Welcome Back NAG

As the industry continues its rapid evolution, CSD is stepping up its efforts to provide convenience store operators with the tools they need to be successful. To that end, CSD is proud to announce two premiere events in the coming months.

First and foremost, the National Advisory Group (NAG) begins its rise back to prominence with its first in-person event in nearly three years. What’s important here is that CSD enlisted the help and feedback from dozens of original NAG members to hear directly from them what NAG should be—and should not be—and what the organization must stand for in order to meet the needs of its core members.

CSD is indebted to the more than 30 retailers and suppliers that volunteered their time on the NAG steering committee to identify the core tenets of NAG, as well as how to recapture the magic and vision of group founder Hugh Howton.

The NAG Ideas Conference will take place Sept. 12-14 at the Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, S.C. To learn more about the National Advisory Group, its overall mission, or to register for the conference visit the NAG Web site at www.nagconvenience.com.

Supporting Students
As an integral part of NAG,CSD also will continue to award NAG college scholarships to college-age students of NAG members. Over the past 15 years NAG has awarded nearly $85,000 in tuition assistance to NAG family members and we’re thrilled to continue supporting the scholarship fund in 2010 and beyond.

With NAG on track, CSD in June will host our third annual Foodservice Webcast series. With foodservice now generating nearly 30% of in-store gross margin dollars, the category is as important as it has ever been for industry operators. However, the profit center is at risk as competition heats up and consumers adjust their away-from-home eating habits.

As part of the Foodservice Webcast series, CSD has partnered with David Bishop, managing partner of Balvor LLC, for our third annual foodservice study, which will be discussed during part one of the Webcast on June 10. Dr. Jack Cushman, executive vice president of foodservice for Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, will weigh in with insights and trending data on today’s convenience store foodservice customer.

Part two on June 17 will feature expert analysis from Ira Blumenthal, president of Co-Opportunities and managing director of NACS Café, and Greg Parker, CEO of The Parker Cos. in Savannah, Ga. This session will focus on marketing and merchandising in the competitive foodservice business and identify the best practices all foodservice retailers should be perfecting to drive new and repeat business.

Register for the free Foodservice Webcast series at www.cstoredecisions.com.

Down on the Corner
In this month’s cover story, CSD takes an exclusive look at the operations of Street Corner convenience stores, a Kansas-based chain of 52 stores that focuses on nontraditional retail locations. The Street Corner concept requires only a small amount of space—300 to 1,000 square feet for an inline store, and as little as 150 square feet for a freestanding kiosk.

“We have been under the radar for quite some time, but our growth has been pretty consistent since we opened our first store in 1988,” CEO Peter La Colla told me in April.

As part of that growth, the chain has a new retail design and just signed a deal with Sodexo, one of the largest foodservices and facilities management companies in the country, to make Street Corner Sodexo’s sole convenience brand.

“Our goal is to become one of the most adaptable convenience retailers, using viable locations that are overlooked by other merchants, and this deal will go a long way toward fulfilling that goal,” La Colla added.

Read more about Street Corner beginning on page 18.

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