NACS has developed resources and tools to help retailers develop new tools to serve their communities and showcase the results.
ReFresh Retailer Case Studies
Learn simple ways to sell more snacks, meal kits and beverages – including water – from six pilot tests conducted at convenience stores.
Being a Good Neighbor
This 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.
This interactive guide provides ideas around numerous community-focused areas that retailers of all sizes can implement.
NACS Public Relations Toolkit
Learn to execute publicity efforts such as writing press releases, crafting talking points, pitching an interview and inspiring media coverage.
Convenience Stores and Their Communities
Discover positive impacts convenience stores have in their communities by creating jobs, improving local economy, and contributing to the community contributions.
Skimming and Payments Security
This online guide contains resources to proactively initiate and maintain effective payment security procedures that help reduce the occurrence of skimming.
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
Explore 8 low-cost, proven examples of how convenience stores can successfully grow their healthy offer and increase sales of better-for-you items.
Are You Fit for Fresh?
Use this 10-point checklist to assess whether your convenience store is ready to create or enhance a fresh produce offer.
Closing the Gap
The Food Trust and NACS examined strategies to help improve food distribution in underserved communities.
Grow ‘BFY’ Sales
Convenience stores should grab the opportunity among consumers seeking healthier and convenient products. Read about trends and strategies to appeal to these customers.
Site Approval Toolkit
This guide explains the planning process to build or expand stores and will help prepare retailers for zoning or land use boards.
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
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.
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
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.
With more than 100 episodes available, you can learn all about what matters in convenience 30 minutes at a time.
If you are totally new to podcasts, and need a bit more help getting going, try these resources:
Apple Users check here: Podcast Fans Frequently Asked Questions
Android Users: If you use your "OK, Google" function, you can just say "OK, Google, play Convenience Matters podcast." Or for more options try this article: How to Download and Listen to Podcasts on Android
Windows Users: you can install iTunes for Windows here: iTunes support
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.
Connect with a Cause | May 2018
A new program with the American Red Cross is designed to help convenience store companies—in particular smaller operators with one to five stores—and their customers connect with a nationwide cause.
Plastic Attack | May 2018
Retailers are embracing plastic-free aisles and making pledges to go plastic-free on their brand ranges.
The Way to Wellness | April 2018
Brands grab their share of the emerging wellness market.
Doing the Right Thing | March 2018
Convenience stores have raised more than $250 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals—and support grows stronger.
Chef-Inspired | March 2018
Farm 2 Counter sources only the best local products for its customers.
Testing Healthy Sales | Feb 2018
Five retailers experiment with strategies for marketing and selling healthier foods and beverages.
Be a Good Neighbor | Feb 2018
NACS and Keep America Beautiful have collaborated on a guide to help c-store operators reduce litter.
Calculating Healthy Choices | Feb 2018
New nutrition resource helps retailers identify certain products as being healthier options.
#GivingTuesday | Jan 2018
In 2017, NACS launched a campaign to tell the convenience retailing industry’s charitable giving story and boost donations for the NACS Foundation.
Making Hydration Convenient | Dec 2017
To continue building the industry’s positive role as a hydration destination, NACS is now an official partner of the Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) Drink Up campaign, which encourages Americans to drink more water, more often.
Green Machine | Dec 2017
So what small steps can a c-store take to become more sustainable—and transparent?
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 | Sept 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 | Sept 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 | Aug 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 | Jul 2017
Convenience retailers, suppliers and distributors commit to bringing healthier choices to their communities.
Image Changer | Jun 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 | Feb 2017
Litter is among the most highly cited reasons why people don’t want a convenience store in their community.
A Balanced Diet |Feb 2017
Surveyed consumers insist they want healthy foods, but they also crave waffle breakfast sandwiches and oversized, spicy hot dogs.
Healthy Oasis | Feb 2017
Kent Mini Mart believes their store shelves show their concern for their neighborhood.
Future Proof | Jan 2017
Swiss retailer Migrolino invests in logistics and its freshly made food concept.
Ideas 2 Go
Ideas 2 Go showcases more than 100 segments on exceptional ideas in convenience retailing.
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.
If you’d like to learn more about the NACS reFresh initiative and how your company can benefit from getting involved, please contact:
VP, Strategic Industry Initiatives
Director, Strategic Initiatives