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DALLAS -- Sonja Hubbard, of E-Z Mart Stores Inc., and Tom Joyce, of The Hershey Co., were inducted into the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame Tuesday night during a gala ceremony and dinner attended by many of the convenience store industry's elite.
Eighty people turned out for the event held at the Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas, including several fellow CSNews Hall of Famers. Past retailer inductees in attendance included Bill Douglass, of Douglass Distributing Co.; James Keyes, of Blockbuster and formerly 7-Eleven Inc.; NACS president and CEO Hank Armour; and Fred Higgins of Minit Mart Foods. Past supplier inductees included Jerry Rose of McLane Co.; and Greg Gilkerson of PDI.
Hubbard, CEO of E-Z Mart, became the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, as well as the first offspring to be inducted. Her father, Jim Yates, became a Hall of Famer in 1997.
Before receiving her award, Hubbard was lauded for being a tireless fighter for the c-store industry, especially on tough issues such as credit and debit card interchange fees.
"She is absolutely one of the best lobbyists I have seen in my life," said Armour, who worked closely with Hubbard when she served as NACS chair in 2008. He recalled seeing countless politicians succumb to her charms, likening it to a spider with a bug in its web.
Upon accepting her award, Hubbard said she was very proud and deeply honored. "This recognizes so many of you in this room who got me here," she said, thanking her E-Z Mart team, the NACS team, and her family for their loyalty, support and brutal honesty. She also thanked her colleagues and friends in the industry who she said, "inspire me to do more and do better."
Joyce, vice president of customer and industry affairs for The Hershey Co., also thanked a host of others for making his job easy. To sum up his feelings on the honor, he quoted country music star Little Jimmy Dickens who said, "If you see a turtle on a fence post, he had to have help getting up there." Joyce added, "I'm the turtle on the fence post tonight."
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, CSNews presented its 2010 Grand Spirit Award for Community Service to Jay Ricker, of Ricker Oil Co. Now in its second year, the Spirit Awards for Community Outreach program celebrates convenience retailers involved in community service programs aimed at bettering the lives of people in the markets they serve.
"This is not an honor for myself, but for our company. It's an award that so many people in our company helped us earn," Ricker said. "We feel we need to give back to our community."
Tuesday's event was sponsored by Alon Brands, the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA), BIC, GSC Enterprises Inc., The Hershey Co., McLane Co., the National Confectioners Association (NCA), Nestle Waters and PepsiCo.