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Hank Armour was named president and CEO of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) in 2004, after many years as an innovative c-store retailer.
Armour founded West Star Corp. in 1982. In 1993, West Star became the first company to introduce branded foodservice into convenience stores in the Pacific Northwest by adding a Taco Bell Express. The company expanded into Taco Bell Express units, Winchell's Donut production facilities, Winchell's satellite facilities and Subway sandwich units.
West Star also was among the first in the industry to use store-level automation systems, scanning at point-of-sale and pay-at-pump capabilities. Armour sold West Star in 2004.
Under his direction, NACS has grown and focused on providing its members with information, knowledge and connections to ensure their competitive viability. NACS has also been a strong advocate on a number of key governmental issues.
Armour was inducted in Convenience Store News' Hall of Fame in 2004.
In what ways has the industry changed during your time that you didn't anticipate?
Probably the biggest change is the extent to which we have grown. Today, there are more convenience stores in the United States than the combined total of the country's grocery stores/supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers, dollar stores and wholesale clubs all put together. And our revenues are more than 4 percent of the country's GDP. The same is true throughout the world and is remarkable considered where we were just a decade or two ago.
What has been the biggest change you have seen in the industry since you started?
NACS Chairman Sonja Hubbard said it best at the most recent NACS Show: the respect we get as an industry, whether on Capitol Hill, in the media or in the communities we serve.
In the past 40 years, what has had the biggest influence on the c-store industry?
The customer has been and always will have the biggest influence on our industry. Customers continue to redefine "convenience" and our job is to deliver it. And things is for sure … there has been and always will be a ubiquitous demand for convenience.