August 2022

From the Editor

Surprise Me

Kim Stewart

Above: I explored an Amazon Fresh store in Virginia and tried Wawa’s self-checkout in Florida.

Midsummer found me in Florida for a dance competition with my teenage daughter, and our first stop after the Orlando airport was Wawa on Narcoossee Road to grab a hoagie and a panini sandwich and stock up on bananas, water and salty snacks. We tried the self-checkout, and general manager Luis kindly stepped in unprompted to bag our purchase, which surprised and delighted me since we’d chosen the do-it-yourself route. Luis personalized the service for us.

Contrast our Wawa experience with my first time shopping at Amazon Fresh in Fairfax, Virginia, just the week before. This is one of Amazon’s new grocery stores with Just Walk Out technology. From scanning my Amazon app to enter the store to leaving with the groceries, the experience was sterile. No glitches, just impersonal. My husband likened the store to a warehouse for grocery fulfillment. In the aisles, we encountered numerous Amazon Fresh employees busily picking items from the shelves for digital orders, but no one made us feel as welcome as Luis at Wawa Store No. 5174.

My go-to bottled drink at Wawa is Wawa Peach Tea, and when I’m at 7-Eleven, it’s 7-Select Cold Pressed Clean & Green Juice. I sometimes go to these c-stores, which are the dominant chains in my area, just for their own-brand goods. As our cover story, “An Exclusive Offer,” explores, private label has real sticking power. From enhancing margins to sidestepping supply-chain issues to building loyalty, private label is a compelling business move for retailers.

Sports drinks and energy drinks are a staple in my household, and we’ve been happy to find some better-for-you options with low sugar and added vitamins. That’s on trend as we cover in “Beverage Boosters.”

In “Designing New Builds,” see how Maverik and MAPCO are uniting architecture and customer experience to create welcoming new spaces with a sense of adventure and modern flare.

Finally, I invite you to carve out time to read our coverage of NACS Convenience Summit Europe, which took place at the start of the summer in Berlin, Germany. It’s one of the most impactful future-forward NACS events I have attended. Think mobility, quick commerce and ESG.

Soak up the final weeks of summer, my friends.


Kim Stewart

Kim Stewart is editorial director of NACS and editor-in-chief of NACS Magazine.