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SPOKANE, Wash. — The convenience store industry lost a veteran this week. Ian Johnstone, general manager of Cenex Zip Trip, passed away Aug. 19. He was 54.
Johnstone served on the Convenience Store News Editorial Advisory Board.
His passing came the day before the local Salvation Army held its back-to-school backpack distribution, an event that counted Johnstone as one its biggest supporters, according to The Spokesman-Review.
"You always heard him here before you saw him," said Sheila Geraghty, Salvation Army business administrator. "He was boisterous and energetic, always ready to go. He is very much missed."
This is the sixth year Johnstone, employees and customers of Cenex Zip Trip, as well as its vendors and suppliers, have raised money for the backpack distribution, according to the news report.
"I would say this was probably his No. 1 charity," said Rick Bates, CEO and acting general manager of Cenex Zip Trip. "Wednesday was a really, really long day for us."
Over the past six years, the Cenex Zip Trip fundraising campaign has donated $185,000 to the backpack event. Since its inception, it's grown from distributing 750 backpacks to 5,050 this year. Bates said Johnstone matched some of the donations with his own money.
"He let our associates wear jeans to work every day in July if they gave $20," Bates said. "Then, he matched the first 200 donations with his own money."
He is survived by his wife, Angela, and children, Chance and Olivia. Despite their loss, Angela and Olivia Johnstone presented this year's $42,880.21 check to the Salvation Army Thursday morning.