Damian Wyatt, who was beverage category manager for Mapco, Brentwood, Tenn., for more than fıve years, recently was named the company’s director of category management.
Q: What are you most excited about in this category?
A: There are so many new and never-seen-before flavors and brands producing not only healthy margins but also a healthy, better-for-you product for our health-conscious consumer.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge in managing packaged beverages?
A: The innovation is truly remarkable. However, it proves to be difficult in deciding what are the right brands and correct SKUs to carry.
Q: Tell us about a recent successful promotion.
A: I started experimenting with medium to larger grocery-size packages, such as a six-pack of tea, water and energy over the past 18 months. Our convenience-store customers see value in these bulk packages and they prove to be a great basket add-on inside our stores.
Q: Which new products have been a hit?
A: Two of the biggest success stories that have come out of the Mapco cold vault are enhanced water and iced coffee. Both of these categories have produced signifıcant growth in sales with tremendous revenue and profıtability.
Q: What are your plans for the category this year?
A: We will continue to promote heavily in the immediate-consumption category. Multiple-offer discounts, where you buy two or three, will still be a big piece of our promotional platform and, of course, our Mapco My Rewards program. Our supplier and vendor partners see a huge value in this program in driving their products. Our customers love it even more as they get tremendous discounts on the product, as well as saving dollars at the fuel pumps.
Q: What movie title best sums up your category and why?
A: The Departed. I have recently been appointed to director of category management at Mapco. With this I will be leaving the category manager of beverages role, which is bittersweet. ... This is just the beginning for the packaged-beverage category.
“[Damian] challenges his network to think big and come with creative new solutions every year.”