Whenever The Convenience U CARWACS Show sets up shop, you can expect to find Jeannette Mandrusiak in the front row of the educational sessions, and engaging with suppliers on the trade show floor.
She’s been to four shows in total – two in Toronto and two in Calgary – and can’t wait to attend the western installment October 1 and 2 at Calgary’s BMO Centre.
“I always love to see what new things might be available, and I think there will be some things in Calgary that I might not have seen in Toronto,” Mandrusiak says. “I’m just trying to keep up with trends; I always want to be at the forefront instead of at the back of the pack.”
As the manager of Stör, the University of Calgary c-store run by the Students’ Union, Mandrusiak spends a lot of time with university students, which perhaps helps explain her tireless quest for knowledge. She takes every opportunity to learn as much as she can about convenience retailing, and the two-day trade show, with all-new educational sessions and opportunities to interact with an extensive list of exhibitors, won’t disappoint.
Mandrusiak has already taken plenty of valuable information away from her show experiences. It’s where she met the “convenience guru” Hugh Large, who helped her undertake a major project last summer that led to the addition of a fresh food cooler containing sandwiches, salads, yogurt and granola, and fruit cups.
“We completely gutted our store and built the whole thing from scratch again,” Mandrusiak says. “Now we’ve doubled in size, we’ve added the fresh food, and gotten rid of our coffee business, because we’re in a food court that has two Tim Hortons’, a Starbucks, and a couple other independent vendors. We still sell a lot of the same products, but our look is completely different.”
While Mandrusiak receives key takeaways from the educational sessions, it’s an added bonus that she can also learn from other retailers dealing with similar issues.
“I really like the roundtable sessions because I think I have the opportunity to learn from a lot of other retailers. And I’ve actually made some good connections, and had other retailers contact me after the show about something they heard me say,” Mandrusiak says, offering an example of a call she got from a retailer looking to open a car wash in northern Alberta who asked about her experience working with Large on the renovation.
Walking the trade show floor
Time spent on the trade show floor is another highlight for Mandrusiak, who says she loves coming to Toronto to learn about the issues facing retailers in Ontario and other parts of the country.
“I enjoy the sessions, but the big thing for me is the trade show,” she says. “I like seeing a new product I haven’t heard of, and the challenge of trying to get it at my store.”
Jeannette’s top tips for maximizing The Convenience U CARWACS Show experience:
1. Make key contacts. Spend time with suppliers, distributors, operators, and other industry experts who have helpful advice to offer.
2. Attend the right sessions. Plan to attend the seminars that best apply to projects and challenges at your site.
3. Challenge your suppliers. Keep your eyes peeled for buzz-worthy innovation, and encourage your suppliers to help you get the products in store.
4. Learn about the issues. Pay attention to the big issues impacting the industry, and get involved by joining the WCSA.
Want to attend The Convenience U CARWACS Show Calgary in October? Register today! Use the Promo Code* CCENTRAL to register for free!
*Offer not valid for non-sponsoring suppliers. Promo code valid for package A or D.