We’ve asked our Awards Evaluation Panel to share how innovation helps to drive their businesses…

Kelly Bannon

Kelly Bannon

Senior Category Manager, QuickChek Corporation

Innovation is a huge driver of our business.  It is extremely important not to swing the pendulum too far away from the core but being first to market and getting behind each manufacturers’ “A-Launches” can be key to hitting the year-end number.  

Sarah Bibbs

Sarah Bibbs

Senior Director of Merchandising, Eby Brown

Innovation is key to driving growth in the categories.  Providing new items that incorporate trending flavors, textures and packaging helps provide excitement within the categories.

Ashley Borden

Ashley Borden

Category Director, Murphy USA

With the ever-changing customer profile, innovation is imperative across category assortments.  The customers want to be at the forefront of any new trend.  It is our job to be there for them.

Bob Craigmyle

Bob Craigmyle

ACM – Candy, Kroger

Innovation helps keep the category fresh and appealing to our Customers. Kroger will heavily support new item launches with displays/price to capture sales and share.

Jim Hachtel

Jim Hachtel

Director of Category Management, Eby-Brown, a PFG Company

Innovation in all forms…products, merchandising, insights, and technology are keys to success for us as we support the needs of our customer’s stores, and the consumers that shop them every day. Innovation brings excitement, customizes offers, speeds transactions, and helps our retail partners best meet the needs of their customers in this fast-paced, ever-changing world.

Rich Jacobs

Rich Jacobs

Director, RaceTrac Petroleum

A large percentage of our YOY growth is from innovation. Innovation also helps us retain our current guest and attract new consumers.

Peter Kempton

Peter Kempton

Category Manager, Travel Centers of America

Innovation keeps the category fresh and exciting. It’s a great way to interact with our guests and drive additional sales dollars.

Brian Nuzum

Brian Nuzum

Category Manager, Casey’s General Stores

Having new and innovative products in conjunction with a strong core assortment, is key to attracting new guests to the categories, as well as satisfying our guests ever-changing flavor profiles.

Todd Gean

Todd Gean

Category Manager – Candy, Hy-Vee, Inc.

Innovation creates excitement and makes us relevant with our consumers.

Natran Rezene (Nati)

Director of Marketing and Category Management, Core-Mark International

Innovation is what helps to keep us competitive and relevant in a world and an industry that is changing at all times. Innovation also drives continuous engagement, excitement and curiosity that keeps our consumers coming for more.

Lindy Smith

Lindy Smith

Senior Director of Category Management, Maverik

Innovation drives trial and builds baskets and hopefully repeat purchase.

Meredith Stringer

Meredith Stringer

Director of Merchandising – Bulk/Candy/Coffee, The Fresh Market

Innovation adds elements of surprise and delight that create a positive customer experience. Continued focus on innovative items and assortments drives sales and keeps customers dedicated and engaged.