Editor's Letter: The Pleasure Is All Mine

Hi. I’m Abbey. No. Not that one—the other one. I’m that other Abbey.

It’s a pleasure to meet you.

I’m not totally new here. I started with CSP a few months after the other Abbie, Convenience Store Products’ former editor Abbie Westra, did.

Back then, I used to fill my purse with back issues of the magazine every night, copying down terms such as “jobber,” “forecourt,” “EBITDA” and “SKU.” I read over their definitions when I was up in the night with my infant son William.

He’s 7 years old now. And I think I finally figured out what a jobber is.

A lot has changed for me since then. A lot has changed for you, too.

In the six years that have passed since I started in this industry, our pulse has slowed, jumped and began its normal rhythm again. The industry endured SCHIP, the Great Recession, the housing crisis, data breaches, volatile gas prices and unsustainably high interchange fees. In light of what we’ve been through, we Abbey/ies thought it would be a good time to check that pulse again.

The first-of-its-kind Retailer Forecast Survey serves as our introduction, a firm handshake out to the industry as a whole, from the editors that cover it to your competitor down the street. We asked you about category trends. We asked you how you put products on your shelves. We asked how we could help. And you answered.

“I think the issue is that we don’t get enough trends,” one respondent told us. “When there is a big trend ([such as] frozen yogurt 4 to 5 years ago) it sweeps the nation, but there are minor trends that are happening that we aren’t necessarily aware of. We have tried to be an early adapter now, rather than a follower in one to two years.”

“Report on food offerings from the restaurant industry,” another survey respondent said. “I like to be in the forefront and not follow. To do that I need to know what QSRs and fast casual are doing.”

And another: “All it takes is one idea to help us profit, so I keep searching for information ...”

We get it.

Your desire to stay one step ahead is what got the industry through the struggles that started with the Great Recession and ended with record-breaking in-store sales in 2014. It’s not an easy job—but this spirit of competition and growth is what makes this industry special. And I’m proud that it’s become my job to help you along the way.

Now that we’ve been properly introduced, I’d like to return that firm handshake along with my promise that we will work to be your industry trend spotters. We will continue to look as far as we can down the road of product innovation and consumer habits and demands.

I look forward to being your eyes and your ears. And now that we’re friends, please feel free to reach out to me with your concerns, questions or great ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.

It’s nice to meet you again. Believe me, the pleasure is all mine.