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Resources

NACS has developed resources and tools to help retailers develop new tools to serve their communities and showcase the results.​​​​​​​​​

 

 Reports

 
 

ReFresh Retailer Case Studies
Retailers tested ideas to increase sales of better-for-you products. Learn easy ways to change planograms to sell more snacks, beverages including water and tips to sell meal kits.

 

Being a Good Neighbor
A Guide to Reducing Litter, Managing Trash and Encouraging Recycling at Convenience Stores
The guide provides quick and easy tips for convenience stores to improve their customers’ experience, help the environment and, ultimately, enhance their reputation and bottom line.

 

Community Toolkit
This interactive guide provides ideas around numerous community-focused areas that retailers of all sizes can implement.

 
 

NACS Public Relations Toolkit
This toolkit gives you the resources you need to launch your own publicity efforts in your community, from how to write a press release and crafting talking points to how to pitch an interview and inspire great media coverage.

 

How Stores Work (PDF)
Updated July 2017
Addresses common industry issues to allow retailers to tell their stories in their communities.

Fresh Produce Distribution Options  

Skimming and Payments Security
Resources and tools to proactively initiate and maintain effective payment security procedures that help reduce the occurrence of skimming.

 
Fresh Produce Distribution Options  

Fresh Produce Distribution Options
Demand is pushing the sales of more fresh items and putting pressure on new distribution options. See how partnering with the right distributor can help.

8 Evidence-Based Ideas for Growth  

8 Evidence-Based Ideas for Growth
Eight easy to implement, low-cost, proven examples of how c-store operators can successfully grow their healthy offer and increase sales of better-for-you items.

Grow ‘BFY’ Sales  

Grow ‘BFY’ Sales
Strategies to target customers with ‘better-for-you’ items.

 
Are You Fit for Fresh?  

Are You Fit for Fresh?
A checklist to assess whether a specific store should grow its fresh produce offer.

 

Produce Sales
Analysis of industry and consumer trends with practical ideas to develop an enhanced produce offering in stores.

Closing the Gap 

Closing the Gap
Strategies to help improve food distribution in underserved communities (developed by The Food Trust with NACS and others).

 
Site Approval Toolkit 

Site Approval Toolkit
The 154,000-plus convenience stores in the United States are part of the fabric of nearly every community across the country. But like many businesses these days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to expand operations.

 
 

 Media Coverage

 

​NACS in the News 2018

Why 7-Eleven, inventor of the Slurpee, is now all about cold-pressed organic juice
Already, convenience stores have begun to change how they do business, said Jeff Lenard, who heads strategic industry initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores. Nearly half of all convenience stores expanded their fruit and vegetable offerings in 2017, according to a NACS survey, and thousands more introduced yogurt, health bars, string cheese, packaged salads and hard-boiled eggs.

​NACS in the News 2017

Food/Nutrition: 

Honey, Please Pick Up Some Grilled Tilapia at the Gas Station
Last summer, when two women were looking for a restaurant space in (Leesburg, Va.), one of the options held multiple enticements: It was affordable, it had a good location, the kitchen was fit for Asian cooking and it was in a gas station.

The restaurant is part of a wave of gas stations and convenience stores capitalizing on a growing demand for fresh, healthful and convenient road food. Encouraged by the changing tastes of consumers and the potential for profit, a metamorphosis has taken place in at least 1,500 locations nationwide: at independent gas stations as well as those owned by oil giants like Shell and Exxon and convenience store chains like 7-Eleven.

The new fast food? Convenience stores add hot, cheap options
Saying "convenience store food" may make people think of spinning hot dogs by the counter, but places like 7-Eleven are expanding their hot food offerings in hopes of stealing customers away from fast-food chains.

Prepared foods and drinks like pizzas, burgers and coffee accounted for 22 percent of convenience store sales last year, an industry report said last month, a figure that has risen from 13 percent in 2010. The industry says many people in rural areas who may not be near supermarkets often get their groceries from convenience stores.

Travis Sheetz, [Sheetz’] vice president of operations, says he has also seen growth more recently in the cold cases where yogurts, cut fruit and other pre-packaged foods are sold. Those options cater to the growing number of people looking for "convenient health," he said.

The future of convenience stores: fewer smokes; more healthy food, upscale jerky
Long known as late-night outposts of roller hot dogs and greasy pizza, convenience stores now also want to sell you healthier food, preferably lots of it.

This shift in the $550 billion industry was on display at last week’s National Association of Convenience Stores trade show in Chicago, a massive and labyrinthine convention of grab-and-go commerce. What began as a few bananas by the cash register is now a full-blown movement aimed at selling healthier fare to consumers and millennials, in particular.

