Single Store Owner

APR 2016

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the hub 20 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / APRIL 2016 To Market, To Market… Highlights from CDA's 2016 Convenience Distribution Marketplace event By MeLIssA KRess member distributors arrange meetings with key trading partners. Keeping up with change — and thinking one step ahead — was likewise a key theme of the keynote presentation during the Convenience Distribution Marketplace's opening session. Speaker George Blankenship knows all about staying ahead. The former executive worked at several top retailers ahead of their time, notably Apple Computers and Tesla Motors. According to Blankenship, winning in the ever- changing retail world takes more than winning over customers and earning their loyalty. All players in the convenience channel, regardless of which side of the supply chain they're on, must think about the circumstances behind their business decisions — for example, generational changes or increased competition. He encouraged the audience members to close their eyes and think about what is going on in the industry. Whoever comes up with a solution will hold the industry in the palm of their hands. "To change the world, sometimes you need to do the impossible," Blankenship explained. "It's not impossible; it just hasn't been done yet." A Core Workout While no one disputes change is good, the con- venience channel can keep one foot rooted in the past as it looks to the future. This includes keeping a focus on tried-and-true core products. "This business was all about cigarettes, candy and snacks," said CDA Marketplace speaker Kit Dietz, principal of Dietz Consulting LLC in Ohio. "That's where everybody started." Core products, he believes, still present great op- portunities to keep growing. For example, according to data compiled from warehouse-delivered c-stores, center-store categories accounted for $15.6 billion in 2015 sales — a 5.8-percent increase vs. a year ago. And despite the challenges in the tobacco catego- ry, "everybody who rides the supply chain benefits from the efficiencies of tobacco," Dietz noted. Facing Challenges Together Keeping up with the changing industry is not the only thing CDA and its distributor members have C hange is not easy, but it's necessary." Taking the stage at the Convenience Distribution Marketplace, held in Las Vegas Feb. 16-18, 2016 Convenience Distribution Association (CDA) Chairman Chad Owen said continu- ing the status quo and hoping for the best is not the way to do business anymore. Owen serves as vice president of business affairs for Chambers & Owen Inc., a family-owned conve- nience distribution business based in Janesville, Wis. He grew up in the company and acknowledged that even though Chambers & Owen is a family business, "we know today, more than ever, we need to change with the times." The same goes for CDA as it makes moves to become more relevant in today's environment. In early 2015, the Convenience Distribution Association emerged from the former American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA). But, like the industry it serves, its transformation is ongoing. More than just changing its name, the association has streamlined meetings and edu- cational offerings, adding online webinars to its education programming. It recreated an online directory for all CDA members with a single online login. The associa- tion's new CDBX Meeting Match System also helps " Kit Dietz stressed the continued importance of core categories.

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