Meyer & Associates

                Evolutions & Opportunities - You can't Afford to be Average!
  by Richard A. Meyer
  presented to New York Association of Convenience Stores, Buffalo, NY
  May 13, 1998




  • Evolution – a gradual unfolding, as the evolution of a flower from the bud
NACS was 38 years old this year; we’re hardly middle age
  • Opportunity – a favorable opening for moves to one’s own advantage
Practiced category management, focused foodservice, funding
  • Opportunist – one who takes advantage of circumstances
Silent sellers, smart/strategic buyers, prepared with a plan

Evolution – 1950 to 2000

  • 1950s – traditional c-stores, minimal gas; majors/independents with little grocery

Entrepreneurs/founders, debt leverage, lower costs, inflation

  • 1970s – self-service gas to c-stores; merchandise to majors and petroleum marketers…to protect share of market

Initial "toe in water" approach, then aggressive fuel marketing, many unbranded sites

  • 1990s – reorganizations; branded fast foods; "branding up" on gas; EPA; financial services; technology; politics of tobacco – litigation/NAs; new gas retailers

Many sites closed (XIs), subs/ tacos/pizza, cleanups, ATMs & lottery, PCs/CRINDS/scanning, CTS outlets, supers add gas

  • Industry trends – not much to shout about upon review of last 2 years, 20 years; increased dependency on cigarettes

See per-store comparisons of NACS (& CSNews) data for last 2/20 years + cigarettes profile

  • Current threats – labor; supermarkets/ mass marketers will continue to add gas; cigarette margin % will decline

See special research on new competition; CM and CSL = new acronyms

  • New millenium – best sites/merchants, best funded players, and smartest management will sustain & grow!

Not a "rocket science" formula, but a rare combination; discipline and execution = success!



Reflections and Opportunities

  • Post 1940s – more people were born since 1950 than the total of the prior 4 million years

This reality dramatizes our world economy and its overall dynamics

  • Blips vs trends – PacMan came and went, lottery came (may go), foodservice and services will increase, tobacco will remain

A company’s responsiveness to new "trends" or "blips" will differentiate them in the market

  • Politics – tobacco the latest "goat"; beware of next "cause" by litigators/ ambulance chasers – beer/McDonalds?

Push "personal accountability" by clerks and underage minors; push for tort reform too!

  • Native Americans – license to steal not understood by public as its politically incorrect for the media to report facts

Make the picture clearer; fight fire with fire; get country to hear "representation without taxation"

  • Virgin companies – Wal-Mart, Federal Express, Subway, Microsoft, NACS

On the whole, these behemoths aren’t even 40 years old

  • Virgin concepts – voice mail, Internet, cellular phones, on-line brokers, smart cards, universal price books

For the most part, these concepts are at the K-12 levels; smart cards will be major for us!

  • Leadership still counts – General Scwharzkopf, Sam Walton, Roberto Goizueta, Bill Gates

Leaders make the difference; they possess mission, passion, tenacity and a sense of urgency

  • Arsenal to succeed – education, information, intelligence, marketing and strategic analysis

You’ll not succeed in a vacuum; those having and using these "tools" will be the new leaders!


For biographical information on Dick Meyer
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