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ACTON, Mass. -- The New England Convenience Store Association named Mike and Corinne Abboud, owners of a Tedeschi franchise convenience store here, its Store Operators of the Year, reported the Lowell Sun.
"We worked hard to achieve this," Corinne Abboud told the newspaper. "You have to understand, this is a lifestyle. Our daughter grew up in a playpen behind the deli."
This is the second time the Abbouds have earned this award, the first being six years ago. In 2002, the couple -- who met in a convenience store -- won national honors for being the top operator. Their deli won recognition in 2001 and 2002, after the store underwent renovations.
The store measure 5,100 square feet and employs 12 people, including Corine's father. The deli offers bread and pastries that are made in-store. It also runs a paperless system, according to Mike Abboud. "All ordering is done on a system on Palm pocket PCs, data going back 13 months, invoicing on pdF files, vendors are on a Web-based ordering system," he told the paper.
Nearly 2,000 possible convenience operators were nominated for the award. "Surprise visits" from the association's judges narrowed the candidates to 85. Tedeschi's field supervisor Chuck McGrath nominated the couple for the award.
The final round of judging proved difficult, as Corinne recalled "two judges come and just rip apart your store and conduct a two and a half-hour interview." During which, the couple was required to describe her store with just one word.
"We answered 'family'," Corinne told the Sun. "That's how we look at this business. We run it as a family and we view our customers and vendors as family."