We Got This!

The NACS Show is on, and here’s why you should join us in Chicago.

We Got This!

September 2021   minute read

A Time to Learn

After over a year of lockdowns, merchandise shortages and supply chain disruptions, the convenience store industry has never stopped running. We’ve adapted to whatever the world threw at us and continued to meet the evolving needs of our customers and communities.

When it comes to learning, the power of peers is unequaled. Only at the NACS Show can you connect and share with real-world industry insiders and retail superstars who are shaping the future of convenience. NACS offers education sessions, hands-on workshops and engaging keynotes designed to make sense of this COVID environment and put you on the path to success. Take a look at some of the sessions that will inspire and delight you:

Category Management

Cold Vault in 2021: Trends and Takeaways
Tuesday, October 5, 12 - 1 pm

The exponential growth in alternative nonalcoholic beverages, craft beer and mixed alcoholic drinks has given category managers and customers infinite choices in the cold vault. In this session, Dr. Kim Cuellar, category marketing manager at OnCue, will provide current trends and research on new options to help you benchmark and gain new ideas for your own cold vault. She will be joined by leading experts from Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo and COOP Ale Works.


4 Ways to Stand Out as a Small Operator: Tips From the Gas Station Gourmet
Tuesday, October 5, 2:30 - 3:30 pm

From crawfish fettucine to Cajun curry to chicken fried steak, Al Hebert, aka, the Gas Station Gourmet, shares some memorable meals from his culinary journeys exploring small convenience stores across America. He also shares tales of the restrooms that have impressed him (and ones that scared him away from trying the food), and how small stores connect in big ways with their communities through social media.

Customer Experience

Creating an Integrated Mobile Experience
Thursday, October 7, 8 - 9 am

accelerated during the pandemic of 2020, is the consumer’s further embracement of mobile device connectivity for everything from search to order to payment. The needed digital footprint and app interface with consumers can be a challenge to create, especially for smaller operators. Kay Segal of Business Accelerator Team will share a digital journey roadmap that takes into consideration the consumer journey and how retailers can strategically begin their journey to create a superior consumer-oriented digital engagement interface. She will be joined by Conexxus and retail leaders from St Romain Oil and FavTrip.


EV 101: What Is EV/EV Charging and Why It’s Important
Tuesday, October 5, 12 – 1 pm

Electric vehicles are being sold in increasing numbers and will become a significant part of the market in the near future, creating an opportunity for convenience retailers to continue servicing on-the-go consumers. This panel will discuss the anticipated pace of market evolution, explain why the convenience industry is well positioned to provide necessary charging services and help retailers prepare to participate in this growing market.

EV 102: How Do I Do EV?
Tuesday, October 6, 8 – 9 am

Once you decide to offer charging services to your customers who drive electric vehicles, where do you start? This session will focus on the nuts and bolts you need to understand in order to successfully deliver EV charging services. Join experts from Chargepoint, EVgo and Shell who can help you navigate this new business opportunity from concept to execution.

An EV 301 class—The Economics of EV Charging—is also not to be missed.


You Can Create Disney Magic Too! Lessons in Leadership, Management, Culture and Customer Service
Wednesday, October 6, 9:15 - 10:15 AM

In a tight labor market and the very competitive convenience channel, everyone is looking for ways to set their organization apart and to grow customer loyalty. Come to this session to hear from Lee Cockerell, the former executive vice president of operations for Walt Disney World Resort, as he brings his innovative and powerful leadership and service lessons to your organization.


Evolving Your Trip Drivers
Wednesday, October 5, 2:30 – 3:30 PM

This session will start out with a broad overview of how customer trip missions are changing, then dive into how a retailer is evolving strategy based on these changes. NACS Research Director Leroy Kelsey is joined by the director of advertising and marketing for Kwik Trip, Mark Meisner.


