The Southeast Petro Food Marketing Exposition at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center kicked off Wednesday, March 4, with several retailer educational workshop options in the morning before opening several large booth-filled rooms throughout the exhibition facility, living up to its slogan, “The Really Big Expo.”
The show occupies nearly every large room in this seaside resort town’s convention space – and the attendees and vendors need every bit of it. Most visiting retailers hail from the Southeast, but a few of the visitors to the CStore Decisions booth traveled here from as far away as Michigan, Massachusetts and California.
Those exhibit halls at Southeast Petro host plenty of vendor booths featuring products from hot foodservice to menu signage, fuel pumps to EMV software solutions, store interior construction specialists and exterior signage experts.
Curiously, there were a noticeable number of retailers searching for interior and exterior building designers and contractors. Several stopped by the CSD booth, some looking to remake a single, recently purchased store and others with a few dozen locations who are planning a fresh look inside and out.
Like other shows, food samples abound at Southeast Petro. And Coke and Pepsi offered more than enough of their wide array of beverages, from their classics to new innovations, with sprawling exhibit space and beverages stacked for the taking.
But those two giants of the beverage industry are by no means the only thirst-quenchers here. Flavored and functional bottled water is well represented, as are any number of ready-to-drink (RTD) energy and coffee innovations. Bottled and canned coffees seem to be going in every direction, including a small canned latte here that bills itself as a “hard” malt beverage, with 5% alcohol content.
If you like chicken, this is the place to be. The same goes for pizza. The sampling is around every corner and nearly all of it excellent. There’s plenty of proof at Southeast Petro that competition vying for c-store foodservice space is quite robust.
Wednesday morning’s seminar/workshop offerings included five options for the early session including “Customer Engagement & Buying Habits” and “eCommerce and Delivery,” as well as “EMV at the Pump – The Options Available for Financing Jobbers & Dealers,” which covered options to pay for EMV upgrades, equipment financing, banks, contractors and other avenues.
Another early workshop collared ways to take advantage of one of the fastest growing market segments, “Tapping Into the 3.6 Billion Dollar Dog Treat Market.” The fifth early option, “Screening, Hiring & Retaining Employees,” provided guidance in hiring and retention, making yourself an employer of choice.
The morning’s second session offered a choice between “Lotto Inventory Management” or “Creative Ways to Pay Less for Health Insurance.”
Thursday morning’s session, “Spring 2020 Regulatory Workshop,” addressed changes in South Carolina’s underground storage tank system requirements.
For attendees and exhibitors, parking at the Southeast Petro is remarkably easy. While you’ll pay $5.00 to park, the lot is immediately adjacent to the building and the walk inside is no further than what you’d have at a busy shopping mall. Good thing, too. Myrtle Beach saw some rain over the two-day conference stretch.
For c-store retailers, whatever service, product or networking had to be done, the Southeast Petro Show is a good place to do it.