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CHICAGO -- The Illinois Retail Merchants Association will honor Deanna and Gary Martin, owners of Scotchmons convenience store in Watseka, Ill., as its 2003 Illinois Retailers of the Year. A ceremony honoring the store owners will take place at IRMA's 46th Annual Meeting Sept. 30 in Chicago.
The annual award is given to a retailer who is not only successful in business, but committed to community and civic affairs, and respected by others in the industry.
"The Martins are a wonderful example of what retailers mean to their hometowns," said IRMA President & CEO David Vite. "But they are much more than community leaders; they are consummate professionals, leaders in the industry. They run their two stores with precision and are always willing to step forward to work on retail issues in the State of Illinois."
Scotchmons was one of 106 retailers honored in September 2000 by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association in its celebration of the top Retailers of the 20th Century.
Scotchmons was started in 1950 by John Neff. Gary Martin began working as a stock boy in 1965 and, along with his wife, Deanna, eventually purchased the two convenience stores in 1973 and 1978. The Martins maintain the founder's principles: clean stores, and convenient "people hours," in an atmosphere of fast, friendly service.
A source of stable employment for 34 people at two stores in Watseka, Scotchmons has many employees who have worked for 10 years or more.
The Martins regularly give both time and money to local charities and events. They single-handedly started Watseka's largest summer festival, "Hubbard Junction Cruise 'N Shine," more than 20 years ago, continue to run the festival with help from community organizations.
They were also involved in the planning and organization of the Sugar Creek Symphony and Song festival, the city's first symphony and operatic festival held over the Labor Day Weekend. Gary served on the Sugar Creek Board of Directors and Deanna chaired the event's hospitality committee. The festival drew 750, many visitors from as far away as Springfield and Chicago's northern suburbs.