It’s a set of personal questions that have enormous economic implications, one asked on family Zoom calls and in market research surveys alike: Have you received your stimulus check yet? How have/will you spend it? I’ve saved mine thus far, my best friend just bought a Yamaha keyboard with his. My mother paid down some debt, and a dear friend who has been out of work since the lockdowns began put his directly toward rent.
Last night, my boyfriend surprised me with sushi. For my birthday, he’d planned on taking me out to one of LA’s hottest sushi spots (SUGARFISH!) but, obviously, our state-imposed lockdown rotted that plan before it even got out of the water. So, though he said we would just postpone (you know, till things get normal again) he was actually making magic happen, ordering a birthday boy’s feast to-go, paying a little extra for a rushed delivery, and getting it all done without my knowledge.
Whether you work in the grocery industry or just rely upon it, it is at the top of your mind right now owing to the vital role it plays in keeping everybody fed and safe in the midst of what is becoming our new collective nightmare. It is a national barometer telling us how panicked people have become and how much they are already altering their routines; grocery stores have also become a flashpoint where these changes play out before us. Every day for the past couple of weeks, news outlets report on the chaos unfolding and how different grocery stores are rising to the challenge.
It is a transitional moment for convenience stores and today’s decisions will shape the industry for the decades to come. Owing to three pivotal trends c-stores must embrace or reject (fresh food, frictionless checkout, and cannabis sales), a new crop of omnichannel grocery competitors, and continued concerns regarding safety, c-store operators have a lot to think about moving into the new decade.
The cannabis industry, though becoming more accepted and mainstream every day, remains shrouded in uncertainty and even taboo. This obscures the many ways the industry will, and indeed already is, shaping retail, manufacturing, grocery, c-store, and food service.