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NATIONAL REPORT — With roughly 161,000 convenience stores in the United States, the channel is a key contributor to local economies, and c-store retailers are often recognized for their efforts.
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Stewart's Shops received the Industry of the Year Award from the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes a business for positive contribution to economic growth and well-being of the region. The retailer accepted the award on Jan. 22.
Last year, Stewart's Shops built four new convenience stores in Fulton and Montgomery counties. The stores replaced existing locations, according to the retailer, which continues to remodel and improve its existing c-stores.
In addition, the chain donates to local charities at its grand-opening events and throughout the year. In all, Stewart's Shops and related family foundations support local charities, donating $7.5 million annually.
Next month, Stewart's Shops will be recognized for its contribution to the new outpatient pavilion at St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam.
Moving to the Southeast, Savannah, Ga.-based Parker's Convenience Stores won the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's 2016 Regional Economic Impact Award. The honor was presented at the inaugural Bluffton Business Awards, held Jan. 8.
"We want to recognize those successful people who have contributed to the growth in Bluffton," said Don Brashears, chairman of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
The ceremony honored businesses, community leaders and entrepreneurs in 11 categories and attracted more than 200 attendees. Each winner was presented with a Golden Oyster award.
"This award is a tremendous honor, as it recognizes our company's growing impact on the region," said Greg Parker, president and CEO of Parker's. "We are committed to being the low price leader in South Carolina and Georgia and work hard to exceed customer expectations each and every day."
In South Carolina, Parker's operates convenience stores on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, Port Royal, Okatie, Hardeeville and Pritchardville.
"The Palmetto State is a major growth market for Parker's," Parker said. "We opened new stores in Hilton Head, Bluffton and Hardeeville last month and have plans to open additional stores in 2016."
At the Bluffton Business Awards, Parker's earned special recognition for its Fueling the Community program, which gives back to every community where the company does business. On the first Wednesday of each month, Parker's donates a portion of the proceeds from every gallon of gas sold across all 43 Parker's locations to schools across Georgia and South Carolina, and to local medical centers, including Parker's Emergency and Trauma Center at Memorial Hospital in Savannah.
Parker's has also earned high marks for its PumpPal loyalty program, which offers deep discounts on gas and has saved customers more than $5 million since its inception. Today, the PumpPal program has more than 100,000 members. The company launched a Parker's Cash Card in 2015, which offers customers the ability to save at the pump while using cash.