The convenience store industry is mourning, today, the loss of Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes Founder and President John MacDougall, who passed away on Saturday at age 73, following an illness.
Fran Duskiewicz, senior executive vice president of Nice N Easy, has said, “John MacDougall puts the ‘nice’ in Nice N Easy, but never underestimate his incredible vision and creativity. It’s rare to come across someone who combines all the best traits of a successful business leader the way Mr. MacDougall does.”
MacDougall opened the first Nice N Easy c-store in 1980 and grew the business to 80 locations in upstate New York, and into one of the most respected chains in the industry. Throughout his life, MacDougall served as a mentor and friend to upstart and experienced convenience store chains across the country, earning a reputation for his professionalism, honesty and humility.
“I saw John as very measured and purposeful, which made him such a treasured contributor to we fellow National Advisory Group (NAG) members with whom he was so willing to share,” noted David Johnson, vice president of operations for Toot’n Totum in Texas, and former chairman of NAG.
“I knew John from 1982 on and I’ve never met a more honest and gracious person in my life—he was so genuine and humble and really, no pun intended, just so ‘nice and easy’ to be around,” noted Jim Callahan, director of marketing for Geo H Green Oil Co. ” An example of that humbleness: when I was a board member of NYACS (New York Association of Convenience Stores), John one of the founders of the organization and a Past President and Chairman volunteered to be on a committee that I chaired—how awesome was that! While, this giant of the Convenience Store Industry, John MacDougall will be dearly missed by all who came in contact with him the, indelible and incredible imprint he made will last forever!”
In 2009, Convenience Store Decisions honored MacDougall and Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes as the Convenience Store Chain of The Year Award Winner. At the awards gala that followed, MacDougall shared his people-first philosophy with the audience: “The last line of our mission statement says, ‘Be the Best.’ Over the years, I have always told our people to be very proud because they are the best. I know first hand just how dedicated and accomplished Nice N Easy is as a company. Throughout the years we worked hard—extremely hard at creating a culture for our customers and employees that we all could be proud of. Our belief is that if you do things right and take care of your people along the way, good things will (follow). And this award is a true testament to the special environment we have created.”
“This is a ‘people industry,’” MacDougall told CSD recently. “Always has been and always will be. If you understand people and work to fulfill all their wants and needs, you’ll do the right thing at the right time. What the really successful companies in our industry have done to evolve and thrive is to anticipate what people want and then be ready to serve them.”
“It’s okay to be sad,” Duskiewicz said about MacDougall’s death, “but remember that John was always a happy, upbeat person and that is what he would want from us right now,”