Maverik Inc. is a convenience store chain that prides itself on serving others, and that’s what helped make Convenience Store Decisions’ 2013 Chain of the Year award dinner in Atlanta so special last month.
The Utah company that is so used to making others feel special found itself as the center of attention before nearly 300 retailers and suppliers in a gala fitting for such a wonderful chain.
“This is a great honor that I’m proud to share with all of our employees,” said Brad Call, Maverik’s vice president of adventure culture. “This is a wonderful industry with many great operators. To be mentioned alongside the previous winners of this award validates the hard work we do every day to create an awesome experience for our customers.”
CSD‘s Chain of the Year Award remains the oldest and most prestigious award for convenience retailing excellence. The honor is given to convenience retailers that exemplify excellence in customer service, product quality and marketing innovation, and Maverik certainly embodies all of these attributes. This year is CSD’s 24th year of honoring the industry’s best.
Part of the Chain of the Year tradition that dates back more than two decades is to have the previous year’s winner hand off the award to the incoming winner. In doing so, Peter Tedeschi, president and CEO Tedeschi Food Shops, our 2012 Chain of the Year winner, praised Maverik as an innovator in convenience retailing. He emphasized the respect other retailers have for Maverik’s world-class retail programs.
“It’s no longer enough to be in convenience, you have to make yourself a destination, and Maverik does that in spades,” Tedeschi said. “Their customers come in and they don’t just have a transaction, they have an experience.”
On the Hot Seat
But to get the full story on Maverik and Brad Call, Tedeschi reached out to some of Call’s closest industry friends for a little friendly ribbing. The roast was on.
“Maverik does such a great job. Imagine how good they could do if Brad worked more than 20 minutes a month,” joked Pat Lewis, president of Oasis Stop N Go, as he kicked off the roast.
Joining Lewis and Tedeschi in the roast were former NACS Chairman Dave Carpenter, president and CEO of JD Carpenter Cos.; Richard Oneslager, president of Balmar Petroleum; Jack Kofdarali, president of JNT Management; and Jeff Miller, president of Miller Oil Co.
“It’s fitting that Maverik has a hot air balloon to entertain their guests,” Carpenter said. “It’s powered by Brad’s hot air.”
“Brad, Elton John called. He wants his hair back,” Kofdarali quipped.
Call, the incoming 2013-2014 Chairman of NACS took the roasting in stride and with grace. The fond affection and friendship these men have with each other was something truly special to see, and I was proud to be a part of it.
But what made the night special was celebrating the Maverik culture and its employees. Where many companies spend countless hours trying to promote their brand, Maverik has created a unique ‘adventure first’ culture in the community. “Their stores are unlike any others in the industry,” Carpenter told me. “They are and will continue to be a force in this industry.”
Others agreed. “Maverik’s marketing strategy and the Maverik brand in general generate excitement and adventure,” said Tom Robinson, president and CEO of Robinson Oil Co. “It’s very impressive to see a strategy executed so well.”
In these times of unprecedented retail competition and government interference, it’s great to see a convenience store company blaze a new trail. There’s quite a bit others in the industry can learn from Maverik. So if you missed our Chain of the Year award dinner, please take a few moments to learn about Maverik and the outstanding work the company is doing to push the limits of convenience retailing. And let’s hope that when we come together again next year it’s to celebrate your retail culture.