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Two days of discovery at The Convenience U CARWACS Show

Con UThe Convenience U CARWACS Show, which took place March 3-4 in Toronto, continues to stand out as Canada’s leading location for insight and discovery for members of the car wash, fuel retail and c-store sectors.

Day 1 highlights

Attendees on the car wash side gathered to hear Karen Smith, compliance & training manager at Valet Car Wash discuss safety inspections and how operators can prepare. Smith took  attendees through a full slate presentation (Compliance in the Workplace; Are you ready for an inspection) that covered all the bases. She offered insights from information posting to Ontario Health & Safety requirements, to action plans and program excellence. Key takeaways were that its never too soon to implement a safety plan and the payoffs help keep your operation running smoothly. “If you see an issue, act on it,” she told participants. “Don’t wait for inspectors to discover a problem. Be proactive.”

Next, the stage was opened to Barry Munro who was promoting Car Wash for a Cure, an offshoot from Paving the Way for a Cure, a fundraising program that has raised more than $250,000 for the Canadian Spinal Research Organization (CSRO), a group that assists those challenged with spinal cord impairment. Munro is a survivor of a serious spinal cord injury. The injury has not slowed him in his efforts to bring this condition to the forefront of public awareness and his speaking date at the CCA’s morning seminar sessions is a good case in point. With Car Wash for a Cure, Munro invites members of the industry to help raise funds for a study of neuromodulation, one of the most promising therapies in spinal cord injury research today.

Next on Day 1’s agenda was a round table discussion hosted by Canadian Car Wash Association (CCA) president Jason Kaye and Terry McGowan, business development manager, Mosaic. The duo led attendees through a series of questions on marketing and building your business. ‘Do you use flyers, social media and other tools?’ and ‘How do you stand out from the competition?’ were questions thrown out to the crowd who took 15-minute breaks to discuss topics among table members. The questions earned a considerable buzz in the room with attendees creating a very vigorous discussion.

Meanwhile, in the packed Cohen Ballroom, attendees heard from Ontario Convenience Stores Association CEO Dave Bryant, who spoke about the importance of uniting to stand up for the convenience industry to fight for, among other things, fair vaping regulations and the right to sell beer and wine in Ontario. He also highlighted the important of C-store Day, which is to take place August 22, in support of Ontario’s Children’s Hospitals.

Screen Shot 2020-03-09 at 1.14.55 PMNext up, keynote speaker Lee-Anne McAlear took to the stage to talk about “Disrupting the disruptors” and exploring the convergence of technology and convenience. She pointed to block chain as a game changer in the convenience industry and challenged people to consider: “What does technology reveal that we can take advantage of?” She spoke about innovation and creativity, sharing four hacks to fuel disruption.

“It is not always the experts in the field who come up with new ideas,” says McAlear. “If we are going to meet the challenges of our future we need to be able to take in different points of view—different thinking.” She encouraged attendees to work across the innovation continuum, moving from incremental through to disruptive and pointed out that, especially in retail, “small changes—such as listening to employers, suppliers and customers—can be remarkably effective.”

Next up, Ontario Lottery and Gaming hosted a lunch-and-learn session designed to help attendees drive lottery commissions in store.

Screen Shot 2020-03-09 at 1.14.42 PM“We are the single largest traffic driver into the convenience channel—in terms of transactions,” says Larry Colatosti, executive director retail sales, adding OLG has achieved $2.846 billion in C&G sales so far this fiscal year, ends at the end of March. That translates into $207 million in commissions for stores.

He spoke about new games, as well as a pilot project introducing new improved terminals

“This is one example of how we are committed to retail. Making sure you, we, have the right equipment in place to bring us into the future,” said Colatosti. “We continue to innovate at retail to make sure you can serve your customers, our customers.”

Dante Anderson, director, brand marketing for OLG, spoke about an exciting new initiative to reinvent the brand. “The opportunity is for us to reintroduce the OLG brand and create a new brand image that stands for fund, excitement and play.”

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Dave Ayres signs autographs

The afternoon kicked with the opening of the tradeshow floor. The room was abuzz with excitement, thanks in part to two special guests—Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Carolina Hurricanes emergency backup goalie Dave Ayres, courtesy of Last Call Beverages.

