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New NACS ‘Ideas 2 Go’ Program Highlights Innovative Retailers

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The 2018 NACS Ideas 2 Go program aired for the first time during the NACS Show general session on Oct. 9.

Ideas 2 Go showcases emerging concepts intended to redefine convenience, as well as quick takeaways that retailers can implement at their own stores. The Ideas 2 Go video program has debuted in NACS Show general sessions for more than two decades and provides a video tour of some of what NACS says are the most interesting, creative and potentially profitable ideas in the convenience and fuel retailing industry.

New this year, general session attendees were asked to share ideas from their own stores to gain free access to the program.

“This year’s program looks at how retailers from around the United States and around the world are competing against the Internet, offering new levels of shopping experiences that can’t be replicated online,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour.

The eight featured segments are:

The Hub Convenience Stores Inc. (Dickinson, North Dakota): The Hub convenience store was named to be just that: the hub of the community. And along the way, it found a new way to be an even bigger part of the community by working with the local high schools and a college to provide private-label bottled water and concessions at sporting events.

The Maxol Group/Aramark (Ballycoolin, Ireland): The award-winning Maxol Ballycoolin store combines a food hall concept with a focus on the customer, using new technologies and programs to redefine its convenience offer.

Loop Neighborhood Market/AU Energy (Daly City, California): In Silicon Valley, Loop is disrupting the traditional convenience concept with a healthy market featuring a salad bar and even a salad-making robot, along with innovative approaches to design that extends the value of a small footprint store, says NACS.

Farm 2 Counter (Springfield, Missouri): Delivery is an emerging trend at convenience stores, but Farm 2 Counter turns that model upside down. It is a delivery service that turned its “warehouse” into a c-store.

Dash In/The Wills Group (Midlothian, Virginia): A new neighborhood concept enhances the level of convenience for customers with four entrances, a fresh-to-order food program, a growler/crowler program, car wash and focus on giving back to the community.

TimberFalls (Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada): One way to compete against online retailers is to offer items that can’t easily be purchased on the Internet, and that’s the strategy at TimberFalls. The store focuses on its car wash to drive customer traffic the way many other stores use foodservice to drive customer traffic.

Fresh the Good Food Market (Dublin, Ireland): Fresh the Good Food Market is a fresh food and convenience chain that offers several fresh food concepts with a food offer that changes throughout the day, including Ireland’s largest salad bar. In recognition of its innovation, the company won the 2018 NACS Global Retailer of the Year award.

QuickChek Corp. (Whitehouse Station, New Jersey): The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning draws 165,000 attendees over a three-day period and is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. But it’s more than a branding opportunity for the company. A 4,425-s.f. replica air-conditioned store at the festival “exemplifies how QuickChek creates a culture to serve the community and grow its business,” says NACS.

In addition to the eight Ideas 2 Go segments, the program features four shorter segments that focus on trends or immediate takeaways. More than 60 Ideas 2 Go video segments from previous years (2005 to 2017) can be viewed at convenience.org/Ideas2Go.

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