The 2021 NACS/Conexxus Technology Roadmap
Thursday, October 7, 8 – 9 AM

NACS and Conexxus have revisited their technology roadmap, which includes essential and prospective technologies high-performing retailers should incorporate in their strategies. This roadmap will provide a picture of what relevant technologies will achieve reality, by when, to provide clarity to support a systems strategy. This roadmap is a compilation of research from outside the industry, specifically designed to see 10 years ahead to suggest technology and cultural evolutions that will prepare you for the new landscape. To see a list of all NACS Show Education Sessions, visit www.nacsshow.com/education.

Small and Mighty

As it does every year, NACS is offering four hands-on training workshops to help solve the challenges unique to smaller operators. Attendance is limited to the first 45 retailers that arrive. No pre-registration required.

  • Protecting Profits Through Loss Prevention
  • What’s In It for Me? How Incentive Programs Work for the Small Operator
  • How to Hire in the “New Normal” Labor Market
  • Understanding Store Economics

Get a Head Start

NACS offers two pre-conference workshops where you can become certified in category management or master the challenges of becoming a multi-unit leader. These two workshops are limited to 50 participants each. Additional fee and pre-registration required.

Multi-Unit Leadership

Tuesday, October 5, 9 AM - 3:30 PM

Available to buyers only
Cost: $399/person

Author Jim Sullivan brings the principles from his bestselling book, Multi-Unit Leadership: The 7 Stages of Building Profitable Stores, to the NACS Show for a one-day workshop to help retail c-store managers build the needed skills to transition to multi-unit leaders.

In this six-hour interactive workshop, Sullivan addresses one of the most challenging transitions in a store leader’s career: the move from single-store manager to multi-store manager. Designed for aspiring, newly promoted or current district/area managers, participants will walk away with skills and tools to:

  • Abandon the single store “quarterback” mentality and tasks for the more nuanced and leadership focused multi-store “coach” mentality and tasks
  • Proactively manage time
  • Execute effective store visits
  • Develop and build a team
  • Serve as a brand ambassador and role model for store managers
  • Improve territory performance

Attendees will receive a copy of Sullivan’s award-winning book Multi-Unit Leadership: The 7 Stages of Building Profitable Stores to continue their learning beyond the class.

NACS Advanced Category Management Certification

Tuesday, October 5, 9 AM - 3:30 PM

Cost: $499 for NACS Show attendees;
$599 for NACS Show exhibit staff

Earn your NACS Certified Convenience Advanced Category Management certification (CCACM) by completing this hands-on education session. Comprised of key strategic planning and analytical skill-building programs, the six-hour interactive workshop is tailored for experienced category management and merchandising professionals from retailers and suppliers in the convenience and fueling retailing channel.

Learn how to develop a holistic brand strategy and identify points of differentiation for your brand. Discover how to integrate consumer shopping behavior to create winning space and assortment strategies—with an emphasis on how the coronavirus has impacted the industry. A deep dive into price elasticity modeling, utilizing some behavioral economic principles, will guide attendees on how to optimize price, promotions and overall profitability.

Drawing on the fundamentals included in the online NACS Advanced Category Management curriculum, this in-person workshop will incorporate industry data and offer collaborative work sessions designed for maximum learning and retention.

Completion of the online NACS Certified Convenience Category Manager (CCCM) course prior to this event is strongly encouraged, as an understanding of basic category management principles is assumed. Upon completion, each participant will earn a CCACM certificate from NACS and Impact 21.


Discover New Products

Explore 420,000 square feet of expo space, featuring more than 1,200 exhibitors across five categories of interest: Merchandise, Candy & Snacks, Technology, Facility Development & Store Operations, Fuel Equipment & Services, Food Equipment & Foodservice Programs.

The New Exhibitor Area features companies that have never exhibited at the NACS Show. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to be one of the first to engage with the latest technology, products and companies entering the convenience store market, including emerging categories. The New Exhibitor Area is open early for attendees to explore emerging products before the expo opens.

Retailers and convenience distributors also have exclusive access to the popular Cool New Products Preview Room, where the hottest new products available to the convenience stores are on display from the following categories:

  • Facility Operations
  • Foodservice
  • Fuel Equipment and Service
  • Merchandise, Candy and Snacks
  • Technology

Attendees use the NACS Show mobile app to capture product details and access exhibitor contact information, as well as print a custom “shopping list” for a visit to the main expo. Take advantage of exclusive Preview Room hours before visiting the expo.