Day 1 culminated with a cocktail reception and the OCSA gala dinner.

Day 2 highlights

On the second day, car wash attendees gathered in the morning to take in a tour of southern Ontario’s leading car wash sites. More than 80 people boarded two highway coaches to head off to visit three locations-Crosstown Car Wash in North York, Popular Car Wash in Etobicoke and AutoSpa in Mississauga.

Crosstown featured equipment from MacNeil, Belanger, ICS and Autovac. Crosstown sported a 12-unit free vacuum ‘farm’ and showed off the power of its marketing efforts. Crosstown offers a monthly and annual pass program as well as other features such as a buy one Works wash and get another free (with-in 14 days). Popular Car Wash also featured free vacuums with LED lighting, a detailing centre and full-service 100-foot tunnel wash. Equipment came from Sonny’s, Mondo and Transchem. Promotions included three-tier rustproofing as well as ten automotive maintenance services and oil change. Popular also offers a subscription wash service.

Last on the tour was AutoSpa. This site is likely Canada’s best car wash facility and is run by Fred Misheal, an acknowledged leader among his peers in the industry. This facility has two conveyorized tunnel washes and three conveyorized detailing lines. This is in addition to its window and lube centres and Starbucks café. The wash system was built by Washtec with both Mondo and Mark VII supplying additional features such as chemicals.

Other attendees spent the morning with business coach George Anastasopoulos, who spoke about the new reality of mangers, who are being asked to do more and more. He shared three valuable and practical techniques designed to help people do less and accomplish more, including arguing effectively, confront easily and accountability contracting.

In turn, ShipperBee presented about effortlessly increasing revenues through passive profit generators, such as its network of transfer mailboxes, called Hives: Hive hosts are paid for every parcel that passes through the Hives. They also benefit from moving two potential customers—the drop-off driver and pick-up driver—through their locations as parcels move through the Hive network.

“With more than 5,000 attendees, the 2020 Convenience U CARWACS Show provides an ideal opportunity to showcase our Hives, and their value, to gas and convenience retailers throughout Canada,” said ShipperBee’s founder and chief executive officer, Jim Estill.

Screen Shot 2020-03-09 at 1.10.41 PMThe show itself was well attended and well exhibited. The car wash and fueling sector-related part of the Convenience U CARWACS Show was a buzz of the latest equipment and offered a Who’s Who of the industry. “This is where people have been coming for solutions to operation questions and finding them,” said Steve Wickens, account executive, ChargePoint, a company showing off new equipment for fast EV charging. 

On the convenience side, exhibitors and attendees connected to discuss the latest product and equipment innovations, as well as burgeoning opportunities for c-store operators looking to diversify their offerings.

Norman Katz, sales manager, Maple Leaf Displays, comes to the show year after year: “I found it was well attended and lots more vendors to meet and conduct business with. I am looking forward to 2021 show.”


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10 tips for getting the most out of The Convenience U CARWACS Show

413473-5de967235f7d9The Toronto Convenience U CARWACS Show brings together retailers, distributors and suppliers from the convenience, gas and car wash industry for two days of learning, networking and discovery of the latest and greatest products.

In her entertaining and interactive keynote, Disrupting the Distuptors, Lee-Anne McAlear will highlight how to take successful innovative strategies from other industries that are also margin-thin and customer-dependent and make them work for small and medium sized c-store business owners.

Getting educated

The educational workshops and seminars are a focal point of The Convenience U CARWACS Show, and there are plenty of new and exciting sessions designed to broaden industry knowledge and lead to business success.

The aim to help retailers improve their in-store environment with sessions like “Driving lottery commissions to your store” and “Effortlessly increase your convenience and gas revenue.”

There will also be plenty of information to help independent, banner and chain retailers brush up fundamentals, such as “Compliance in the workplace, are you ready for an inspection?”

Check out convenienceu.ca for a full list of educational workshops and seminars.

Here are the top 10 tips to get the most from the show:

1. Get pumped. There’s a lot to see and do in two days, so put yourself in the right mindset when you arrive at the show to make the most of the experience.

2. Prepare to learn. Attend as many educational seminars as you can to learn best practices and insights you can take back to build your business.

3. Join the discussion. Other retailers and operators have valuable experiences to share, so participate in roundtable discussions.

4. Pay attention. Keep your eyes and ears open during educational sessions and during discussions to absorb useful information to enhance your site.

5. Make connections. Spend time with other retailers, establishing meaningful connections that will last beyond the show experience.

6. Map it out. Determine which booths to visit before you head onto the trade show floor; it’s a large space, and you’ll save time if you know exactly where to go.

7. Build relationships. Foster a stronger connection with your suppliers by visiting them on the show floor for beneficial face-to-face time.

8. Keep an open mind. When you engage with other retailers and industry experts, listen to their ideas and advice; you never know what might spark a great idea.

9. Be daring. Look for ideas that fall outside your comfort zone; don’t be afraid to try something new!

10. Enjoy yourself. From lunch and learn sessions to cocktails and gala parties, this is your change to celebrate the convenience, gas and car wash industry!


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Rick Rabba to deliver keynote at 2020 OCSA Gala

The Board of Directors of the OCSA unveiled the keynote speaker for the 2020 OCSA Gala, which takes place at the end of day one of The Convenience U CARWACS show.

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 12.09.56 PMRick Rabba, president of Rabba Fine Foods and CJR Wholesale, will speak at the networking event.

The OCSA’s 17th Annual Gala is Tuesday March 3rd at 5:00 p.m. at the Toronto Congress Centre.

According to the OCSA, “7-11, Rabba Fine Foods, Hasty Markets, Quickie Convenience Stores, Gateway Newstands, Little Short Stop Stores, Avondale Food Stores, Kitchen Food Fair, Nicholbys, OKBA and many more category managers and executives” will attend.

Gala tickets are available now.

For more about The Convenience U CARWACS show – Canada’s largest convenience, gas and car wash industry event – visit the website and register today. 


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Registration now open for The Convenience U CARWACS Show

Registration is now open for The Convenience U CARWACS Show Toronto 2020.

ConvenienceU2019_327 (1)Taking place March 3rd and 4th at Toronto’s Congress Centre, this is Canada’s largest convenience, gas and car wash industry event.

The Convenience U CARWACS show features two days of valuable insights, networking and selling opportunities for everyone in the convenience, gas and car wash industries.

Each day will kick off with education sessions and presentations designed to help you develop the tools and strategies to improve customer service, enhance businesses and increase the bottom line.

The trade show – open daily from 12 to 5 pm – will feature hundreds of exhibitors showcasing everything you need to operate your business, including the latest and most innovative products and services available in the Canadian market.

This is the must-attend event for the convenience, gas and car wash industry.

Register today!


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Best of the West: Highlights from Convenience U

New venue, quality attendees, and well-rounded list of exhibitors headlines Greater Vancouver Convenience U CARWACS Show

Attendees from across Western Canada gathered at Tradex in Abbotsford, B.C. to celebrate the convenience, gas and car wash sectors at the first Greater Vancouver Convenience U CARWACS Show last week.  

The two-day event brought together leading suppliers to the trade, who came to display and network in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

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With the tremendous growth in the Lower Mainland, show organizers wanted to provide an opportunity for operators and suppliers to gather closer to home.

Screen Shot 2019-11-05 at 3.38.21 PMInside the hall, VPX Products supported a high-energy stage presentation that generated a powerful pulsing heartbeat with the Bang Energy Team on stage.

The show offered a solid mix of suppliers from the three key sectors (c-store, gas, car wash), with attendees coming from not just the Vancouver area, but also other areas of British Columbia, Alberta and regions east. 

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According to Dan Rossignol, regional sales manager, CAF Outdoor Cleaning, the company has been successful in past Convenience U CARWACS Shows in attracting just the right customers to the booth. For example, CAF was able to meet up with a team from Federated Cooperatives at the Toronto event. Now, Rossignol tells OCTANE that the Vancouver show helped them attract interest from another major chain in attendance.

TMS was also excited to display at the Vancouver show.  At their booth, global sales manager Rick Trotter showed off a new product that allows independent fuel retailers to now offer dispenser products with innovative additives that are competitive with major gasoline brands. 

