Sheetz Celebrates New Concept Store In Morgantown, W.Va.

Sheetz plans to open a new concept restaurant to the students and locals of Morgantown, W.Va., on March 3.

This will be the first location for Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz that features the fuel-free concept with a complete focus on the food and beverage offerings. The store will be located on the ground floor of University Place, located at 2151 University Avenue in Morgantown.

More than two years in development, the 15,000-square-foot grocery store and café concept will serve as the first retailer to offer grocery options in the downtown Morgantown area in several years. Sheetz at University Place will be triple the size of a typical Sheetz store and will provide indoor and outdoor seating for 100 people.

In addition to the grand opening, Sheetz is offering a $10,000 scholarship to one full- or part-time West Virginia University student. As part of every grand opening, Sheetz will make a donation of $2,500 to Special Olympics Pennsylvania, a cause that is valued by the company and employees.

Sheetz opened its 500th convenience store in Thomasville, N.C., on Feb. 24 and is planning to expand its six-state region of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.

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Candy Cos. Change To More Natural Ingredients

Two major confectioners have announced plans to remove artificial flavors and colors from their chocolate products. Nestlé USA announced that it is removing artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors, like Red 40 and Yellow 5, from all of its chocolate candy products. By the end of 2015, more than 250 products and 10 brands including Butterfinger, Crunch and Baby Ruth, will be free of artificial flavors and certified colors. Products will begin appearing on store shelves by mid-2015 and will be identified by a “No Artificial Flavors or Colors” claim on-pack.

The Hershey Co. also announced that it is beginning a transition to simple and easy-to-understand ingredients. “As consumers, our relationship with food is changing. We spend more time talking and sharing with others about what we eat and why we like certain foods, than we spend actually eating. Food matters and at Hershey, we care deeply about it,” said John Bilbrey, Hershey President and CEO. “We all want and deserve to know what’s in our food,” he said. In 2015, Hershey plans to introduce new snacking products in the United States such as Brookside Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bars, and transition some of its most popular chocolate brands to simpler ingredients.

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AWMA Changes Its Name To Convenience Distribution Association

The American Wholesale Marketers Association has changed its name to the Convenience Distribution Association. The group’s s board approved the name change at its expo in Las Vegas last week.

The association is an international trade organization working on behalf of convenience distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $85 billion in U.S. convenience product sales. Associate members include manufacturers, service providers, technology companies, brokers, retailers and others allied to the convenience retailing industry.

In other news, the group announced an initiative to provide members with information and the ability to take action on state governmental developments that affect their businesses and the convenience distribution industry. The initiative has two key components—the appointment of Dirk Smith as the association’s first‐ever director of state government affairs and the launching of a new online AWMA State Advocacy Center on the group’s website, awmanet.org, which tracks key legislation in all 50 states.

The website includes a State Action Center, where AWMA members can stay abreast of major developments and easily communicate with the appropriate public officials. Four major issues of concern to member companies are state efforts to increase the minimum wage; proposed excise tobacco taxes; legislation regulating and restricting e‐cigarettes and related products; and the need for uniform reporting standards for distributors through the Federation of Tax Administrators.

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Latest Word in C-Store News...

Swisher International has formed a new company, E-Alternative Solutions, as a sister company to focus on developing, marketing and distributing electronic cigarettes and electronic vaping solutions.

• Coors Brewing Co. is introducing Coors Peak, a new, naturally gluten-free copper lager made with 100 percent all-natural ingredients. The first distribution is in the western states of Seattle and Portland areas.

• NOCO of Tonawanda, N.Y., has promoted Jim DeFilippis to VP. He also serves as general manager of the NOCO Express gas station and convenience store division.

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