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QuikTrip, Thorntons and a Bend in the Road: My Trip to M-PACT

Travel to Indianapolis includes stops at new and remodeled convenience stores
Photograph: Shutterstock

The annual Midwest Fuel and Convenience Trade Show, M-PACT, in Indianapolis last week widened my knowledge of new products, services and technologies to meet the needs of today’s convenience-store consumers. There were also a few interesting takeaways from the trip as well.


Photograph by CSP Staff

A Bend in the Road

My road trip planned to M-PACT took an unusual turn. Normally a drive from Chicago to Indianapolis takes you down I-65 but my son’s knee injury had me traveling on I-74 just outside the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC). But thankfully as Helen Keller wisely said, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” This new path gave me the chance to visit the QuikTrip on Neil Street in Champaign near the interstate interchange. The convenience-store chain’s location opened last month and is already a popular spot for customers donning their orange and blue UIUC merch. With a quick fill up of fuel and a slice of hot pizza, I was on my way to the Crossroads of America.


Photograph courtesy of M-PACT


Walking the M-PACT tradeshow floor included a multitude of tech innovation, new foodservice finds, fuel and more. Fueling up your car and yourself at the pump with the latest software technology that allows you to pump gas and order your favorite food created quite a buzz on the tradeshow floor. But what really impressed me were the education sessions. And learning a few fun miscellaneous tidbits are always welcome as well. Like when Wally’s President and CEO Michael Rubenstein shared with the audience in one of the sessions that his brother, in the early stages of Wally’s, suggested having wedding dresses for sale in the store. 

Disco Is Not Dead

And for anyone thinking disco is dead. It’s not. The dance floor is just now in the convenience-store bathroom. In the education session Growing Your Brand and Road Tripping!, Damon Bail, vice president of retail operations and marketing, for Valor Oil, offered a deep dive into his idea of a disco bathroom. Not only was it a hit. But a disco bathroom wedding soon followed at Valor’s Hop Shops store in Verona, Kentucky. A disco ball and a wedding dress. What will convenience stores think of next?


Photograph by CSP Staff

Heading Home

Before departing Indianapolis, I visitedThorntons convenience-store chain’s location on 10th Street. The place was filled with customers on-the-go. The cashier told me the store was recently remodeled and for a Thursday afternoon the place was more than busy. On my drive home, I took I-65, and traffic was wide open so no stops needed.

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