to make good nutritional choices, even while on-the-go."

The energy drink offers a combination of 100 milligrams of caffeine derived from natural sources, such as green tea and green coffee bean extract, and five grams of amino acids and electrolytes to support energy, focus, performance and endurance. Each 12-ounce can has just five calories and zero sugars or artificial colors.

"We are very proud of our growing partnership with Speedway," said Jean Terminiello, North American senior director of immediate consumption For Optimum Nutrition's parent company Glanbia Performance Nutrition. "In just three years, we've set out to capture growth in the on-the-go performance category and have become one of the fastest growing protein snack portfolios at Speedway. We were thrilled when Speedway invited Essential Amin.O. Energy Plus Electrolytes Sparkling Hydration Drink to test in their innovation doors, after months of testing, we were proven and granted space in Speedway's category cold vault doors. We are excited by the positive reception from Speedway customers and look forward to explosive growth in 2021."


PepsiCo set the target of sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity across all of its company owned and controlled operations globally by 2030 and across its entire franchise and third-party operations by 2040. At the company's scale, this has the potential to reduce approximately 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040, the equivalent of taking more than half a million cars off the road for a full year.

"With the devastating effects of climate change being felt around the world, and the global food system under significant strain, accelerated action is needed," said Jim Andrew, chief sustainability officer, PepsiCo. "We know the responsibility that comes with our size and scale, so transitioning PepsiCo's global business operations to 100% renewable electricity is the right step forward to deliver meaningful impact as we continue to advance our sustainability agenda."

PepsiCo currently procures renewable electricity in 18 countries, nine of which already meet 100 percent of their electricity demand from renewable sources. With the shift to renewable electricity in the U.S. underway this year, PepsiCo is currently on track to source 56 percent of its electricity through renewable sources globally by the end of 2020.


Charge Energy named Propel Fuels a top-four global energy brand as part of its World's Best Green Brand Awards. The awards are judged by a panel of global energy experts, with rigorous qualification standards, including direct surveys conducted with brand customers.

Propel Fuels has created a new consumer category in the retail fuel industry, redefining customer loyalty, and disrupting monopolistic fossil fuel brands as it established the leading low carbon brand in the U.S. through consumer innovation in technology and brand, according to Propel.

"Thank you to Charge for the recognition of our efforts to offer a dynamic new brand experience for fuel consumers," said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel. "Consumers have the same expectations for a fuel brand as any other product, we recognize this, and we work hard to meet today's consumers where they are."


Skupos and the makers of 5-hour Energy teamed up to launch the energy shot brand's first consumer promotion on the Skupos Engage platform, which enables brands to run, measure, and test promotions in a base of more than one million consumers across thousands of stores within its network of independent and small format convenience retailers across the country.

"Skupos Engage provides the key for unlocking a hugely underserved portion of our target market," said Steve Ramsey, vice president of sales — convenience for Living Essentials LLC, maker of 5-hour Energy shots. "Through Skupos Engage we can create, execute, and measure the promotions, which gives us complete visibility into each promotion's effectiveness in order to have the most positive impact on key metrics like sales velocity and volume."

Skupos co-founder and CEO Jake Bolling added, "Joining forces with a high-profile and beloved brand like 5-hour Energy shots underscores the challenges even the most successful manufacturers have with sales and marketing outside large format retailers. Skupos Engage is the only platform in the market intended specifically to help independent retailers compete with national chains, and to empower brands of all sizes to measure and optimize promotions at scale in a lucrative market segment that has historically been a black hole of visibility."


StrasGlobal launched national services dedicated to distressed asset protection and asset performance. The company will take over retail management of the property, prepare the store for sale and maximize the value of the site until the asset is transferred. It will also assist in the transfer of operations and ownership to ensure that it goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.

StrasGlobal can also pinpoint short-term turn around missions when a business needs a new retail culture or when employee training has deteriorated, according to the company. It undertakes projects as short as 60 to 90 days, or as long as necessary, to provide the best outcome for the asset owner or manager.

The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge negative impact on businesses across the retail sector. StrasGlobal can provide a professional day-to-day operations program to stabilize the business until its final disposition is determined, the company said.

"We make sure that the asset is protected, the cash gets to the bank, and liabilities are minimized," said President Roy Strasburger. "Our financial transparency gives our clients a clear view as to how the business is performing and allows us to identify and improve deficits in operation that will help maximize sales."

StrasGlobal will also implement best in industry standards of retail health and safety precautions to protect employees and customers during the pandemic and reduce liability exposure.


Stuzo announced that W. Capra Consulting Group, a leading consultancy in consumer engagement, retail technology, payments, loyalty, security, fraud management and strategic implementation, has become a preferred implementation and managed services partner for Stuzo's Open Commerce Transact Mobile Payment Processing Application (MPPA) product.

"W. Capra has established itself as a leader in payments and technology consulting and implementation services in the fuel and convenience retail industry," said Jake Kiser, chief customer officer at Stuzo. "W. Capra, being experts at implementation and operationalization of payments technologies, combined with our software product capabilities and expertise, offers our customers the ability to decrease time to market and costs involved in operationalizing an MPPA at scale as compared with any other option on the market today."

Stuzo and W. Capra have partnered to create a high-value, quick-to-market, supportable and expandable digital offering, the companies said.


Swisher has consolidated its broad smokeless tobacco portfolio under Fat Lip Brands, a new overarching identity for its smokeless division. This represents an ongoing evolution within Swisher to align its businesses and brands to better serve its wholesale and retail customers as well as its adult consumers, according to the company.

Through this alignment, Fat Lip Brands will enhance its focus within the smokeless category and allow for more effective allocation of resources and customer service efforts.


Convenience store foodservice sales and marketing agency Ultimate Sales formed a national alliance with foodservice sales and marketing firm KeyImpact Sales & Systems Inc. to manage sales for KeyImpact's c-store clients.

The combined companies will focus infrastructure on client relationships, U.S. facilities, culinary support and marketing services.

"As an industry and as c-store food people specifically, we need more visibility into the traditional foodservice channel," said Ultimate Sales founder Wes Stone. "Our industry-leading chains have experience and continue to work with these alternative distributors, but there are still 70,000 one-store operators who need support. We can't allow large nationwide chains to determine the needs of these smaller operators; they are not the same. In turn, we can't allow small operators to produce inferior products because it hurts all of us."

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds