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Welcome to the World of Convenience

Why tour the world when all you have to do is visit Las Vegas, and you can see the pyramids of Egypt with air conditioning, New York without getting mugged and Paris with no French people?

I know, that’s an old Vegas lounge joke. But by attending this year’s NACS Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, you will get the chance to see the entire world of convenience and fuel retailing in one place.

The 45th annual NACS Show features an expo floor of more than 400,000 square feet with the latest new product innovations; education sessions on a wide range of merchandising, marketing, technology and operational topics; and informative and entertaining general sessions by global digital marketing expert Bonin Bough, social media analyst Scott Stratten and popular TV host Mike Rowe from the hit series "Dirty Jobs."

With so much to potentially see and do, I asked the experts — the members of the Convenience Store News Editorial Advisory Board — what their top priorities are to accomplish at this year’s show. Here’s what they said:

  • "Loyalty — that’s No. 1 on our list. Looking at loyalty programs."
  • "EMV at the pump. New coffee programs. And doughnuts. There’s so much more we can do with doughnuts."
  • "I’ll be looking at gas pump upgrades, with chip readers. That’s my top priority."
  • "I want to keep on top of what’s going on with vaping, and check out the latest in technology. There’s a constant need to upgrade."
  • "Looking for healthier energy bars and snacks."
  • "Concentrating on grab-and-go offers. Want to find foodservice items we can bake-off or assemble on-site without going to a made-to- order or commissary program."

Of course, you have to work the expo floor intelligently. The exhibition area is broken into sections by product category to make your life easier. Also, visit the New Exhibitor Area, made up of first-time NACS Show exhibitors. It’s a great place to find new and different products to differentiate your store from your competitors.

A yearly NACS Show highlight is Convenience Store News’ Top Women in Convenience awards reception. This year, the fifth-annual event is being held Monday, Oct. 8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The keynoter is Iraq war veteran, Paralympian and mother of two Melissa Stockwell.

Finally, have fun. Vegas has an active and busy nightlife, and you’re entitled to enjoy yourself after a hard day’s work at the show. Just be careful. There’s a reason they call it Sin City.

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