Retailers Focus on Innovation, Experience and People

Highlights from Ideas 2 Go demonstrate easy and fun ways to engage customers.

February 14, 2023

By Chrissy Blasinsky

MIAMI BEACH, Fla.—Convenience retailers continue to redefine the concept of convenience and what it means to their customers. Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at NACS, recapped a handful of popular Ideas 2 Go videos at the NACS Leadership Forum last week. 

The session shared highlights from forward-thinking retailers who over the years are innovating, delivering excitement with new ideas, and revolutionizing employee engagement and customer experiences.

Easy and fun ways to engage customers and drive excitement can be as simple as showcasing local youth sports teams, incorporating pages from old high school yearbooks and old photos in store decor (recycle, reuse!), and using roulette wheels that offer free drinks, snacks and cents-off per gallon. 

Lenard noted that our industry is unique in many ways, particularly its thirst for sharing information, which makes Ideas 2 Go a popular general session at the NACS Show and a popular feature in NACS Magazine. Here are highlights from the videos he shared with NACS Leadership Forum participants: 

The Hub Convenience Stores Inc. (Dickinson, North Dakota) 

The Hub was named to be just that: the hub of the community. And along the way, it found a new, innovative 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 Market by Tiger (Charlottesville, Virginia) 

Tiger Fuel has been known for its high-end food and great customer service for 30 years. And now it has placed a big bet on the future with the purchase of a solar energy company. “If people trust us to deliver the energy of the past, they will trust us to deliver the energy of the future.”

Kwik Trip Inc. (Holmen, Wisconsin, and La Crosse, Wisconsin) 

Kwik Trip’s focus on its people and its culture takes center stage in this Ideas 2 Go video, filmed at the retailer’s 800th store that showcases its third-generation concept. The video also shows Kwik Trip’s Food Protection Laboratory, which is certified by the state of Wisconsin and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

7-Eleven (Dallas, Texas) 

The company’s Evolution concept stores provide an experiential testing ground for what’s next with the company. No two are alike. Among the new concepts on display at Dallas-area Evolution stores is a drive-thru.

The PRIDE Stores/93 Octane Brewery (St. Charles, Illinois) 

The PRIDE Stores opened a unique brewery called 93 Octane, which makes sense given that the retailer’s tagline is “Not your typical convenience store.”

Wakepoint LBJ (Kingsland, Texas) 

Fuel. Food. Fun. That’s Wakepoint LBJ, a convenience store, bar and barbecue joint on Lake LBJ in Kingsland, Texas. Whether customers come by boat or car, Wakepoint is the destination for water enthusiasts and those enjoying the outdoor space for live music, festivals or Sunday gospel services. 

Russell’s Convenience/Russell’s Xpress (Denver, Colorado) 

Amazon Go wasn’t the first convenience store concept to introduce frictionless checkout: Russell’s Convenience Stores introduced Russell’s Xpress, an unmanned c-store concept located in office buildings, in 2015.

The Walk-Off Market, powered by Amazon (Seattle, Washington) 

Amazon launched both its Just Walk Out and Amazon One frictionless technologies at T-Mobile Park—a first for a Major League Baseball ballpark—in 2022. The two technologies are featured at the venue’s new Walk-Off Market, which is designed to eliminate lines and allow fans to enjoy baseball. 

For more than 20 years, Ideas 2 Go has featured hundreds of interviews with convenience retailers from more than 40 states and nearly 10 countries, showcasing emerging concepts that redefine convenience, as well as quick takeaways retailers can implement at their own stores. To see more, visit and check out more great ideas each month in NACS Magazine.

Chrissy Blasinsky is NACS digital and content strategist. She can be reached at