The Next Big Thing

Taco Plate

Throughout the history of the world, countless discoveries have had a profound impact on the human species. Among the most notable are fire, the wheel, penicillin and . . . wait for it . . . convenience stores at gas stations!

Okay, so maybe the gas/salty snack combo doesn’t hold quite the weight of the others, but they sure go great together, an innovation in its own right. It makes you wonder . . . what will enterprising petroleum retailers come up with next?

Small businesses have a long history of discovering original solutions that keep them competitive by addressing the wants and needs of consumers. Petroleum retailers are no exception. They are defined by this characteristic which makes them model entrepreneurs.

The best and the brightest realized years ago that since people had to stop for gas—emphasis on the “stop”—it created a captive audience that might be inclined to buy additional goods, saving them a second trip somewhere else, a convenience for which they might be willing to pay a little extra.

So the convenience store was born as a staple of the retail petroleum industry thanks to station owners that had an inclination to think ahead. This certainly took entrepreneurial vision, because if you walked up to a consumer 50 years ago and told them you were going to the gas station for a taco lunch, you would have gotten a funny look. Not to mention the fact that made-to-order tacos are just one of the many fresh dishes you can find in today’s retail petroleum C-store. There’s even a website dedicated to reviewing gas station tacos!

It just shows the incredible pull convenience has for consumers with fast-paced lives and how much they value that convenience. You already know this if you use back office c-store software to help you manage your business, but in addition market research firm IRI recently confirmed the fact that innovative petroleum retailers are making money!

It’s exciting to be part of an industry with so many smart and creative retailers, because you never know what great innovation is coming next. One thing is for sure: if it makes consumers’ lives easier or saves them time, it’s going to be a winner.

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