The association rang in the new year with new retail member Turkey Hill Minit Market and associate members Withum and Koin Keepr.
Originally started in Lancaster by brothers Charles and Emerson Frey, Turkey Hill Minit Market aimed to provide quality products and excellent service. Turkey Hill grew to 270 stores, offering Turkey Hill products and other snacks, beverages and conveniences. Today, as part of EG America, Turkey Hill continues its commitment to quality, excellence and convenience. Turkey Hill joined PFMA as a retail member in February.
Withum is a forward-thinking, technology-driven advisory and accounting firm, helping clients to “be in a position of strength.” Whether a client is looking to strengthen business continuity and disaster recovery plans to better prepare for future business disruptions or secure their IT systems and enhance the digital workplace, Withum’s advisory and accounting professionals offer innovative solutions to help businesses succeed. Withum became an associate member in January.
Koin Keepr is a software startup that aims to provide software solutions for retailers. Koin Keepr is changing the way retailers handle change—helping consumers save loose coins and, in return, helping store owners provide frictionless services to consumers. The startup joined as an associate member in January.
While working as a cashier at a convenience store, Krutik Patel noticed an odd trend. Each day, a young customer came in to buy a drink. Each day, he paid in cash and left his change.
After a few days, Patel spoke up, pointing out that the customer easily could have covered the purchase of additional drinks with his loose change. The customer’s response? “I don’t want it. It’s annoying.”
Patel was surprised, as change certainly adds up over time. Sharing this experience with his childhood friend, Kashish Shah, the two decided to do some research. Patel’s regular customer was not the only one leaving his change, especially in the world of convenience stores.
The pair discovered that the average American has about $60 in change sitting around their house, according to Coinstar Research. They also found that more than 60% of customers still pay with cash at convenience stores.
“We wanted to do something big,” Patel said. “We looked at the problem, did some research, looked at the market and saw what was out there.”
Patel is an undergraduate student at Penn State University majoring in computer science. Shah graduated in management with a focus on finance. With their combined experience, they came up with a solution for both customers and businesses.
“The problem is changing these coins to dollar bills, and we wanted to solve that,” Shah said.
From there, Koin Keepr was born—a software startup that aims to provide software solutions for retail businesses. Patel works as co-founder and CEO, while Shah is co-founder and COO. To get the ball—or change—rolling, they partnered with Penn State, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA and the Small Business Development Center.
Patel and Shah determined that consumers often lost their change or found it difficult to use. It fell under car seats, jingled in pockets or got tossed in a jar in the closet. Plus, with the growth of touchless payment, the perceived value of change is increasingly ignored.
On the other side, a national coin shortage makes cash transactions difficult for retailers, they said. Patel and Shah found that many retailers are using incentives to get customers to bring in their change jars. Running out of change can lead to poor customer experiences and additional bank runs during the day.
Similar to a store loyalty card, the Koin Keepr concept uses a bar code tag that can be access on a card or through a smartphone. Customers receive their change digitally through this method and, as the change adds up, can use it for future purchases at the store.
“It helps customers save change and makes it easier for them,” Shah said.
Right now, each store would register its own Koin Keepr account. For example, if Patel purchased a drink at C-store A, his change could be accessed to make a purchase at C-store A in the future. The change he accumulated at C-store B would be accessible for a future purchase under C-store B. As a customer, Patel would have one Koin Keepr account showing the change he accumulated at different stores that use Koin Keepr.
At this stage, Patel and Shah are ready to get Koin Keepr in front of retailers. “We want to talk to businesses,” Patel said. “We’ll provide everything they need and train them to use the service. It’s actually easy and saves time over the current system.”
During the proof-of-concept stage, the service to retailers is free of cost and includes all training to all employees involved. The money never leaves the retailer’s control, Patel said.
Right now, it’s all about making sure things are working as they should and getting business owners to play with the software, Patel said. After that, Patel and Shah will integrate into their existing point-of-sales systems and onboard more stores to provide new innovative services and improve experiences.
Patel and Shah are eager to share their solution and gain feedback from businesses. “We’re open to talking with anyone. We value their time,” Patel said.
“This is a new concept and new business service. It takes time to accept it in the market, but once it gets in the market, it’s a convenience in the market for the people and for the businesses.”
For more information or to schedule a meeting, call (814) 419-4515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your top three legislative priorities in 2022? My legislative agenda is focused on creating new job opportunities for Pennsylvanians, improving education and empowering parents and protecting our communities. We made progress toward all these goals in 2021 by passing bills supporting educational choice and parental involvement, supporting businesses impacted by the pandemic, promoting new business development and strengthening services for crime victims.
What are the biggest concerns you hear from your constituents? Many of the concerns I hear from community residents are focused on the problems people experience every day: rising costs for basic necessities, concerns about potential tax increases and issues pertaining to schools or other branches of government. That’s why these issues drive my legislative agenda in Harrisburg.
Where do you shop locally for food? We primarily shop at our local Weis or at the Wegmans in State College if we need something specific. Centre County is also lucky to have many farm markets that feature some of the best products our local agriculture industry has to offer.
What is your favorite vacation destination? For me, the destination really doesn’t matter so long as I get to spend time with my family. Having that time to relax and reconnect with the people I love is what matters most.
Inflation and supply chain issues have created new burdens on grocers locally and statewide. These are concerns that were unimaginable a few years ago, but now need to be confronted to prevent disruptions in the lives of all Pennsylvanians.
What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district? Inflation and supply chain issues have created new burdens on grocers locally and statewide. These are concerns that were unimaginable a few years ago, but now need to be confronted to prevent disruptions in the lives of all Pennsylvanians.
What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator? Partisanship always creates challenges because it often impedes the ability of lawmakers to work together toward meaningful solutions.
However, despite those challenges, I am proud to have worked to address some of the biggest problems our state has faced over the past 20-plus years, including historic reforms to our state’s pension system and our transportation infrastructure funding.
One of our biggest and most recent successes was the creation of a tax credit program that brought a $6 billion investment into Pennsylvania. A new lower carbon gasoline manufacturing facility will create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent positions to our commonwealth.
What is your favorite snack on a long session day? I am not much of a snacker, but if I need something quick, I usually grab pretzels.
What do you like to do for fun? I am never happier than when I’m spending time with my wife and kids. I love watching my kids play sports, and as a family, we have many talks about what is going on in each other’s lives. This allows us to always stay connected.
Liz Kemmery, director of communications