Joining AATAC means that our retailers will meet quality companies with products and services that will help you prosper.

The Chips That Made the Trip

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — In mid-September, I drove 1,012 miles from Chicago to the North Carolina coast for a 3.8-ounce bag of Utz potato chips. It was an impulse purchase.

It’s approximately 2,500-miles, round-trip from Chicago to the Southeast. I picked up a few items one night at a Southport, N.C., Murphy Express convenience store. It was there in that line, in a salty-snacks display, that I saw a brand I had not seen before in the flesh: Utz potato chips.

Maybe the allure was the script on the bag proclaiming, “The Crab Chip with Chesapeake Bay Crab Seasoning.” Maybe it was the fact I had Utz burned into my memory bank from watching everything from Yankee’s games on ESPN to The Office.

The impulse purchase had another strong motivator: I can’t get Utz chips in my Chicago-area c-store or supermarket. Traveling can bring out an extra impulse-buying trigger in consumers—something called “impulse squared.” At home, impulse buying is X but on the road it reaches a higher plane. It’s a supply and demand issue.

People are obsessed with brands not sold in their local market.

Travelers to Chicago have a burning desire for Chicago’s own Jay’s Potato Chips and Lou Malnati’s pizza. And we know how folks would have given their left arm in the 1970s for a 12-pack of Coors beer before it gained national distribution.

My c-store impulse opportunities didn’t end with Utz. One that I resisted was plopping down $12.99 for a sharp-looking purple and orange Virginia Tech ball cap at a Pilot Travel Center in Lambsburg, Va. I came this close to that purchase—music to retailers’ ears.

The takeaway from this road-trip narrative is this: Imagine if c-store retailers had a better inside track on the tendencies of travelers—the ones obsessed with regional, iconic brands like Utz chips. Ones like me who bought a bag even though there were plenty of salty snacks back at the hotel. People get geeked at the thought of buying brands they can’t get locally. It’s a goldmine for retailers if they can crack the code.

In my case, the scale for impulse buying had one wrinkle: I own a Toyota Prius, and you might understand what that means: an otherworldly MPG performance, which translates to fewer fuel stops and less spent per fillup.

Click here to read the full road-trip report on the new Convenience Store Products website.

Steve Dwyer


About jota

Vendor Application


Toll Free: 888-662-7780

Here at AATAC we are always looking for companies that may enhance our member’s businesses and better the industry as a whole. If you are interested in becoming a preferred vendor within our network please fill out this information form.

Send info and materials to our receivables office:

503 E. Jackson St. STE# 141
Tampa, FL. 33602



Answer the Question of the Day by filling in the information below and send it to us for your chance to win the prizes and exclusive discounts offered only to our members!



Located on the front page of our national website is a field called “Question Of The Day” (QOD). Each day we post a different question about the products and services that are presented through our website. The answer to this question can be found on one of our partner’s web pages. Our members will navigate through the preferred vendors page to find the answer to your question while subconsciously educating themselves about your company! AATAC effectively selects members who answer the question correctly to win rewards which include; rebates, complimentary services, cash, promotional offers from vendors, prizes, giveaways, etc. *Your QOD should be 1-2 sentences in length and can not name a specific product or company within the question. 

Here are some examples:

Which preferred vendor offers your customers a 99% accurate drug test that reads results in five minutes?  

One of our partner’s provides important compliance training classes in a virtual setting for a low cost. Who is it?


Your Vendor Category

When your logo and redirect are added to our preferred vendors catalog it offers two very important elements to members:

  1. It tells them that your company has been vetted and approved for business within our network. 
  2. It encourages them to visit your website where they can learn more about your company.