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    Filthy Rich Winners

    NACS Chairman Brad Call sings a winning tune at NACS Show opening session.

    By Renee M. Covino, Convenience Store News

    LAS VEGAS -- Arm in arm with two showgirls, high-energy NACS Chairman Brad Call came out singing and dancing a winning tune to a packed crowd Wednesday at the NACS Show opening general session.

    “You’re a winner, baby, and that’s no lie!” he belted out, repurposing a line from a 1970s' song by the band Hot Chocolate and mixing it with the 2014 NACS Show theme of “A Winner Every Year.”

    “After all, you’re here at the show working hard to learn, make connections and become better operators. I promise you and you and you — every one of you — will be filthy rich winners if you throw your whole self into this show,” Call said.

    And with that, he got the audience to stand up and dance with him. In fact, the vice president of adventure culture at Maverik Inc. infused song and dance into the opening session whenever and wherever possible.

    “For the next few days, we’re just going to have a helluva lot of fun,” he said, noting that the NACS Show gets better and better each year, with this year’s event featuring more suppliers, more innovative products and more educational sessions.

    In addition to the innovation seen at the show, Call encouraged attendees to “get out and see the world, take your teams to global forums” and NACS summits as he has done. He reported that's he racked up 279,000 miles in travel so far this year. “You will be so amazed at how much you learn and the innovative ideas you’ll take away from the stores we visit in those countries,” he said. 

    Call’s encouragement was supported by a big-screen projection of ideas seen abroad and store transformations at home, with the understanding that “we are all trying to become better and better.” 

    He suggested that “if we build and operate stores our communities would be proud of, we can overcome [zoning] issues of NIMBY, meaning Not in My Backyard. So, let’s utilize ideas at this show to make us better.”

    He pointed to NACS' “new, cool grassroots initiative” as a way the industry can communicate its voice to local legislators. Retailers are encouraged to invite their congressman or senator to their stores to observe basic operations, foodservice techniques and even let them try their hand at the cash register as Call has done at Maverik.

    “It’s a terrific way to educate them on the challenges we face as an industry,” he stated. “It’s amazing what we can do when together we communicate our voice.”

    Using a recent biking journey as his analogy, Call stressed the importance of the industry understanding team effort and team dynamics, with leaders winning the hearts and minds of their people rather than trying to control them.

    “Do this and you will win big,” he said, bringing the theme around full circle.

    By Renee M. Covino, Convenience Store News
    • About Renee M. Covino Contributing Editor Renée M. Covino is a veteran researcher, editor and writer with more than 30 years of experience in the mass retail sector. Her articles and columns have appeared online and in print for dozens of industry trade magazines, newsletters, metro newspapers, Fortune 500 company reports and college textbooks. Covino is a self-named “store connoisseur” who not only writes about retail, but happily supports it.

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