Micro Market Report From The NACS Show – The Sky's A Bit Cloudy!

Oct. 22, 2015

I spent a long day at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show in Las Vegas, checking to see if Micro Markets had hit the radar in the Convenience Store world.  As most of us from the Vending Industry would agree, we would like to keep this Micro Market segment siloed to our Industry and don’t need increased competition from the Convenience Store world, opening up a whole new Paradigm.  But on the other hand, I do believe that if and when they do enter it, which may be sooner than we would all like, it won’t be as easy as they may think or are being told. Delivery of products to multiple locations is different than having distributors deliver to a store where employees can stock shelves. Convenience store operators lack skills in dealing with human resource personnel and customer service requests. I also believe there will be fewer optimal locations than they think. The Vending and Micro Market Operator has already done a good job to secure most locations under contracts, etc.  As I have always advocated and encouraged, our Industry should continue to secure those locations while there is still a land grab opportunity for micro markets. 

As I walked over 20,000 steps equating to nearly 6 miles of show floor viewing hundreds of aisles and over 1,000 booths, I tried not to miss anything that might be of interest to report to our Industry on the Micro Market front.

I had made it through about 95% of the show thinking that we have made it another year without calling a bunch of attention to our Industry’s new market segment, when I turned the corner and came across a full blown Micro Market display.  The advertising stated to the Convenience Store Audience, “Your Next Store Location is in 1000s of Break Rooms in your City” (See picture). So much for keeping this under the radar!  I spoke with Patrick McMullan, President of Three Square Market at his booth about this.  He said he felt this was an important audience for Three Square Market to sell to as some of his best operators crossed over between the two channels. Maybe so, but with myself having almost 40 years in the Vending Industry, I guess I am still too protective of this industry, to feel that way.