CCA delivers value with sessions

The Canadian Carwash Association (CCA) was front and centre at the event. Both days, the CCA provided educational opportunities to attendees in the form of insightful sessions and a three-site bus tour of leading car wash locations in Langley, B.C.—7-Eleven, Washworld and SpeedWash.

7-Eleven stepped up to provide an entertaining stop. At this site, tour attendees were greeted by the retailer’s Slurpee mascot, a very cool food truck offering key 7-Eleven products and promotions, as well as the Mark VII Choice Wash. Reports from on-hand staff tell OCTANE that 78% of customers use the top wash selection at this site, with vehicles coming through with a hand-polished look to the shine. Customers are attracted by LED lighting that shines through a full-length window wall and monthly through-put is clocking 1,500 to 3,500 washes at this single express tunnel.

At Washworld, the location supports an eight-bay wand wash, as well as two tunnel washes where customers can choose between touch and touch-less functions. Like 7-Eleven, the Washworld site also uses a Mark VII Choice Wash system. Washworld operations manager Vince Deo says that the location opened in 2003 and is part of a seven-unit car wash group.

SpeedWash was the next stop. Located on the Fraser Highway just minutes away from Washworld, cars here are cleaned fast. In fact, vehicles come off the line every four minutes. At this very busy car wash location quick thinking staffers are key to keeping lines moving.

On the second day, the CCA presented morning education sessions. Well-attended, the sessions offered insights from Colorado-based Breeze Thru Car Wash, as well as the CCA.

Staff from Breeze Thru told attendees about their innovative HR programs that seek to mentor workers, helping them reach personal and work goals, while targetting reducing turnover. This company attracts better applicants with a higher starting wage and even offers staff housing. The result has been greater buy-in from workers, who make Breeze Thru a local leader in Colorado and Wyoming.

The CCA capped off the morning with roundtable discussions designed to show the powerful advantages of association membership. Jason Kaye (Bayview Car Wash) and Terry McGowan (Mosaic) teed up questions for the 12 tables in the meeting room. To offer guidance and keep the flow moving, an association member hosted each table. Attendees discovered the power of networking and how the CCA is an advantage that helps to keep wash sites running. “With membership in the CCA operators become part of the bigger picture where networking with colleagues about site challenges is just one of the advantages,” says Kaye.

Pencil in March 3-4, 2020 for the Toronto edition of Canada’s leading trade event for the petroleum retail, car wash and c-store sectors. 


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Show off! Convenience U CARWACS Show debuts in Greater Vancouver

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 10.12.29 AMOn October 29th to 30th, you’ll connect with new business and suppliers at the Greater Vancouver installment of Canada’s leading convenience, fuel and car wash trade event—The Convenience U CARWACS Show. Plan to make product discoveries, meet new business associates and learn from industry leaders. Here’s why you don’t want to miss it:

1. Learn

Day 1: The CCA will host the CARWACS Car Wash Tour, which features interactive site tours, peer-to-peer learning, networking and ample opportunities to nurture camaraderie. After breakfast, the bus leaves Tradex in Abbotsford at 8:45 a.m. and will return to the show at noon for a CCA-hosted luncheon. Then, operators will have a chance to explore the trade show floor.

Day 2: The CCA will conduct two morning education sessions, each offering car wash operators valuable tools to improve their businesses. 

9 to 10:15 a.m. Leadership Worth Following: Discovering meaningful value in the car wash industry” helps to connect the dots on how to turn your business into a high-retention, engaged and contributing force to be reckoned with that will surely benefit your bottom line.

 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. “Advancing your car wash business” is an industry roundtable workshop exploring several key topics, including effective business planning; business development loans; marketing strategies; website development; social media; insurance and much more. Seasoned industry experts will be on hand to answer your questions. 

2. Exhibit

The trading floor opens at 12 p.m. both days. There, you’ll connect with highly qualified attendees, of which 91% report they will buy products they see at the show. Bring your questions and find answers among the region’s largest collection of fuel, car wash and c-store trade personalities, all gathered in one place. Promote your brand, meet your customers and earn new leads.

 3. Network

Join colleagues, make new friends and gather with associates. This is the show where opportunities happen. 

Click here for more information and to register. 


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Keynote highlights from Convenience U CARWACS Toronto 2019

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It’s time to register!

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