Before You Go...

NACS Show tools can help you make the most of your time in Chicago. The My Show Planner online tool helps you set your schedule. Use the planner to:

  • Protecting Profits Through Loss Prevention
  • What’s In It for Me? How Incentive Programs Work for the Small Operator
  • How to Hire in the “New Normal” Labor Market
  • Understanding Store Economics

My Show Planner automatically syncs with the NACS Show App, so you only need to enter your information once. Search “NACS Show” in the Apple store or Google Play for the free app or visit nacs21.mapyourshow.com. The NACS Show App also connects you with products in the Cool New Products Room.

Schedule of Events

Over four action-packed days, the NACS Show has activities for every kind of convenience and fuel retailer and everyone on your team. Convenience store distributors, retailers, wholesalers and exhibitors/vendors will all uncover the most innovative products and technologies, tap into impactful education sessions and access engaging networking opportunities.

Tuesday, October 5

7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Preconference Workshop: Advanced Category Management Certification (pre-registration required)
9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Preconference Workshop: Multi Unit Leadership Training (pre-registration required)
10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Cool New Products Preview Room (Retailers Only)
12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Education Sessions
3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Opening General Session with Jennifer Powers
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. NACS Show Kick-Off Party (ticketed event)

General Session With Jennifer Powers

As a coach, speaker and best-selling author, Powers has spent the past 15 years helping people remove the mask, crack open their outer shell and reveal the power that lies beneath. She’s coached hundreds of professionals and mentored and trained more than 2,000 coaches. Based on the teachings and strategies found in her best-selling book Oh, shift! and her recent book, Good shift!, Powers uses wit, humor and audience interaction to help participants access tools to better handle change and discover ways to can help themselves (and others) be better. Powers will share easy-to-remember, simple, yet life-changing tools to react to change better and to view it in a much more positive light.

Wednesday, October 6

8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Cool New Products Preview Room (Retailers Only)
8:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Education Sessions
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. General Session with Kendal Netmaker
10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. New Exhibitor Area (Early Access 10:30 a.m.)
11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Expo (All Exhibits)
11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Cool New Products Preview Room

General Session With Kendal Netmaker

Kendal Netmaker is an award-winning entrepreneur, author and keynote speaker who is on a mission to empower and motivate people worldwide by sharing his message: Regardless of where you come from and what challenges you face, you have the power to enact change. From Sweetgrass First Nation, Netmaker and his siblings were raised by their single mother. Life wasn’t easy growing up on the reserve surrounded by poverty and few chances for opportunities. Netmaker is a master storyteller and a leading entrepreneur whose passion to succeed is contagious. One of Netmaker’s companies is Neechie Gear—a lifestyle apparel brand that gives back a percentage of its profits to fund underprivileged youth to empower them to take part in sports. He is the author of the book Driven to Succeed.

Thursday, October 7

7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Registration
8:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Education Sessions
8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Cool New Products Preview Room
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. General Session: Reinventing Convenience and Reimagining Our Future
10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. New Exhibitor Area (Early Access 10:30 a.m.)
11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Expo (All Exhibits)

Reinventing Convenience and Reimagining our Future

What could the future of convenience look like—and what do we need now to define that path? Join NACS President and CEO Henry Armour, 2020-21 NACS Chairman Kevin Smartt and Incoming NACS Chairman Jared Scheeler in this lively, interactive session.

Friday, October 8

7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Registration
8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. General Session: Ideas 2 Go Video and Panel Discussion
8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Cool New Products Preview Room
9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Expo (New Exhibitor Area and Main Exhibits)

Ideas 2 Go and Panel Discussion

Watch how eight companies—from one-store operators to those operating hundreds of locations—have redefined convenience around energy, foodservice, last-mile delivery, community and culture. New this year: An in-person panel of Ideas 2 Go retailers will discuss how their ideas can translate into your stores.