Henry “Hank” Armour, NACS
We believe that to truly succeed, you have to think big.
— Henry “Hank” Armour, NACS
Under his leadership, NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, has become an increasing force to be reckoned with through its efforts to connect c-store operators and lawmakers; keep a level playing field in everything from credit card fees to tobacco sales regulation; and help retailers navigate labor and benefits issues.
Bouchard is perhaps best noted for being a shrewd acquirer of convenience store assets and for successfully integrating these diverse acquisitions within a decentralized management structure. He has always felt that decentralization is the only way to build a company where the model is to adapt to the local communities.
Alain Bouchard, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
The father-and-son team created an iconic
c-store chain, which today operates nearly 800 stores. Chester’s founding philosophy of continuous evolution and a commitment to hiring good people and promoting from within remains an integral part of QT’s continued success today under Chet’s leadership.
Chester & Chet Cadieux, QuikTrip Corp.
If you try to do that in a big, centralized office, it won’t be successful. Being decentralized is a big, big thing for us.
— Alain Bouchard, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
— Henry “Hank” Armour, NACS
Chet has taken a company and platform built by his father and taken it to new heights, while redefining convenience.
Hubbard is well-known for being a champion for the convenience store industry and a trailblazer in everything she does. She broke ground for women in the industry, serving as the first female chair of NACS from 2008-2009 and then becoming the first woman inducted into the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame in 2010.
Sonja Hubbard, E-Z Mart Stores Inc.
UPON RECEIVING HER CSNEWS HALL OF FAME ACCOLADE, SONJA HUBBARD SAID SHE HOPED HER INDUCTION WAS A SYMBOL OF HOW FAR THE CONVENIENCE STORE INDUSTRY HAS COME WITH RESPECT TO WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES.
The Sheetz family has run its Altoona, Pa.-based convenience store business for 67 years. Bob, Steve and Stan Sheetz each played a part in transforming the family business from a single dairy store to an industry-leading chain of 580 “convenience restaurants” known for continuous innovation.
Bob, Steve & Stan Sheetz, Sheetz Inc.
In 1964, he succeeded his father and stepped up to the position of president and CEO, a role he held for 30 years. The most significant milestone in his tenure was computerizing the distribution system. Being the first to do so is lauded as a key part of the continued success of McLane Co. Inc. today.
Drayton McLane Jr., McLane Group
The Casey’s co-founder headed the chain for 35 years before stepping down as CEO in 1998 and taking on the role of chairman of the board. Lamberti is credited with creating the Casey’s strategy of establishing stores in communities with a population of 5,000 or less.
Don Lamberti, Casey’s General Stores Inc.
— Steve Sheetz, Sheetz Inc.
We are constantly trying to find out what customers want and what we can do to give it to them. We want to create the stores that will put the Sheetz stores as we know them today out of business.
— An industry insider
Perhaps more than any other individual, Drayton McLane was instrumental in developing the c-store supply chain we now have.”
From that first store Opening in 1968, Casey’s General Stores has exploded today into a business that operates 2,123 Midwest locations, more than half of which are in areas with 5,000 or fewer people.
Many of convenience retailing’s notable “firsts” occurred under the Thompson family’s watch. Jodie grew The Southland Ice Co. – the forerunner to 7-Eleven – to 600 stores. John and Jere introduced the first coffee in to-go cups, self-serve soda fountains and 24-hour operations. Iconic products such as Slurpee frozen beverages, Big Gulp fountain drinks and Big Bite hot dogs were also introduced by the Thompson family— and are still sold in 7-Eleven stores today.
Jere, Jodie & John Thompson, The Southland Corp.
The founder and CEO of Kwik Trip has been a visionary in the convenience store world since starting the business in 1972. Early on, he saw the advantages of vertical integration, which included building a state-of-the-art distribution system. Kwik Trip was also one of the first chains to fully embrace the notion that c-stores can be a food destination.
Don Zietlow, Kwik Trip Inc.