Some Gas with that Sandwich? Convenience Dominates Fuel Market
Major oil companies have been steadily squeezed out of the U.S. retail gasoline business, where refueling your stomach has become as important as topping off your gas tank.

Motorists who once scoured American roadways for Exxon’s tiger or Texaco’s star now search for Buc-ee’s beaver or Wawa’s Canada goose. And millennials value the quality of food in their gas stations just as much as the price at the pump.

“There’s a shift in people buying gas based on the quality of the sandwich as opposed to getting a sandwich based on the price of gas,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives for NACS.

C-Store Foodservice Bell Curve Ramps Up
By leveraging chef-driven menu items, Anthony Bourdain-endorsed sites and ethnic specialties, modern day c-stores earn a spot in the foodservice space.

A variety of trends continue to point toward a favorable environment for convenience store food today. Younger consumers associate little, if any, stigma with c-store food; equipment advances make for easier-to-execute food programs in small spaces; and consumers overall remain keen on food experimentation.

C-store sales hit record high, partial credit goes to healthier food and beverage options
It was a record-breaking year for in-store convenience store sales, which hit $233bn in calendar year 2016, data from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) 2016 indicated. Among the top performers were non-alcoholic beverages and sweet and salty snacks.

Top performing beverages, based on data the association collected from around 19,000 stores, included enhanced water (12.3% increase year-over-year), sports drinks (+4.5%), and bottled water (+3.9%), a trend which Jeff Lenard, VP of strategic industry initiatives at NACS, said signals “a move by consumers toward healthier and functional beverage options.”

Convenience stores show supermarkets that small is mighty
“(As) more and more consumers have begun to demand high-quality meals and snacks on the go, c-stores have upped their game.

Retailers like Sheetz, Wawa and QuikTrip are leading the charge to sell quality products and redefine "gas station food" in the process.

“Convenience stores are more like grocery stores, but now they have more in common with that first aisle you encounter on the right – the fresh aisle,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.

York convenience stores follow healthy-fare trend
Gone are the days when motorists had to make more than one stop to meet their needs. Commuters now can buy their coffee, carrots, fried chicken, ribs, soda and yogurt, as well as fill up their gas tanks, at the ubiquitous convenience store — emphasis on "convenience."

Convenience stores — referred to as "C-stores" by the marketing gurus — are trying to compete with tony fast-casual eateries, like Panera Bread and Starbucks, local managers say. And locals seem open to the idea. 

Community/Partnerships/New Programs:

The reason Amazon won’t kill the mom-and-pop convenience store
Many believe that self-service technology will go a long way towards helping this industry cope with these changes while remaining profitable in the years to come. It will make things faster and more fun while lowering operating costs. “Technology will be redefining convenience,” says Jeff Lenard, a vice-president at the convenience store association.

As Lenard puts it: “the “inconvenience” store industry is a bad place to be.

NACS Becomes First Retail Association to Make a Commitment with Partnership for a Healthier America
The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the association representing the nation’s 154,000-plus convenience stores, announced a new commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), becoming the first retail-association partner. Through its commitment, NACS will rely on PHA’s resources and expertise to help conveniences stores provide more visibility to healthier choices inside their stores.

NACS and DHS Blue Campaign partner to raise public awareness about human trafficking
NACS has announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign to help combat human trafficking. Through this alliance with the DHS Blue Campaign, NACS will provide the DHS Blue Campaign’s training and awareness materials—including posters, handouts and other materials—to members free of charge. 

New Partnership Formed Between Red Cross & C-store Industry
NACS and the American Red Cross have formed a new partnership to advance community giving and disaster relief programs for NACS member companies. The two organizations are currently focused on developing resources to facilitate donation collection by c-store companies nationwide, along with encouraging volunteer assistance programs for Red Cross volunteers around specific local or national events. NACS is the first retail-focused association to partner with the American Red Cross on such a program.

NACS partners with Keep America Beautiful to encourage recycling
The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) has partnered with Keep America Beautiful to give its members guidance on recycling and trash management. The partnership has produced a new resource called ‘Being a Good Neighbor: A Guide to Reducing Litter, Managing Trash and Encouraging Recycling’.

Hurricane Harvey & Irma TV appearances

 

 Podcasts

 

Just a couple of folks talking about matters of convenience.

Convenience Matters is a weekly podcast where cohosts Jeff Lenard of NACS and John Eichberger of the Fuels Institute talk about what they see at stores and what the future may hold for our industry. Listen to past episodes related to the NACS reFresh initiative below.

 


Keeping Convenience Stores Beautiful
Episode #91: Oct 16, 2017

The Ultimate Lottery Winners
Episode #88: Sept 25, 2017
 

Partner with the Red Cross
Episode #84: Aug 28, 2017

Protecting Your Food Brand
Episode #82: Aug 14, 2017

A Conversation with Cumberland Farms
Episode #79: Jul 24, 2017
 

Fueling With Purpose
Episode #78: Jul 17, 2017

Getting Crafty with Beer Sales
Episode #77: Jul 10, 2017

Miracles by Speedway
Episode #74: Jun 19, 2017
 

Episode #71: May 29, 2017

Episode #70: May 22, 2017

Episode #64: Apr 10, 2017
 

Episode #62: Mar 27, 2017

Episode #60: Mar 13, 2017

Episode #55: Feb 6, 2017
 

Episode #50: Jan 2, 2017

Episode #47: Dec 19, 2016

Episode #46: Dec 12, 2016
 

Episode #44: Nov 28, 2016

Episode #42: Nov 14, 2016

Episode #40: Oct 31, 2016
 

Episode #34: Sept 19, 2016

Episode #32: Sept 1, 2016

Episode #30: Aug 22, 2016
 

Episode #22: Jun 27, 2016

Episode #21: Jun 20, 2016

Episode #12: Apr 18, 2016
 


Episode #8: Mar 21, 2016


Episode #7: Mar 14, 2016

 
 

 NACS Magazine

 

Relevant NACS Magazine articles on community engagement or nutrition.

Note: NACS Magazine is a member-only benefit. Articles are available to non-members three months after publication. Learn more about joining NACS, or subscribe to NACS Magazine in print.

2017

Community Investment | Oct 2017
Convenience stores don’t just serve communities—they invest in them. On average, retailers invest $4.27 million to open a new store in a rural neighborhood.

Donate by... | Oct 2017
Goodwill and good food go hand in hand.

Refreshing Our Industry | September 2017
You could say we’re on a mission at NACS, one that is helping convenience retailers create positive perceptions of the industry.

NACS Helps Fight Human Trafficking | September 2017
NACS is has partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign to help combat human trafficking. Through this alliance, NACS members can receive free-of-charge training and awareness materials, including posters, handouts and other items.

NACS Partners With the American Red Cross | August 2017
NACS has partnered with the American Red Cross to advance community giving and disaster relief programs for NACS member companies. NACS is the first retail-focused association to partner with the American Red Cross on such a program.

Good Partners | July 2017
Convenience retailers, suppliers and distributors commit to bringing healthier choices to their communities.

Image Changer | June 2017
Edible and perishable grocery options help alter consumers’ perceptions of convenience stores.

Community Toolkit Released | May 2017
NACS has published a new Community Toolkit that provides ideas and real-world examples of community-focused initiatives that retailers of all sizes can implement.

Don’t Be Trashy | February 2017
Litter is among the most highly cited reasons why people don’t want a convenience store in their community.

A Balanced Diet |February 2017
Surveyed consumers insist they want healthy foods, but they also crave waffle breakfast sandwiches and oversized, spicy hot dogs.

Healthy Oasis | February 2017
Kent Mini Mart believes their store shelves show their concern for their neighborhood.

Future Proof | January 2017
Swiss retailer Migrolino invests in logistics and its freshly made food concept.

2016

Small Format, Big Idea | December 2016
We have a big idea—and it involves corners. Technically, corner stores

Myth No More | November 2016
Discovering healthy options at the NACS Show expo is easy.

It’s Play Time | November 2016
Before the NACS Show, industry leaders came together to give back to an Atlanta community.

#30daysofgasstationfood | October 2016
For one month, one man ate exclusively at gas stations, traveling across nine states and visiting more than 200 stores.

Sweet Charity | September 2016
C-stores deepen their commitment to corporate giving.

Local Heroes| September 2016
What words resonate most with consumers? “Free” usually works—but not always, as most of us have received enough junk mail to know that free doesn’t always mean free.

8 Ways to Grow Healthy Sales | August 2016
Eight low-cost—and proven—tactics for how c-store operators can grow their healthy offer.

Family Affair | July 2016
At Lee Delauter & Sons, being a part of the community is in their DNA.

A Different Kind of Recruit | June 2016
Military values paired with the right corporate culture can be a winning combo for both veterans and retailers.

An Eye On Crime | June 2016
Bazzi Oil & Gas teamed up with the Detroit Police Department to pilot a program aimed at reducing crime at convenience stores.

Be a Super Market | June 2016
While grocery departments have shrunk, convenient packaging and fresh produce offer pockets of opportunity for c-stores.

Smoothie Operator | May 2016
Smoothies offer generous margins and incremental beverage sales growth for convenience stores.

Food, Fresh, Friendly | May 2016
Enmarket rebrands itself to highlight a focus on healthy living.

Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow | April 2016
The NACS Foundation recognizes rising industry leaders through the NACS Scholarship Program.

The Snack Attack | April 2016
Jerky, clean-label food bars and other better-for-you alternative snacks gain a following at c-stores.

2015

Family Meals To Go | December 2015
Time-starved customers can turn to their local Square One Markets convenience store for a quick, healthy meal.

Filling a Need | December 2015
Edible and perishable grocery offers retailers a way to provide convenient meals.

The People Difference | November 2015
One retailer boosted culture by hiring individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Blending Health and Convenience | October 2015
New research shows that a certain consumer segment is seeking better-for-you options and can drive profitability.

Zone Support | October 2015
Strategies for retailers seeking zoning approvals.

More Than a Fresh Face | August 2015
Fresh2GO has taken freshness to a new level in a convenience store format.

Open Container | July 2015
The right packaging can encourage shoppers to buy more grab-and-go fresh foods.

Food Focused | July 2015
Fresh, fast, customizable and healthy describe today’s prepared foods in convenience stores. 

The Case for Fresh | April 2015
Selling fruits and veggies in the fast lane.

Good for You and the Bottom Line | April 2015
The Philadelphia Healthy Corner Store Initiative opens up healthful possibilities in convenience stores while adding to their profit margin.

Honest, Abe | February 2015
Both you and Abe Lincoln have something in common: the convenience store industry.

Twofold | January 2015
So is celery the perfect diet food—or is it the perfect delivery system for creamy salad dressing?

2014

Who’s Watching the Store | December 2014
By focusing on the basics, convenience stores can shed their long-standing reputation as crime targets.

24/7 Operations | August 2014
In a recent survey, NACS explores the specter of 24-hour operations and its misperceived ills.

A Healthy Misperception | July 2014
Most consumers are confused or misled—or outright wrong—about the healthfulness of food and where healthy food can be found.

Getting Fresh | June 2014
How one North Carolina retailer has found success—and a healthier life—with fresh produce.

Gauge of Innocence | May 2014
Stiffer penalties prompt more convenience stores to explore electronic age verification technologies.​​

Winning Partnership | March 2014
With the goal of helping his community, one retailer hit the public relations jackpot.

Bars of Gold | February 2014
Offering energy, protein and health, bars can improve your store’s image, attract customers and keep the cash register ringing.

2013

Good for You Drinks Take Root | December 2013
Kombucha, raw juices and other healthy beverages begin their growth phase in convenience stores.

No More SNAP? | December 2013
New restrictions on SNAP could bring hardships for retailers and the low-income customers who rely on the program.

NACS Show Trends in Health and Wellness | November 2013

Promoting Positivity | October 2013
CITGO seeks out the good in local communities with its Fueling Good initiative.

Community Social Responsibility | September 2013
When it comes to social responsibility, convenience stores maintain a special connection with their community that’s more about people than business.

2012

Boycott Backlash | December 2012
When words are exchanged at the intersection of politics and commerce, consumer action often follows.

Wellness at Work | March 2012
Sheetz introduces a large-scale employee health and wellness center.

You’re Under Arrest! | February 2012
The food police — public interest groups and state and national government—are actively pursuing programs and policy to make it criminal (or at least more difficult) to sell certain products in your stores. 

2011

"Let's Move" Fresh Foods | December 2011
Convenience retailers who want to bring healthy and fresh food items into their stores should get moving with perishable groceries.

Nutrition Pioneers | July 2011
Two retailers experiment with healthier offerings and chip away at a long-lasting c-store perception.

So Michael Moore Is at Your Store... | May 2011
Prepare your business for positive public relations opportunities that won't blow up in your face.

Uncover Nutrition | February 2011
Growing consumer demand for good-for-you foods—and more importantly, increasing regulations—will require your stores to promote a healthier image.

 

 Videos

 

Ideas 2 Go
Ideas 2 Go showcases more than 100 segments on exceptional ideas in convenience retailing.

KaBOOM!
NACS worked with KaBOOM!, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and community volunteers on a 2016 playground build. The group's mission is ensuring that children – particularly the 16 million American children living in poverty – get the active play they need to become healthy and successful adults.

Partnership for a Healthier America
Several NACS retailer and supplier members have committed to the nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Check out this video produced by PHA highlighting the successes of the convenience retail industry providing healthier choices to consumers.

 

 Key Contacts

 
​​

If you’d like to learn more about the NACS reFresh initiative and how your company can benefit from getting involved, please contact:

Jeff Lenard
VP, Strategic Industry Initiatives
(703) 518-4272
jlenard@convenience.org​​

Carolyn Schnare
Director, Strategic Initiatives
(703) 518-4248
cschnare@convenience.org​​

 

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