The unofficial Trade Show Season for the c-store industry arrived a few weeks ago. SSCS celebrated by attending three different shows during a five-day period that ran from February 18–22.

“There’s a sense of expectancy at the first shows of the year, which makes the atmosphere a little more charged than usual,” said an SSCS sales team member that attended WPMA. “People are glad to get back out and see what’s been going on.”

Reuniting with customers and representatives of companies that work with the industry itself—POS providers, wholesalers, and regional and national associations, for example—make attendance at these shows valuable. They are all part of the convenience store mix, and renewing connections on the show floor or its immediate vicinity is good for business—this is an industry that still relies on a personal touch to engineer success.

An expo is about more than just looking back, though. There’s the excitement of looking forward. It’s more than spotting interesting new items and products on the show floor, though that’s fun; it also includes the educational programs and seminars that make these shows an industry attraction. Getting the opportunity to talk to people that work in the industry every day, provides a “store level” view of what’s really happening, and how SSCS can help. It’s extremely valuable.

Here’s where we were.

Western Petroleum Marketers Association (WPMA) Expo, Las Vegas, NV (February 20–22)
The WPMA is a powerhouse regional association that spans eight western states, including Hawaii. Its beginnings go back to the 1960s and, in that time it has carved out a solid reputation as a source for educational programs, networking among professionals, and political advocacy for the industry, on a state and national basis.

The impressive reach of the WPMA is indicated by its ability to organize a successful show on a large scale in a leading convention city, Las Vegas. “The city is a magnet for convention goers,” says our Utah-based sales rep. “Vegas shows always end up being robust and well-attended, as a result. That makes the WPMA Expo a great place to provide SSCS exposure.”

NATSO (National Association of Truck Stop Owners) Connect, Lake Buena Vista, FL (February 18–22)
NATSO Connect brings together professionals in the truck stop and travel center industry, which NATSO serves. This retail model has become a primary focus for those of us serving the c-store industry, and these operations bring their own distinct flavor to the retail mix.

Travel centers have taken a page from the c-store industry, inspired by how it has had success in blurring the retail food channel to incorporate food service, quick serve franchises, and a fast casual restaurant approach.

“Installing a truck stop with SSCS Software is exciting for me, because it is a market segment coming to realize the sky’s the limit,” states our representative at the show. ”They are studying innovators—practically picking and choosing what they want to add to their sites. And of course, SSCS is perfectly positioned to help them with our back office software, as we’ve adapted to the industry’s needs for decades, no matter how diverse their inventory and fuel operations may be.”

BPMA (BP Amoco Marketers Association) Convention and Business Expo, Scottsdale AZ (February 19–21)
A primary way for dealers of these petroleum brands to network with each other, the BPMA Expo provides an opportunity for SSCS to connect with those customers, as well as corporate decision-makers and industry leadership. Fuel wholesaling is emphasized.

“Some retailers attend, but for the most part this show is about the wholesaler,” says SSCS Vice-President of Sales, Shawn Herrick, an attendee. “The breakout sessions tended to examine what we can expect the industry to look like in the next 5, 10 and 25 years, based on current trends. Just like retailers, wholesalers are all in for long term success. They want to be thriving a half century from now.”

This coming March, SSCS representatives will attend four more shows across the country. Maybe we’ll see you then, but if the opportunity doesn’t arise, feel to call us at (800) 927-7277. No matter where we are, we’re never too busy to talk about how our software can help you.