By Maggie Gioia | Marketing Coordinator
From Oct. 1 through Oct. 4, National Convenience Distributors traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to the annual National Association of Convenience Stores show at the Las Vegas Convention Center for three days of team bonding, vendor and customer connection, networking and industry-focused education.
With 429,000 square feet of event space, nearly 1,300 exhibitors, 24,534 attendees from 73 countries and close to 100 informational sessions, NACS 2022 drew the third largest crowd in the history of the event. (You can find more NACS 2022 event information here).
Despite the endless opportunities offered by the NACS Conference and Expo, for NCD, the most memorable part of NACS was the opportunity to bond with new teammates and catch up with familiar faces.
Since the joining of Allen Brothers, Century Distributors, Harold Levinson Associates, J. Polep and Wustefeld Candy, the family of distributorships have yet to make their official debut as NCD at the NACS event. As an exhibitor, NCD’s state-of-the-art 20 x 20 booth featured built in lighting, iPads to demonstrate NCD’s mobile ordering technology and samples of proprietary brand Uncle Ed’s Pantry, as well as televisions displaying videos that covered all NCD’s proprietary brands, Rachael’s USDA-certified commissary, NCD’s premium cigar program, an overview of NCD’s services including merchandising and marketing support and an ‘about us’ entitled We Are NCD.
On the NACS floor, NCD team members were able to discuss the state of the industry and strengthen their relationship with one another, learn about new products and category trends and meet with both potential and current partners – but that’s just scraping the surface. Here’s what the team had to say about their experience at NACS:
Andy Hamed, Tri-State Division Field Sales Regional Manager:
“I’ve attended NACS regularly in my previous career but being part of the show as a distributor is a whole different experience. I was extremely honored and surprised when Frank [Talarico] and Marty [Glick] asked me to be part of the show this year. From a team building perspective, this experience was absolutely priceless to me since I feel much closer to all the people who attended from all different divisions.”
“A lot of us saw the NCD booth for the first time and we were extremely impressed… Ours was welcoming and allowed our East coast personalities to shine through.”
“Christian [Beaulieu] and I had the opportunity to walk the show for a few hours and we spent a lot of time focusing on all of the foodservice vendors because this is our fastest growing category. We’ve seen a lot of equipment that would be a great fit for our customers, and we forwarded that information to Adam [Kramer] and his team to follow up. Hopefully that will be a great addition to our foodservice offering.”
“I spent a lot of time talking to different retailers, especially the ones who stopped by the booth from different parts of the country, even Alaska! I noticed that we’re all facing the same challenges regardless [of] what part of the country we’re from.”
“The energy level at the show was off the charts. I was lucky to have the opportunity to spend time with a lot of my favorite people in upper management, and especially my peers who attended the show like Scott [Katz] and Greg [Romer]. I thought for sure we were going to re-create The Hangover, but thankfully none of us came home with a face tattoo.”
Christian Beaulieu, New England Division Field Sales Regional Manager:
“This was my first time going to NACS and it was a great experience. I was proud to work our booth with my fellow employees… Each time I attend something like this with our other divisions, I become closer to them and truly feel like our family is coming together. We have a great team and I look forward to growing with them in the future.”
Ron Winson, Mid-Atlantic Division Director of Purchasing:
“I would say this was my first interaction with a lot of the NCD family. It was great to finally meet face to face. Truly a great group and looking forward to what the future brings.”
Sarah Binney, New England Division Foodservice Director:
“I had the opportunity to connect with many of our customers at the party. Some are people that I haven’t seen in quite some time. It was great to catch up with them. I was also fortunate enough to spend some time on the show floor with Tarek from Yatco. His wife and two sons were with us as we walked the floor looking for new ideas and opportunities for his chain.”
Scott Katz, Tri-State Division Field Sales Regional Manager:
“This was my first time at NACS with NCD and I thought the week was an absolute success. Our party was impressive and well-attended. Not sure how we got the fellas from Gill Energy to line dance, but that’s a testament to how much fun everyone had.”
“We had a Facetime call with Gill Energy and Tiger Buying and being outside of the normal work environments allowed for us all to get to know each other on a personal level that will continue to add to the strong relationships we already have.”
“In addition to bonding with my Tri-State teammates, I had dinner with Darren and Ron from the Mid-Atlantic [Division] and spent a lot of quality time with the New England crew. I was able to really get to know them in a way we probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise. NACS was not just a way for the industry to see who we are, but also a way for us to learn who we are becoming.”
Jeff Allen, Chief Executive Officer:
“I am so proud of the great company and family that NCD has become. Our core mission as we continue our acquisitions is to build a team that can execute the winning programs we offer to our retailers and assist them in improving their business. Being with the NCD family at our first NACS show as NCD was inspiring.”
Marty Glick, Executive Vice President of Divisional Sales:
“Our trip began with our customer party, which was an incredible event. It was a great time with great people, food, and music, all in front of the beautiful Vegas skyline. The energy both at our customer event and in NCD’s booth was amazing. There were team members there from all four of our divisions in addition to operations, purchasing, IT and marketing representation. Many came as strangers and left as friends.”
“There was so much energy on the selling floor, with the event being much better attended this year than last year. Many of our customer partners that attended the show were happy to see us and hung out in our booth for a while, as well as potential partners.”
Greg Romer, Tri-State Division Field Sales Regional Manager:
“Being that this was my first NACS show, I wasn’t fully sure what to expect. What really smacked me in the face was the amount of energy, passion and hard work that goes into making this event happen. Our retailers deserve the best and they get the best. I spoke to a lot of vendors who brought excitement, innovative ideas and many new items to this show.
“It was tremendous to spend the time with my coworkers from all divisions. I learned a lot and had a great time with them during this event. I’m truly proud to be a part of the NCD team!”
Andrea Tassinari, Marketing Director, Events and Sponsorships:
“From the marketing perspective, especially the events segment, NACS was an amazing opportunity to experience an impressive trade show on a large scale. It is always exciting to see what other companies put together to market their brand and NACS brings out everyone’s a-game. Whether it is a competitor or vendor partner, we are able to learn from each other.”
“Being NCD’s first appearance at NACS, I feel we made a strong impression! As a team, we worked together for months planning the exact message we wanted to display and it was a hit! I truly enjoyed the collaboration between different departments in the planning, implementation and concepts of the booth, message, brand and the overall team building that went on.”