We All Adjust to Unprecedented Times

Normally, this time of year, I would be writing about how the convenience store industry is preparing to gather in Las Vegas for the annual NACS Show. I’m as disappointed as most retailer and supplier community members that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of the industry’s premier showcase.

We will miss attending the education sessions, viewing new products, and forging and reinforcing relationships with all of the industry’s most prominent stakeholders. I know it will be impossible to replicate the show’s live, in-person experience, but I’m looking forward to checking out next month’s virtual NACS Show program. I hope it’s a success.

The cancellation has forced every industry player to adjust to an unprecedented situation. For Convenience Store News, no NACS Show this year means we cannot hold two of our signature events in Las Vegas: the Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) Awards Gala and the Technology Leadership Roundtable & Dinner. Both programs are usually held during the show.

We anticipated the possibility of a NACS Show cancellation and developed alternative plans. TWIC will become a terrific Virtual Watch Party on Monday, Oct. 12 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This online event will feature the chief executives of three of the industry’s largest retailers — Joe DePinto of 7-Eleven, Brian Hannasch of Alimentation Couche-Tard/Circle K (ACT), and Darren Rebelez of Casey’s General Stores.

We are thrilled to be recognizing an accomplished group of women, including our five Women of the Year honorees: Anne Flint of EG Group, Ramona Giderof of Anheuser-Busch, Julie Jackowski of Casey’s, Natalie Morhous of RaceTrac Petroleum, and Ina Strand of ACT. While the seventh-annual TWIC awards ceremony will be held virtually, it will still be a dynamic, fun, must-attend industry event.

The 2020 Technology Leadership Roundtable & Dinner will be replaced with a two-part Virtual Technology Leadership Series in which we will once again share best practices and discuss the future technology needs of the industry. The series kicks off Oct. 1 with a fireside chat with Art Sebastian of Casey’s about that company’s digital journey, followed by a retailer panel discussion on contactless payments, online ordering, payment options, curbside pickup and home delivery.

The second session, on Oct. 8, will begin with our presentation of the 2020 Technology Leader of the Year award and a Q&A with this year’s honoree, Gus Olympidis of Family Express. That will be followed by a retailer panel discussion.

CSNews also has launched a new way for retailers to connect with suppliers when they can’t physically meet in person. The CSNews Interactive Product Showcase is a digital re-creation of a convenience store that allows users to visit different categories both at the forecourt and inside the store to gain valuable insights and trend information. The digital store allows retailers to interact with individual exhibitors that are showcasing their products and services.

Please email me at [email protected] if you’d like more information on our TWIC Virtual Watch Party, Technology Leadership Series, or Interactive Product Showcase.

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