LAS VEGAS – The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing (NACS), the association representing convenience store and gas station operators, reported its highest attendance ever along with a show-record exhibit floor for the Oct. 7-10 event at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The crowd of 25,159 eclipsed the previous record of 24,940 set last year while exhibit space also broke the 2017 record with 431,800 net square feet (nsf).
The 2017 show featured 425,800 nsf of exhibit space, which placed the NACS Show at No. 36 on the current Trade Show Executive Gold 100. The growth in 2018 came despite little change in the exhibitor count of 1,250.
Organizers at NACS told TSE that keen interest in new products and equipment within the industry has gained momentum as consumers look for more efficiency and offerings at the corner market or freeway gas station. “Our buyer count was up because ‘convenience’ continues to resonate as an offer with consumers,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS Vice President, Strategic Industry Initiatives. “Everyone wants convenience, and the whole concept of the disruption that is affecting all of retail is really another way of looking at convenience.”
The aisles featured 182 first-time sellers. The turnout of rookies created a vibrant atmosphere in the show’s New Exhibitor area. The separate Cool New Products Preview Room included 194 exhibitors providing first looks at more than 300 different new products. Visitors were given handheld scanners to help keep track of the inventory on display, which generated a show-record 37,874 individual product scans.
And to assist attendees with their buying decisions, the show offered 64 educational sessions on four main tracks as well as the specialized TechEdge at NACS for IT professionals in the convenience-store industry.
Meanwhile, one other record set at this year’s NACS Show was the 142,829 pounds of leftover food collected from exhibitors and donated to a Nevada food bank. NACS and Tyson Foods chipped in with another truckload of 31,500 pounds of foods to help the needy as the holiday season approaches.