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NACS State of the Industry Summit

Save the Date: April 10-12, 2018
Location: Hyatt Regency O'Hare, Chicago, IL

Be the First to Know: Registration is not yet open, but you can sign up below to be notified when important details are released for next year’s benchmarking conference: April 10-12.




You Have Questions. We Have Data-Powered Answers.
One of the best ways to gain a competitive advantage is by using data to guide the direction of your business. Informed decisions can help you improve product offerings, retain customers, reduce costs and gain operational improvements to drive growth.

With nearly 50 years of convenience industry data, analysis and strategic insights behind it, the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit provides the data-powered answers you need to help set the course forward for your business. Each spring, we bring together business professors, economists and top-performing c-store retailers to help break down the latest consumer, financial and operational data across the convenience channel—live from the stage. Held over two, fast-paced days, this annual benchmarking conference is the only event where convenience retailers gain access to the newest metrics—as well as industry trends, opportunities and ‘watch-outs’—in essential topic areas such as finance, labor, store operations, merchandising and fuel sales.

By attending the SOI Summit, you’ll be among the first to:

  • Preview the newest retail data, industry benchmarks and key performance category insights. Gain a fresh perspective on how your business is performing against competitors in your region and across the country.
  • Learn how top retail performers stand above the rest. Discover how our industry’s super stars continue to grow their businesses, along with areas to enhance your own company's performance.
  • See how consumers drive the convenience retail model. Grow your sales and strengthen your bottom line using exclusive NACS data on consumer shopping behavior that tracks the path to purchase at U.S. convenience stores.
  • Get an intimate, regional look at financial and operational metrics. A panel of retailers and suppliers will comment on the major trends that influenced performance for each of their respective regions across the U.S. in 2017. 

See who joined us in 2017.

More Information
For any questions or to request more information, please contact:

Retail Attendee Inquiries
Melody Ain

Meetings & Registration Coordinator, NACS
(703) 518-4266

Supplier Attendee Inquiries
Michael Marino

New Business Development Manager, Winsight Media
(312) 940-1961

See What the SOI Summit Is All About





Next year’s NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit will take place April 10-12, 2018, just outside of Chicago in Rosemont, IL, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel.

Over the coming months, our research team will be working with top-ranked business professors, economists and c-store retailers to develop another data-rich program with brand new insights into the trends, watch-outs and opportunities for our industry. Please check back in the fall for the latest information about the 2018 NACS State of the Industry Summit.

View the 2017 NACS State of the Industry Summit agenda here.




Be the First to Know: Sign up below to be notified when registration opens for the 2018 NACS State of the Industry Summit.

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View the 2017 speaker list below and check back in December for information about next year’s event.

Rahim Budhwani | CEO, 6040, LLC; 2016-17 NACS Chairman
NACS Chairman Address
Budhwani has been the CEO of 6040 LLC since 2001. In 2015, he started his own convenience store franchise under the name Encore, which currently operates 13 stores. Budhwani runs multiple other businesses including ATM processing, a car dealership, commercial LED light manufacturing and sales, a winery, digital surveillance systems and a flight school in Daytona Beach, Florida. Before opening his first store, he worked for Elixir International, a software development firm.

Budhwani served as the city convener for Platitnum Federal Credit Union, is a past board member of the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers of Alabama (P&CMA), a council member of the NACS Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council and a board member of the Alabama Underground Trust Fund. He has also played a vital role in building the relationship between the National Alliance of Trade Associations (NATA) and NACS. Budhwani holds the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol. He earned a BS in information technology from the University of Pune and a degree in hotel management and food technology.

Kevin Smartt | CEO, Kwik Chek Food Stores Inc.
Welcome by the NACS Vice Chairman, Research
Smartt began his retail and marketing career with Frito Lay Inc. In 2001, Smartt and a partner bought Austin, Texas-based Kwik Chek Food Stores Inc./McCraw Oil Company, where he has served as CEO since the acquisition. Smartt holds several board positions on local civic and charitable organizations. He serves on the NACS Executive Committee and has served on the boards for the Texas Petroleum Convenience Store Association and the Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers Association. He earned his degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

David Nelson, Ph.D. | Professor of Economics at Western Washington University; Founder and CEO of Finance & Resource Management Consultants Inc.
Trump, Trade and the Economy
Dr. Nelson is Professor of Economics at Western Washington University and Founder and CEO of Finance & Resource Management Consultants Inc. In this presentation, Nelson will provide a lively overview of the U.S. economy. Macro-economic activity including governmental policy changes are critical to convenience retailing performance. See how various economic indicators affected your company’s performance during 2016 and discover what opportunities are being created by the fast-changing economic environment.

