Great to Sea You at the Summit

Set along Halifax’s harbour front, the 2018 National Convenience Industry Summit brought together retailers, distributors and manufacturers from across Canada. During a time of industry disruption, this year’s program focused on Navigating a Changing Channel, with insightful and inspiring speakers as well as plenty of networking opportunities to discuss business.

Business Sessions

Tony Chapman returned for this year’s Summit as host for the first day of programming. He kicked things off by moderating an industry panel of senior executives focusing on the state of the industry. Pat Carey, Wallace & Carey; Marc Gagnon, Sobeys Wholesale; Marc Goodman, Suncor Energy; Ian White, Parkland Fuel Corporation and Darcy Bristol, Nestle Canada answered questions dealing with the impact of technology, customer service, innovation and the need for a strong voice in Ottawa.

Attendees also learned about the impact of the global economy on our business with Alex Chausovsky of ITR Economics. Alex took attendees through what the leading indicators are saying about the economy for the rest of 2018 and what the outlook is for 2019. Alex said that consumers drove the economy to where it is today, but explained why consumers could be in a weakened position for 2019 relating to the savings rate, the stock market, and interest rates.

The day ended with Pete Luckett taking attendees through his journey of creating spaces where customers want to congregate, rather than just shop. With 40 years of retail experience, Pete explained how an enticing customer experience can be leveraged to influence consumer’s purchasing habits.

Day two of programming kicked off with a Summit favourite, Carman Allison. Carman explained how Canada’s dynamic retail landscape has challenged many manufacturers and retailers to evaluate their future growth opportunities. His session explored five emerging trends and provided an update on how the industry is progressing.

The program ended with a look to core values. Scott Stratten took the audience through what is real and what is only smoke screens in the business world today. He explained that at the heart of the industry, while everything has changed, nothing is different. Trust, connection, consistency, and service will always be what connects your business to consumers.

Networking and Socials

But the Summit wasn’t all business! Attendees had the opportunity to meet and mingle during the opening party, which took place along Halifax’s harbourfront. Attendees visited with friends, old and new, at communal tables, toe-tapped to the musical talents of Signal Hill and ate a boat load of seafood!

We also celebrated at the National Convenience Industry Awards, which combined the Awards of Excellence and the Convenience Innovation Awards into one celebration. Eleven individuals and companies were honoured for excellence and innovation in the industry.

And no Summit would be the same without the Trade Exchange, where distributors and retailers met with manufacturers to learn about what new and innovative offerings they can bring to market. This year was particularly successful and attendees commented that there was a great buzz in the room.

Summit 2019: Mark your Calendars Now!

The 2019 Summit will provide relevant research, inspiring keynotes and networking opportunities that will offer insight into future opportunities, challenges and trends. The Summit Planning Committee have started planning for a new year and look forward to welcoming you to the 2019 Summit, set for September 24-26, 2019 in Niagara Falls, Ontario.