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LAS VEGAS -- There is a lot of "garbage" being spewed about the convenience store industry, NACS President Hank Armour told NACS Show attendees at Thursday's general session.
This "garbage" includes that c-store operators are purveyors of death because they sell tobacco products; that they addict people to gambling because they sell lottery tickets; and that they contribute to the nation's obesity crisis because they sell items that allow consumers to indulge.
"Now doesn't all of that just chap your ass," Armour said to rousing applause from the crowd, borrowing a quote from former NACS chairwoman Sonja Hubbard of E-Z Mart Stores Inc. With these mistruths being perpetrated, "our future is at risk unless we do something about it," he stressed.
NACS intends to do just that as Armour unveiled a multifaceted, long-term plan to address and correct these reputational attacks on the c-store industry and instead present the following facts:
- We create opportunities.
- We are responsible retailers.
- Local governments depend on us.
- Communities depend on us.
- We sell choice.
The plan, among other things, calls for highlighting the many positives of the industry; tackling the misperception of dead-end jobs; addressing the nutritional aspect of c-stores' offer; bringing attention to the industry's support of youth sports; and helping retailers overcome local zoning restrictions.
"We are making this a better world and it's a great story to tell," Armour said as he encouraged the crowd to do their part. "Tell your story, walk the talk and be proud of what our industry does.