Wawa’s place in the daily lives of U.S. consumers dates back to the turn of the 20th century when George Wood shifted his interest from a New Jersey iron foundry to the dairy farm business in 1902. His grandson, Grahame Wood, then took the business and its milk delivery service to the next level with the creation of Wawa Food Markets. Richard “Dick” Wood, the last Wood family member to serve as chief executive of Wawa, was at the helm of the company as it climbed to the upper echelon of the U.S. convenience channel.
George, Grahame & Richard “Dick” Wood, Wawa Inc.
Every week, individuals from companies throughout the world visit Kwik Trip’s campus in La Crosse, Wis.,
to tour its facilities.
The industry learned how to become close to the local communities and raise money for charitable causes. ...The industry grew a heart.
— Dick Wood, Wawa Inc.
We had to be agile. The products we stocked and
sold were always changing to meet customers’ needs.
— Jere Thompson, The Southland Corp.
Vasilios and Aphrodite founded Cumberland Farms dairy 80 years ago. In 1957, the couple opened the first Cumberland Farms milk store in Bellingham, Mass., and then in 1962, their milk stores added an entire range of products, becoming New England’s first true convenience store. Their daughter Lily carried on the family legacy. She held various leadership positions at Cumberland Farms for more than 40 years and now serves as chair of the board.
Vasilios & Aphrodite Haseotes and Lily Haseotes Bentas
Cumberland Farms Inc.
During his tenure as president of SIGMA, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, Bolch inspired retailers to join together to support their own interests over those of refiners, marking the first time fuel retailers formed a unified approach to marketing the industry. He was also the first fuel retailer to serve as chairman of NACS. Bolch, whose father founded RaceTrac Petroleum, joined the family business in 1967 and celebrated his 50th anniversary with the company in 2017.
Carl Bolch Jr.
RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
As NACS’ first Indian-American chair, Budhwani has had a huge influence on the ethnic community, both in the U.S. and abroad. He and other U.S. retailers met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss bringing best practices from the U.S. c-store industry to India.
Encore Franchises LLC
Buhler helped change the c-store industry significantly from 1997 to 2012 as president and CEO of Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin. He focused on true “female-friendly” c-stores. Open Pantry’s high-end stores included 72-inch gondolas, flatscreen TVs above the coolers in lieu of signage, a stone fireplace surrounded with leather chairs, and computers with Wi-Fi.
Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin
In 2003, Burke became the first individual inducted into the supplier wing of the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame. Before that, only supplier companies were recognized. The long-time retail industry affairs executive for The Coca-Cola Co. was lauded for being a tireless advocate for food retailers across North America.
The Coca-Cola Co.
Maverik founder Reuel Call’s grandsons, Mike and Brad Call, created more than a tagline when they dubbed the family’s Salt Lake City-based company “Adventure’s First Stop.” Together, the cousins created a culture and a way of life that touches every part of the organization from its headquarters to its now 300-plus Maverik convenience stores across 11 western states. The tagline communicates Maverik’s goal of being a destination for its active, adventure-oriented core customers.
Mike & Brad Call
For more than 38 years, Cox has held various executive leadership positions in the c-store industry — working for powerhouses like 7-Eleven Inc. and Circle K, to supporting thousands of independent operators in the field with CITGO Petroleum Corp. He’s a passionate believer in the continued future of independent operators in the c-store industry.
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
As the longtime CEO of 7-Eleven Inc., DePinto has served as a leader not just of his own company, but the convenience store industry as a whole. During his tenure, 7-Eleven has chased major growth, with DePinto overseeing the chain’s biggest acquisition in its history. Known for always having an eye on the future, he also embraces cutting-edge technology and services.
Douglass, founder and CEO of Douglass Distributing, made a firm imprint on the c-store industry during his years as NACS chairman (2004-2006). He testified numerous times before Congress on behalf of convenience industry issues and worked tirelessly to educate lawmakers about the unfair, negative impacts of such hardships as credit card fees and PCI compliance.
Durling’s “restless dissatisfaction” with the status quo has led QuickChek to become one of the most innovative regional retailers in the industry, particularly in foodservice and technology. QuickChek was the first convenience store chain to test and implement self-checkout stations at select stores and is now looking at new technology like mobile payment and frictionless. The retailer is also a four-time winner in Convenience Store News’ Foodservice Innovators Awards program.
