But I Would Walk 500 Miles ...

Although after this year’s NACS Show, I’m not sure I could walk 500 more.

But I Would Walk 500 Miles ...

November 2023   minute read

By: Chrissy Blasinsky

My first NACS Show was 2005. I remember fondly the rookie mistake I made that was a huge lesson learned: I wore the wrong shoes. Like, very wrong.

Proper shoes for walking the NACS Show expo—all 436,100 net square feet of it—are a must. It’s my go-to advice for anyone new to the event. For many, the walking begins before the expo doors open. This year I covered about 10 miles, give or take.

There is so much ground to cover. I did not see every exhibitor in every aisle. Breaking it down from A to Z, here’s what an 18-year NACS Show veteran (aka me) saw, and likely tried, on the expo floor:


Come to think of it, the only place I’ve gone to for filling my tires is a convenience store.



It goes without saying that you can’t NOT find new flavors, packaging or products in the beverage space at the NACS show.



There’s a reason we often hear the NACS Show compared to adult trick-or-treating.


Car wash

I’ve always wanted to run through one of these …



Companies like Gilbarco and Dover not only keep customers fueled up and filled up … they’re also keeping them charged up.


To quote an industry friend, “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an energy drink.” I have no idea what that means, but yes, energy is huge at the NACS Show and has been for a few decades.



Pizza, chicken, hot dogs, taquitos, coffee, fountain drinks (cold and frozen), sandwiches, Asian fare … expo eating is a must. I manage my feasting as: hot dogs on day 1, chicken on day 2, and pizza on day 3.



At 6’6”, he was fairly easy to spot in the Monster booth.



In the words of The Waterboy himself, Adam Sandler, “that’s what I call high quality H2O.” It was refreshing (pun intended) to see Gatorade step into the water realm.


Hulk Hogan

This isn’t the first time the Hulkster has been at the NACS Show. He was also at the 2006 Show in Las Vegas.


Ice Cream

Here’s my before and after shot, thanks to Hershey. And this makes me feel a little old: Rich’s celebrated the 20th birthday of f’real shakes and smoothies with a new LTO flavor, Birthday Cake Batter.



Sasquatch is an institution in the Jack Link’s booth. This year he was joined by actor and “Busch Guy” Gerald Downey.



To make great food, store it and serve it, you gotta have the right equipment.


Keebler Elf

Was that a Keebler Elf or Elf on the Shelf??



I didn’t get a chance to visit a lottery exhibitor, but a few days after the NACS Show ended, nobody had claimed the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.

Mexican Food

Si por favor.



No nozzles, no gas. It’s as simple as that.


  Other Tobacco Products

Here’s where you’ll find innovation with smokeless tobacco alternatives. According to the NACS State of the Industry Report® of 2022 Data, the OTP category had double-digit sales growth year over year.



My favorite sandwich and burger partner in crime.



Would you believe there are no product categories that begin with Q? This is your chance to become a trailblazer.



Let’s talk food safety for a moment. Temperature control and monitoring relies on proper and reliable refrigeration. Make sure those temps are where they need to be.



Salty, sweet, heat, traditional, savory, cheesy, spicy … if you can’t find your favorite snack flavor at the NACS Show expo, it may not exist.



Where would you like me to start? There were 139 exhibitors in the Technology area of the expo and 32 more tech-related exhibitors in the New Exhibitor Area. If you needed a tech solution, this was your Super Bowl.



Although there are only a few exhibitors in this space, first impressions can make a difference when it comes to your frontline teams.



I see this as a category ripe for our industry. Perfetti Van Melle USA’s Mentos Mints with Vitamins stood out for me.



the Street Profits, Hulk Hogan, LA Knight, Bianca Belair … who am I missing? Oh wait—you can’t see him, but our closing General Session speaker was John Cena.


Dominique Wilkins

Former NBA star Dominque Wilkins, now the VP of basketball operations for the Atlanta Hawks, met with fans in the Anheuser-Busch booth.


eXpo eXcitement!

I had to do it. Like our friend Q, the letter X needs some love.



Drinkable, mixable, frozen, non-frozen. Yogurt can serve as a healthier go-to for your health- minded customers. Personally, I like the yogurt- covered snacks.




Sleep aids: You gotta have something to bring you down from all that caffeine!

Honestly, this list is barely the tip of the iceberg in terms of what one could find on the expo floor. Every aisle was packed with things that were unique, delicious, useful, indulgent, healthy, innovative, creative and just downright cool. The NACS Show is the greatest show on the planet, and I hope to expand this list next year when I do this all over again in Las Vegas, October 7-10, 2024.

Chrissy Blasinsky

Chrissy Blasinsky

Chrissy Blasinsky, digital & content strategist at NACS, can be reached at [email protected].

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