A flex fuel retailer panel will be part of the general session lineup again this year at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 33rd annual conference on the afternoon of August 25 in Omaha, Nebraska, co-located with the Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo. ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty will moderate a discussion between returning panelist Randy Gard, Chief Operating Officer of Bosselman Enterprises, owner of the Nebraska-based Pump & Pantry convenience store chain, and first-time panelist Jake Comer, Fuel Pricing Manager of Casey’s General Stores.

Coming off of the second summer of year-round access to E15, waiting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to award grants under its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), and recovering from the drop in fuel and in-store demand during the global health pandemic, the ACE conference in August will provide these retailers with a timely platform to speak on a number of issues.

“Even with this year’s abbreviated agenda, we’re bringing back the retailer panel because it offers content unique to the FEW and allows attendees the opportunity to hear firsthand from fuel marketers about how our industry can help them sell more of the product we produce. That will be more critical than ever, faced with the nosedive in ethanol demand brought on by COVID-19,” Lamberty said. “Randy and Jake will be able to speak to the success of adding E15 and higher ethanol blends at a growing number of Pump & Pantry’s and Casey’s c-store locations. Throw COVID-19 into the mix and USDA getting ready to award HBIIP funds, and as usual, we’ll have plenty of topics to discuss.”

“Casey’s is relatively new to E15, but we’ve moved swiftly with more than 250 stores offering Unleaded88 today,” Comer said. “I’m excited to share our journey with attendees of the ACE conference and discuss what we’ve learned about successfully marketing the product.”

“We recognized the value proposition E15 and E85 offered us to increase gallons, customer count, and average customer spend at our locations early on,” Gard said. “Following my remarks last year on stage with President Trump when he publicly announced E15 year-round, we’ve continued to grow our sales volume of E15 and flex fuel. Last year, we sold over 6 million gallons, compared to 600,000 gallons in 2016, which shows if you put the fuels in place and price them right, the customers will come, and I look forward to sharing more on these efforts from the ACE conference stage.”