Aubrey Thornock, who has been with Maverik for more than two years, is well-versed in consumer packaged goods (CPG) standards and market trends. She is responsible for identifying and capitalizing on emerging market trends and revenue opportunities in categories including cigarettes, tobacco and kratom.

Thornock is recognized as the subject matter expert leading age-gating loyalty with age restricted items and is a member of Maverik’s Loyalty Experience Committee. During her tenure, she has worked closely with vendor partners and category captains to execute formal schematics for her categories, establishing a standard of the cigarette and tobacco fixtures.

What do you love about your category?
My love for the categories that I manage comes from the continuous change that occurs within them. I genuinely love constant change and overall improvement, and I get that in managing cigarettes, tobacco and kratom with the amount of legislation, product authorization and innovation that lives within these categories.

What are the biggest challenges?
The greatest challenge is the number of changes that are ultimately out of our control. It really starts with the decisions that come with choosing our product assortment. The teams I work with at Maverik must be proactive in most cases to ensure the least amount of disruption to our flow of operations.

What’s new and exciting in your category?
Currently, there isn’t much innovation as far as product assortment, although I hope to work with our merchandising team to restructure our front-end counters to maximize our sellable space for our impulse purchase items, which for my category is kratom.

“The greatest challenge is the number of changes that are ultimately out of our control.”

What are your goals for 2023?
My key goal for 2023 is to align the variety of store layouts we have to consistent planograms for a much easier shopping experience for the customer when shopping my categories. This has allowed me to provide adequate space to the categories that are growing and bring in additional items that we were not previously able to carry due to space constraints.

What trends are you watching?
The biggest trend I am keeping my eye on for my categories is the growth of modern oral and the poly-usage within other categories.

Any recent changes to how you merchandise products in your category or subcategory?
I am totally redoing the cigarette and tobacco fixtures to maximize my space within the fixture to accomplish a consistent flow of categories for our customers. I am also working with our merchandising/space planning team to create a unique shopping experience at each register with the impulse purchase items, currently spread out across the counter, into one display at each register, in regards to our lighters, energy shots and other general merchandise items that reside on the counters.