Billy Milam III | President, Racetrac Petroleum Inc.
The Numbers, Part I: Financial and Operational Metrics
Financial and operational metrics mirror the health of a convenience retailing business. This fast-paced session looks at specific metrics from top-line revenue growth to bottom-line pretax profitability measures that enable retailers to assess their own company’s performance, relative to the industry’s top performers. Milam is the president of Atlanta, Georgia-based RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. and a member of the NACS Research Committee.

Tom Kloza | Global Head of Energy Analysis, Oil Price Information Service
Energy Pricing in a Changed World
Hear how lower-priced fuel markets drove retailer profitability during 2016, and learn more about the new drivers of oil supply and pricing in terms that everyone can understand. Kloza is the global head of energy analysis at OPIS and serves on the Fuels Institute Board of Advisors.

Andy Jones | President & CEO, Sprint Food Stores, Inc.
The Numbers, Part II: Categories and Foodservice
Andy Jones, president and CEO of Sprint Food Stores Inc., will present the industry category and subcategory trends within merchandising and foodservice. Jones will focus on convenience format insights using the newly released NACS State of the Industry survey data and selected insights from the NACS Convenience Tracking Program. Purchase decision-making undergoes constant change, and Jones will focus on the forces driving the individual categories as well as putting a contextual lens on how the key categories performed in 2016.

Todd Hale | Principal at Todd Hale LLC; Nielsen Consultant
Shopper and Format Trends
It’s okay to look in the rear-view mirror, but what’s more important lies ahead. Todd Hale, Retail Insights Thought Leader, Principal, Todd Hall, LLC, will look at the current retail and shopper landscape as the convergence of digital, mobile and brick-and-mortar collides with the new realities of todays’ shoppers. He will use this new developing landscape to examine sales/demand in and out of convenience stores. Hale will also provide insight into the future of retailing and how the convenience store industry must evolve strategically to expand its winning formula.

Dr. Oliver Schlake | Clinical Professor and Senior Executive Teaching Fellow at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and Inaugural Fellow at the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Maryland
Self-Driving Electronic Cars Don’t Stop for Gas and Don’t Buy Red Bull
Find out what a collision of trends can mean for the convenience industry and learn how to prepare today for an uncertain world. Schlake teaches classes in innovation management, competitor analysis, business strategy, and entrepreneurship and creativity for business leaders. At Smith School, he directs the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fellows program. Schlake has authored and co-authored four books and 60 journal publications on long-term strategic planning, technology management and business intelligence. For more than 20 years he has helped organizations and individuals to better respond to uncertainty, change and complexity with innovative strategies. As a futurist and former product developer, he continuously tracks emerging technologies, business and social trends throughout the world to spot new business opportunities for entrepreneurs and gauge the strategic impact of them for established organizations. Schlake earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Paderborn’s “Heinz Nixdorf Institute” in Germany.

Robert C. Wolcott, Ph.D. | Founder & Executive Director, Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN); Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Kellogg School of Management; Managing Partner, Clareo
Proximity and the Future of All Business
How to win in an age of exponential technology change


Jeff Lenard | Vice President, Strategic Industry Initiatives, NACS
What Customers Say About You
Own convenience by looking at the offer through the eyes of your consumers and the community.
Lenard oversees industry-wide campaigns to enhance the image of the convenience and fuel retailing industry, particularly the NACS reFresh initiative to lead positive change in how convenience retailers sell food and serve their communities. Lenard also serves as lead spokesperson for NACS and has conducted more than 5,000 media interviews about trends and innovations at the nation’s 154,000-plus convenience stores. In addition, he is the creator and co-host of the association’s popular weekly podcast, Convenience Matters.




Hotel Reservations
Conveniently located less than 3 miles from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel will once again serve as the host location for the 2018 NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit. Complimentary airport shuttle service is available to and from the O’Hare Airport and hotel.

Check back in December for information about our discounted rate.


Chicago Travel

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)

Directions to SOI Summit Host-Hotel:
From Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
*Enjoy complimentary airport shuttle service to and from the O’Hare Airport and Hyatt Regency O’Hare. 
                   From Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)

April weather in the Chicago area is typically pleasant, with average temperatures in the low to mid-50s, but the meeting rooms may get chilly so bring layers, just in case.



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