Ready 2 Go

Annual spotlight of innovative retailers includes new names, familiar faces

LAS VEGAS -- You know times are changing when local governments are asking convenience retailers to build a store within their city limits. That’s what happened to Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes when execs were planning the company’s new 6,700-square-foot prototype in Brewerton, N.Y.

This is just one of the stories you’ll hear during Ideas 2 Go, one of the most popular sessions at the NACS Show. Beyond a look at Nice N Easy’s bodacious new store, this year’s roster of retailers offers much food for thought about the future of convenience.

NACS has been producing Ideas 2 Go for nearly 20 years. This year’s program will be shown at 10 a.m. during the NACS Show general session Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Here’s a preview of some of the featured retailers:

  • A bar in a convenience store? (We think it’s about time.) You can find it at the Pinnacle Station Local Market in Rogers, Ark., in a busy intersection near Bentonville. The store also offers foodservice options such as fresh-baked pizza and an impressive salad bar.
  • Scott Zaremba, whose Zarco 66 has been lauded for offering alternative fuels for nearly five years, has added a drive-thru to his operation and sees it as a necessity in other stores going forward. In July, he became the first U.S. retailer to blend E15 at the pump.
  • Savannah, Ga.-based retailer and industry stalwart Greg Parker has had great success with his use of the LIFT suggestive-selling technology in three stores.
  • The aforementioned Nice N Easy store serves as a local grocery hub for residents. The company also has two chefs who visit that store and the rest of the company’s locations with foodservice samples.
  • From May through October, Papa’s Healthy Food & Fuel in East Otis, Mass., may not look like a typical c-store--because it’s not: A farmer’s market pops up there every Saturday during those mild months. And the rest of the year? Well, it still doesn’t look like a typical c-store. The shelves are stocked with multiple organic items year-round, including fruits and vegetables, coffee and even dog food.