This article is brought to you by Core-Mark.
WESTLAKE, Texas—When Core-Mark first considered moving its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Westlake, Texas, management knew it had an opportunity to enhance client services by developing a space where subject matter experts and convenience retailers could meet, collaborate and develop new ways to boost business.
That vision comes to life in early 2020 when Core-Mark unveils its 14,000-square-foot innovation lab, which is dubbed the Center of Excellence and located near the DFW Airport between Dallas and Fort Worth. More than an educational facility for classroom lectures, the Center was designed to demonstrate trending products, cook up foodservice offerings, review new services and experiment with the latest technology, such as frictionless checkout.
“The Center is much more than a place to discuss planograms and store assortments,” said Amanda Sulc, director, Center of Excellence. “In our Innovation Store, we have several categories where our category management team will perform hands-on product presentations. These areas of focus will be continuously updated, based on various trends in the industry. We have an interactive culinary test kitchen with a corporate chef, who will cook alongside our visitors so they can learn about our existing foodservice programs, as well as innovation within the foodservice space.
“Overall, the Center will challenge our visitors to think outside the box,” she said. “The content should include a ‘why?’ and a ‘what’s in it for me?’ that is driven by data, insights and a forward-looking perspective of the future of convenience.”
All activities and discussions will focus on the changing convenience-store customer. As the millennial population becomes most of the U.S. workforce, they will do most of the spending. “Millennials’ needs and preferences change by the minute, and we want to stay ahead of that,” said Sulc. “We truly want to be trendsetters for this industry.”
There’s only so much that can be accomplished with a conference call, a webinar or a PowerPoint presentation, according to Sulc. “Being able to bring people together at the Center of Excellence—an environment where they can challenge traditional business practices—allows them to better tackle retail challenges, immerse themselves in projects and envision their end goals,” Sulc said.
This is the first installment of a two-part series on Core-Mark’s commitment to innovation. Look for more info in the Dec. 12 edition of NACS Daily.