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Technology Is Just One Challenge for Small Operators

Lisa Dell'Alba of Square One Markets talked about the pain points during a recent Conexxus fireside chat.
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As all small operators in the convenience store industry know, they wear many hats. One day, they are a human resources executive. The next day, the foodservice manager. Another day, they find themselves having to sweep up after the morning rush. More times than not, they are all three on any given Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... Well, you get the picture. 

This is something Lisa Dell'Alba, president and CEO of Bethlehem, Pa.-based Square One Markets Inc., knows all too well. After two decades in the industry, she has rolled up her sleeves plenty of times — and still does — as the go-to shift fill-in when an employee calls out. That, some may say, comes with the territory of running a small business.

But with the complexities of retail technology, should she also take on the role of IT director? In a recent virtual fireside chat with Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus, Dell'Alba pointed to the tech challenges associated with outdoor EMV upgrades and the addition of mobile pay.

While she has done the leg work herself when it comes to some technology solutions, Square One Markets now outsources its IT work. But finding an outside company that understands the needs of a convenience store can be its own challenge. Still, as Dell'Alba noted, she "is no longer comfortable unplugging things and plugging them back in and solving all of my own problems."

Without a doubt, other small operators feel her pain.

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