Henry Armour Has a Story for You

The c-store industry is full of good stories waiting to be told.

October 03, 2019

ATLANTA—Everyone has great stories to tell about their business that no one hears about. We rarely tell the stories and take credit for the great things that we do. And we have so many great stories to tell.

So Henry Armour, NACS president and CEO, began today’s General Session with a short story time that focused on just a few of the good things the industry is doing.

The first story was about food.

“For years, we were often demonized for the food we sold in our stores. The perception was that we sold unhealthy—and only unhealthy—food. We thought a different story could be told,” Armour said. “So we went to work telling our story and working with every health-focused group we could find.”

And it worked. Last April, the industry received the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Partner of the Year award.

“Of the hundreds of leading businesses that are part of the PHA, NACS—our industry—was given this prestigious award,” he said.

The second story was about how the industry shares its stories with elected leaders. A few weeks ago, NACS held its 100th NACS In Store event, in which it invites members of Congress to work for a few hours in a c-store to learn more about the industry.

“And for this special event, we held it in Washington, D.C., and even brought together a Republican and a Democrat,” Armour said. “We don’t get much bipartisanship in Washington anymore, but both sides of the aisle can agree on the value of convenience stores in their communities.”

The third story was about an exciting new program launched this summer to recognize an important group of consumers who maybe rely on c-stores’ 24/7 service more than anyone: First responders.

“So we launched 24/7 day to tell our story. And we picked the only day that made sense for that: July 24, or 7/24,” said Armour. “So many of our member companies in so many ways support first responders—the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, doctors and nurses delivering disaster relief wherever and whenever it’s needed, 24/7.”

NACS asked Sheetz, Wawa and RaceTrac to run a first responders recognition promotion on the same day. Each ran a different promotion, but they were all run on 24/7 and all were targeted to recognize first responders.

“The results were terrific. A whole bunch of people heard about the great things we do,” said Armour.

The promotion generated 85 million media impressions across 130 news outlets and 3.1 million social medial impressions. It was so successful that NACS plans to do it again next July 24 with a greatly expanded base. Armour predicts that perhaps one day, with enough industry participation, Congress will proclaim July 24 as First Responders Day at the nation’s c-stores.

“We plan on telling similarly coordinated industry-wide stories on how our industry is fighting hunger in our communities, supporting children’s health, funding education and building sustainable environments. These are not new activities,” he said, “and that’s the point. You’re already doing these great things. We, NACS and YOU just need to tell the stories.”

Armour also introduced the always popular Ideas 2 Go, highlighting some of the most innovative ideas in the industry. To view the video and gather new ideas, click here.

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