NACS or NAG? The Value of Industry Associations

NACS or NAG?  The Value of Industry Associations

NACS or NAG? The Value of Industry Associations

Have you ever wondered if you should join an industry association?  And, if so, how do you know which one to join?  There are several good reasons to consider joining an industry association, including networking, learning from peers and experts and industry advancement.

Let’s look at two c-store industry associations worth consideration.


The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show is coming up in just a couple of weeks.  More than 23,000 people are expected to attend and it is always a high energy show filled with the best speakers and content for the convenience store industry.  It is without a doubt the premier event of the year.  NACS does a fantastic job representing the industry and providing a forum for learning, buying and selling, networking and fun.


We recently sponsored the National Advisory Group (NAG) annual conference in Santa Fe, NM.  About 170 people attended, a pretty even mix of retailers and sponsors.  Several Quantum Services clients were there.  NAG’s niche is small to mid-size and family-owned chains.  There really is no comparison to NACS in size and scope.

What makes NAG relevant?

The atmosphere is more intimate.  These folks are friends as well as sometimes competitors.  There is a real willingness to share and help each other improve their business.  There is nothing showy about NAG… just some of the industry’s best operators attending an event that feels like a family reunion.

Some of our favorite takeaways:

  • Shannon Harvey, Ricker Oil – The big payoff with food service ordering kiosks is programmed suggestive selling is far more effective than taking the order verbally.
  • Rachel Mehl, Wallis Oil – Excellence only comes if you are able to quickly determine what you did wrong and be willing to go back and fix it.
  • Glenn Plumby, Speedway – Every first year DM is assigned a coach and mentor for life.
  • Rick Hamilton, Tri Star Energy – Advertising “Fresh” in your food service offering is a cop out. It’s a minimum expectation now.  The challenge is to create a “differentiated food experience”.  Twice Daily stores differentiate with a dedicated food service host and lots of sampling.

So, what is the value of industry associations? 

Depends on what your objectives are.  But whether you attend NACS or NAG or one of the many other c-store forums, the value is not only in the information you get but what you can give.  Industry associations exist to advance the industry as a whole and active participation by members is critical.

So we hope to see you at an industry event soon and if you can’t wait until then to talk about c-store inventory audits reach out to us anytime.

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