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LONDON -- Convenience store retailers around the world are sure to be "green" with envy now that Topaz Cashel was named the 2011 Insight NACS International Convenience Retailer of the Year. The announcement was made at the NACS Future of Convenience event that took place here last week.
An expert panel of judges, including Don Longo, editor-in-chief of Convenience Store News, initially narrowed down the applications to five finalists. In addition to Topaz Cashel, based in Tipperary, Ireland, the other finalists were LS Travel Services hubiz in France, Morrisons M-local in the U.K., Reitan Servicehandel Shell/7-Eleven in Norway and the U.K.'s Sourced Market St Pancras International.
Readers of Insight's newsletter, Global Convenience Store Focus, were asked to vote for their favorite retailer from among the five finalists.
Topaz Cashel is a motorway service station that opened this June in partnership with McDonald's. According to the judges, the store demonstrated real innovation for its layout and design. "The new motorway design was very dynamic and well executed," said a joint statement issued by the panel.
In addition to the McDonald's quick-service restaurant, Topaz Cashel features a local selection of fresh food and groceries, souvenirs for tourists, a child play area and free Wi-Fi.
Judges also applauded Topaz Cashel's commitment to its community and its investments in new technologies. "Topaz appeared to be an innovation leader for the convenience channel; through the integration and use of technology across multiple platforms, from pay at the pump to social media and phone apps," said Joe Bona, a judge and the president of the retail division at CBX.
Topaz is the third international c-store retailer to win the prestigious Insight NACS award. It joins Spar China and Applegreen Ireland, who won the award in 2009 and 2010, respectively.