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Meet GasBuddy’s New Analyst For Convenience Store Trends

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Convenience stores are about more than fueling our cars and trucks.

Whether it’s healthful snacks, coffee and breakfast, or even high-quality foodservice, convenience stores fuel our bodies too. They’ve become a go-to destination and a vital part of our communities—evolving, changing, and expanding to add the services and features that we demand.

That’s what I’m here to talk about.

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Pilot’s new PJ Fresh stores are full of quality options for everyone.

 

My name is Frank Beard, and I’m the new Analyst/Evangelist for Convenience Store and Retail Trends here at GasBuddy. Not only am I excited to be a part of this talented team, but I look forward to shining the spotlight on the great things that are happening right now in the convenience store industry.

It’s a real passion of mine.

Last year, I visited more than 1,000 convenience stores in 24 states. I traveled across the country four to five days every week as a busy professional, and many of my meals were consumed on-the-go. Whether it was breakfast at Sheetz, dinner at Ricker’s, locally-produced snacks from independent stores like 36 Lyn in Minneapolis, or raw almonds and fruit from Love’s Travel Stops, I became intimately familiar with the choices that are available at convenience stores.

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I stopped at a Ricker’s in Indianapolis for a quick dinner.

 

That’s why I decided to create an experiment called 30 Days of Gas Station Food.

I’ve struggled with my weight in the past. I eventually reached more than 240 pounds in my early twenties, and although that may not sound like a lot to some folks, it’s a lot for someone my size. I eventually took charge of the situation and established healthful, sustainable habits. In the end, I was able to lose 80 pounds.

These days, however, I’m an active endurance athlete. Distance running and cycling are a big part of my life.

But having gone through that transition, I became tuned-in to the discussion about healthy living and noticed something: eating out is often treated as if it’s a part of the problem—especially regarding weight gain.

But that’s not true.

In order to dispel the myth, I spent one month eating exclusively at gas stations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks—everything. I tracked each calorie on MyFitnessPal and documented the entire experience.

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During the first week of my experiment, I purchased this salad from a QuikTrip near Dallas.

 

That’s when I became passionate about convenience stores. Rather than being an obstacle to my health, I frequently found quality food. I also discovered that the industry is actively working to make healthful options available to its customers.

Since then, I’ve become an in-demand speaker and used my experience to share insights with leading companies and organizations within the industry. For example, I spoke last year at the 2016 NACS Show—the premier convenience store event with more than 25,000 attendees. The people I’ve met, the companies I’ve interacted with—there’s so many innovative and exciting things happening in the industry.

That’s why I’m excited to join the team at GasBuddy.

Not only was I already a fan of the app but GasBuddy is committed to working with retail partners and educating the public about just how much the industry has evolved.

And I plan to do just that.

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Did you ever think you’d see this many craft beers on tap in a gas station? I had a great time at Kent Couch’s Stop and Go in Bend, OR.

 

The new role provides a platform to expand my focus and discuss all of the great things happening at conveniences stores—not just the healthful options. Craft beer on tap, online ordering, small-business success stories, high-quality coffee and beverages—there’s just so much to talk about. And thanks to the ratings and reviews that you submit using the GasBuddy app, I have access to a tremendous amount of information from which new stories and trends will emerge.

This is an exciting, new journey for me. Stay tuned.

 

Checkout Frank’s first Facebook Live HERE

Analyst, Convenience Store and Retail Trends

Frank Beard is a passionate advocate for convenience stores who brings a wide range of experience to the GasBuddy team. His "30 Days of Gas Station Food" experiment has raised awareness of the fact that most — if not all — convenience stores have healthful options available. He's spoken at events like the 2016 NACS Show and the Partnership for a Healthier America's 2017 Summit, and he's a contributor to NACS Magazine and NACS Daily. Having visited more than 1,000 convenience stores in 24 states, Frank helps communicate the fact that convenience stores truly are the perfect pit stop.