Elected into the supplier wing of the CSNews Hall of Fame in 2009, Gilkerson has been helping c-stores automate their systems for more than 35 years. He founded Professional Datasolutions Inc. (PDI) in 1983 and has served as its president since the company’s inception.
Girard came to Plaid Pantry as an outside consultant tasked with guiding the chain out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 1989. After successfully reorganizing the company and revitalizing cash flow, creditors asked him to stay on permanently. He currently serves as executive chairman and is still very much involved in the retailer’s day-to-day business.
Plaid Pantry Inc.
When customers suggested to John Jefferson “Uncle Johnny” Green, an employee of The Southland Ice Co., that it would be convenient if he carried a few grocery items to sell along with the ice, he financed the sideline business out of his own pocket, selling bread, milk and eggs. He then took the idea to company executives. Thus, the “convenience store” business was born in 1927.
“Uncle Johnny” Green
The Southland Ice Co.
As Rutter’s president and CEO, Hartman represents the 10th generation of his family to lead the business, which dates back to 1747. An early advocate of technology adoption in the c-store industry, Hartman helped NACS launch the first NACStech technology conference and he was the first chairman of the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS).
As executive director of PCATS, Hervey guided the growth and standards adoption work of the organization, helping to develop the commonplace industry standards that exist today, such as point-of-sale and back-office integration, electronic B2B document exchange, payment systems and device integration.
Higgins, the co-founder of Minit Mart Foods, served as chairman of NACS in 1996, overseeing the growth of technology and standards within the industry, resulting in the launch of the industry’s first technology-focused conference, NACStech. He was also pivotal in strengthening NACS’ advocacy programs to communicate the voice of convenience retail to Congress and the media.
Minit Mart Foods Inc.
When the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) was born in 1961, Hunter was chosen as the new trade group’s first executive director — a position he held for 20 years. He helped mold the association and grow the industry, while overseeing its move to Washington, D.C., to focus on government and regulatory advocacy.
A nearly 30-year veteran of the c-store and petroleum marketing industries, Johnson is the founder and CEO of The Pinnacle Corp., a leading supplier of e-commerce solutions and automation technology to the industry. Every day, Pinnacle’s products are used by thousands of retailers to improve the operational efficiency of their c-stores.
The Pinnacle Corp.
Johnson served as president and CEO of Altria Group Distribution Co. from April 2011 to March 2019. Many operators admired Johnson for his team’s focus on c-store retailers and the needs of their customers. His focus on driving share and sales influenced the actions of most of the cigarette industry and helped retailers manage through difficult times in the tobacco category.
Altria Group Distribution Co.
“Don’t look back, we’re not going that way” was one of the favorite sayings of William “Bill” Krause, co-founder of Kum & Go. The chain had grown to more than 440 stores at the time of Bill’s death in 2013. Under the leadership of his son Kyle, the company has concentrated on modernizing its stores, divesting older locations and focusing on a larger, higher-volume-generating store model.
William “Bill’ & Kyle Krause
Kum & Go LC
LeBoeuf oversaw some of the biggest growth years of the convenience store industry during his 24-year tenue as leader of NACS. His prominent contributions to the industry include the creation of the annual NACS Show, which today is one of the largest retail industry trade expos in the world.
During his 27-year career with Anheusher-Busch (AB), William “Willie” Laufer made a point of learning c-store retailers’ business. The AB executive’s nominator describes Laufer as “a true category partner” and as someone who “was always looking out for what was best for the business.”
William “Willie” Laufer
Tom and Judy Love founded Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores in 1964. With a $5,000 gift from her parents, the couple leased an abandoned gas station in Watonga, Okla. Within a few years, the company had 40 stations and began to open convenience stores alongside the gas pumps. Today, Love’s has more than 480 locations in 41 states.
Tom & Judy Love
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
MacDougall’s strong values defined Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes with a mission statement that read: “Be Nice, Have Fun, Sell Stuff and Be the Best.” The 2003 CSNews Hall of Famer was known as a savvy, forward-thinker; a motivator, friend and father figure to many; and a boss who created a loyal following among his employees.
Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes
Martin was way ahead of his time with c-stores. He created the “milk-bread-bacon-and-eggs” store that competed with supermarkets, and put Huck’s on the map. It was said that in many locations, Huck’s sold as many gallons of milk as the local supermarket in that town.
McGuinness, inspired by technical challenges and always seeking to support others as a mentor and coach, spearheaded key standards development initiatives with Conexxus, the nonprofit organization that drives standards, technology innovation and advocacy for the c-store industry.
One of Minno’s most impressive achievements was championing the repositioning of Wawa’s foodservice and coffee business in the 1990s, basing it on a “Food Forward” concept that turned the retailer into the gold standard of convenience foodservice. Later, as a consultant, he helped many other brands make significant improvements.
Maurice P. Minno
As a petroleum industry veteran for more than 30 years, Nelson has aided many companies by founding Study Groups, an organization that brings together non-competitors to share financial benchmarking, best practices, new ideas and more. The organization is frequently credited with helping c-store businesses grow and become more efficient.
Family Express, the Valparaiso, Ind.-based chain of 74 c-stores — still led by Olympidis, its founder — flies under the radar in most discussions of best-in-class convenience store chains, but the vertically integrated retailer is a market leader in northwest Indiana, known for its uniquely friendly employees who embrace the company’s “living brand” culture of exceptional customer service.
Parker is regarded as one of the nation’s leading business innovators, earning acclaim for his commitment to high-quality foodservice, technology, consumer rights and charitable giving. He’s been recognized by CSNews as Foodservice Leader of the Year in 2018 and Tech Executive of the Year in 2013.
Petrowski served as CEO of The Cumberland Gulf Group from 2005 to 2013, during which the company achieved record earnings and increased its store count to 700 c-store locations and 3,500 Gulf-branded sites. He is also the founder and managing partner of Mercantor Patners, an investment firm that invests in downstream energy and retail c-stores.
The Cumberland Gulf Group
A longtime NACS employee, Richman touched nearly every aspect of the convenience store industry over 20-plus years. She played a critical role in developing NACS’ advocacy, research and technology efforts. She also fought credit card fees by founding the Merchants Payments Coalition in 2005.
Ricker Oil Co. started in 1979 as a small jobber, with Jay Ricker driving the tank wagon and wife Nancy running the office from home. Over the course of four decades, the business acquired five oil companies and opened 58 c-stores, which were recently acquired by Giant Eagle Inc.
Ricker Oil Co.
Roscoe was one of the 13 visionary c-store chain executives who met in August 1961 to found NACS, and he helped steer the name choice to the National Association of Convenience Stores. Credited with coining the phrase “convenience store,” Roscoe is regarded as a marketing genius and innovator.
Spinks founded Spinx Oil Co. in 1972 with a home heating oil delivery company and one gas station in Greenville, S.C. Today, The Spinx Co. operates 81 convenience stores in South Carolina and employs more than 1,400 associates. It operates some of the largest c-stores in the state.
The Spinx Co.
Trader, a former executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., earned his place in the CSNews Hall of Fame in 2007 for his high level of participation and advocacy to ensure the tobacco category remained profitable for retailers despite its many challenges.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
With his ever-present bow-tie and Southern charm, Turner was a convenience store industry icon. A former NACS chairman, he fought tirelessly for the industry on many key issues, including rising credit card fees, energy policy and labor issues.
Brothers Tom and Dick Wake purchased Eby-Brown Co. from their father William Wake and his partner, William Michael, in 1983. They were ahead of their time in identifying foodservice as a high-growth category and were among the first c-store distributors to invest in cold chain facilities and trucks.
Tom & Dick Wake
Eby-Brown Co. LLC
Brothers Gary and J. Michael Walsh built Core-Mark International into the second-largest c-store wholesale distributor in the country. They are credited with starting multiple deliveries per week, and consolidating vendor shipments for more efficient distribution of product to c-stores.
Gary & J. Michael Walsh
Aplin and Wasek, founders of Buc-ee’s, developed a convenience store/travel center concept that has transformed travelers’ perception of a convenience store from a necessary pit stop to a destination experience. Aplin has referred to Buc-ee’s stores as “the Disney of convenience stores.”
Arch “Beaver” Aplin & Don Wasek