It’s an unusual holiday season, still there’s much to be grateful for.

In the 1984 John Carpenter film, Starman, the alien in Jeff Bridges body, after spending time on earth, tells the female protagonist that “

[humans] are at your very best when things are worst.”

The pandemic would seem to reinforce that. Not only did it bring out the best in the convenience store industry, it clarified the essential nature of the business to the general public.

For an industry that wants to be known as continually raising the bar for professionalism, the recognition was heartening. Unfortunately, nobody had the time to savor it, as the challenges of the new retail reality immediately washed over the market. Business, suddenly was anything but “usual.”

It’s a tribute to the forward-looking tendencies of leading operators that the industry was prepared to pivot even as they sought answers to issues that were evolving in real time.

In mere days the names of new paradigms seemed to be on everyone’s lips: “drive-through c-stores,” “first party vs. third party delivery,” and “dark convenience networks” gained increasing currency and a shared understanding. The concepts weren’t new; it was just that most convenience store professionals hadn’t grappled with them.

Until COVID-19.

“We’re going to have to take a stab at that some day,” became “We’re trying this now!” and the collective industry stepped up. C-store organizations took what worked, discarded what didn’t, and in the meantime continued to provide the essential services to customers that defined their businesses in the first place. It’s a work in progress, but efforts are filled with promise.

As technology providers for the industry, SSCS is thankful to be able to provide solutions for strong businesses that exercise the presence and openness of mind to consider new operational templates and refuse to flinch in the face of sudden adversity. You’ve been a strong source of support for us this year; you give SSCS a reason to believe that anything is possible.

We can’t overstate how we, likewise, have been driven to support our convenience store customers throughout the pandemic. It is our highest priority because we know you and your associates are on the front lines. If we can do anything to relieve the additional pressure you’ve been feeling, then that’s what we need to do, and that’s what we’ve done for 40 years. We’ve never lost sight of who we work for.

You’re a remarkable industry. It’s a remarkable opportunity to partner with you.

Here’s to a great holiday season and a 2021 full of realized promise.