Final Thoughts

“HOW FAR YOU GO in life depends on your being
tender with the young, compassionate with the aged,
sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak
and strong. Because someday in life you will have been
all of these.”

That quote from American educator and researcher
George Washington Carver has always had special
meaning to me, but it has been reinforced through the
years as I became a parent and chief editor whose role
is to offer guidance to young writers.

But we must always strive to do better. In Erik Erikson’s
stages of life he discusses growth and despair with the
life lesson that it is better to have tried and failed than to
be afraid to get off the couch and try at all. When I took
over the top editorial post at CSD two years ago I knew
the odds were against us, but I did so because I have
an unmitigated passion for this industry. I grew up in it
and have frequently written about my father’s 35-year
career as an Esso/Exxon dealer. I grew up with grease
on my hands and gasoline in my blood. I lived it, loved it
and wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

After a brief career as a management trainee at Dairy
Mart, I moved over to the editorial side to cover the
industry as an outsider. Again, I have no regrets. I have
met so many wonderful people that are more than just
professional contacts. They are friends very dear to my
heart and I cherish those friendships probably more
than they will ever know. That is one lesson my father
taught me early on about his customers. “Treat a customer
like dirt and you’ll get what you deserve,” he used
to say. “Treat a customer and his problems with respect
and you’ll earn his trust.”

When he decided to retire, I remember the sadness in
the voices of the people that came by just to say goodbye.
One man pulled me aside and said, “Your father is
an honest man. We’re all going to miss him around here.”
What a nice thing for a young teenager to hear. I like to
think I echoed his sense of honesty and compassion
for the audience I served, if for no other reason than I
would want my children to know their father, too, is an
honest man.

What is of particular disappointment is the way the
past few months have transpired. It was a rough few
months for my editorial staff, many whom, despite sharing
my love for this industry, were forced to move onto
other positions. That is not so much a regret for me, but
a genuine source of grief. I wish I could have insulated
them from vindictive rumors and made their departure
during this diffi cult time a little easier. But, unfortunately,
I found myself as just another powerless cog in a vast
economic machine. I offer a very personal apology to
those who have moved on and thank them for all their
hard work. And, believe me, there was plenty of it.

In closing, I want to make sure I let you know
how much it means to me to serve as the editor of
Convenience Store Decisions. It is the high point of my
career as a journalist. I thank Shahla for giving me the
opportunity to grow the book and her unwavering support
of the editorial team’s efforts. She, as many of our
supplier partners know, is a true gem and has served as
a stabilizing force during my two years.

I hope to stay in touch with many of you. If you would
like to reach me, you can do so via email jlofstock@
yahoo.com
or jlofstock@penton.com.

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