Convenience Store News

NOV 2016

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76 Convenience Store News | NOVEMBER 2016 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM who sat down with Convenience Store News at CDBX. "One of the biggest challenges is the consolidation in the market," she acknowledged. "Both sides, dis- tributors and manufacturers, and our member base is shrinking a bit. We have a smaller membership with a broader array of needs." To address those varied needs, the association has virtually reinvented itself. This included major technol- ogy updates, an increased emphasis on data and analyt- ics, and using them to educate CDA members. Today, the association primarily focuses on government affairs, education and networking, which Bolin says are the three main reasons distributors become CDA members. "If you try and do too many things, you get spread too thin, so it's focusing on those top three needs and how we can address those and be as strong as we can," she said. "In the past, it was appropriate to have a five- to 10-year strategic plan. Now, it's not even a one-year strategic plan. It's looking at everything on a continuous basis, seeing what changed from six months ago, and what's on the forefront of people's minds." CSN Spotlighting major industry events OUT ABOUT & it, the CDA will continue to assist its members in a variety of ways, Owen said, particularly through its InfoMetrics program that's designed to provide the data and information distributors need to make smart deci- sions and lower costs. While leveraging technology is important for the industry, without data, even the most advanced gadgets are just "shiny hardware that looks cool but means nothing," he noted. Going forward, CDA expects its members will need to adapt to further changes in the marketplace, such as recognizing the effect millennials are having on the retail space and looking outside the box to identify new profit centers. While this may be a challenge, Owen doesn't expect it to be an insurmountable one. "Adapting to change is nothing new for us," he said. THE NEXT STEPS Some of the changes the CDA has faced are because of a shift in the c-store industry itself, according to Bolin,

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