NATIONAL REPORT — Giving back through community service efforts and charitable donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of this industry moving ahead. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
GPM Investments LLC
This past holiday season, GPM Investments kicked off its "Tis the Season for Giving" holiday campaign to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). From Dec. 1 to 31, GPM's convenience stores sold MDA holiday pinups for $1 and invited guests to round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar.
"We're honored to work together in our communities during the holiday season to help support MDA services, fund research and care for people living with muscle disease in the communities where we operate," said Arie Kotler, CEO. "For more than 6 years, GPM Investments and the 1,400 convenience stores it operates under its brand names, associates, and customers have made the holidays a season of giving back through our holiday campaign to raise vital funds for individuals and families living with neuromuscular diseases in our communities."
GPM Investment has contributed more than $1.2 million since 2012 in support of MDA.
Based in Richmond, Va., GPM together with its subsidiaries, is the largest privately-owned company in the convenience store channel. It operates or supplies fuel to approximately 1,400 stores in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
Iowa drivers raised more than $20,000 for breast cancer research and support services during the fourth annual Pink at the Pump campaign, co-sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPM).
Seventy-four retail stations donated 3 cents of every gallon of Unleaded 88 sold from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 to National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and The Hormel Institute.
"We are thrilled that this year's Pink at the Pump campaign featured a record number of participating stations and raised a record-breaking amount of funds for such a worthwhile cause," said IRFA Communications Director Cassidy Walter. "Pink at the Pump is an exciting promotion because not only does it support such important research and services, but it shines a light on the fact that biofuel blends like Unleaded 88 are reducing the amount of toxic emissions coming out of our tailpipe and helping keep our air cleaner and healthier to breathe."
Milan, Ohio-based Mickey Mart is teaming up with libraries across its operating footprint in the state for the How to Draw Comics program, which is comprised of two classes: a Character Drawing track for ages 8 to 12, and a Comic Creation track for ages 12-17.
The classes — which are part of Mickey Mart's Fuels Schools Education Initiative — were developed and are taught by the creators of Mickey the Moose Adventure Comics. The series detail the fictional adventure of Mickey Mart's mascot. To date, writer Scott Rudge and artist Kelly Walt have published six Mickey the Moose comics, including the just-released Mickey the Moose Puzzle Adventure #1.
Mirabito Energy Products
Mirabito presented more than $100,000 in donations to local charities through a culmination of events and programs, including:
- Michael J. Fox Foundation —$25,000
- Muscular Dystrophy Association of Central and Western New York — $40,000
- Cure Rare Diseases — $15,000
- Cystic Fibrosis, Central New York Chapter — $15,000
- Unity House of Troy — $5,000
- Make-A-Wish Central New York — $5,000
- David’s Refuge — $5,000
Additionally, Mirabito rewarded one customer gas for a year. Pat Nelson received 52 Mirabito gift cards valued at $60 totaling $3,120. She is the six winner of the "Free Gas for a Year" contest, which typically runs from June through October of each year.
Rutter's ended 2019 with more than $1.1 million in charitable donations. The convenience retailer holds several fundraising events and programs throughout the year, such as:
- Rutter's Children's Charities Golf Outing
- Vote With Your Dollars
- Rutter's charity cannister program
- Secret Santa program
These fundraising dollars, along with Rutter's corporate charitable contributions, are used to help local charities with specific needs or projects throughout the year. In addition, the c-store retailer holds grand opening events at all new store locations, featuring a donation ceremony and check presentation to local non-profit businesses including police departments, fire departments, food banks and youth programs.
S&D Coffee & Tea
S&D Coffee & Tea released its 2019 Sustainability Report, Rooted in Impact, summarizing efforts and progress made throughout 2017 and 2018. Measurable impacts highlighted in the report include:
- More than 4,600 smallholder farmers were provided with tools and resources necessary to optimize their farms’ productivity, reduce cost of production, enhance soil health, implement water management and build resilience to changes in the market and climate across six countries.
- A total of 40,000 gallons of water were conserved by implementing a gray water recycling program at S&D facilities.
- Developed the Leadership Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Scholarship program with the Specialty Coffee Association. This two-year scholarship puts professional development resources in reach for people from underrepresented or marginalized communities around the world.
- Supported Elma C. Lomax Research and Education Farm with financial assistance, employee volunteering and repurposing spent coffee grounds as organic soil enrichment.
- Worked with Sustainable Solutions Corp. to build a road map to operational efficiency and natural resource conservation.
- Targeted management of fleet trucks helped earned S&D the 2017 High Performer achievement award from SmartWay, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program.
The complete report can be found here.
The Spinx Co.
Spinx founder Stewart Spinks recently presented a check for $225,000 to the American Cancer Society. For 11 years, Spinx has held an annual store campaign collecting donations from communities all over South Carolina, in support of The American Cancer Society.
"The American Cancer Society is a cause that hits close to home, as I am a cancer survivor myself," Spinks said. "I am so proud of both our Spinx team, and our selfless customers for their generosity and dedication to the American Cancer Society for the 11th year in a row. The Spinx Co. is honored to support their mission and its efforts in education, treatment, and research to discover more successful treatments, and ultimately a cure for cancer."
Stripes Convenience Stores
To celebrate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this past September, Stripes raised more than $720,000 through its annual store campaign, Stripes Stores Celebrates Tomorrows. From Sept. 3 through Oct. 7, the in-store campaign raised funds $1 at a time at its Texas and Louisiana locations.
"On behalf of our team members and generous customers, we are honored to present Texas MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital with a check for $720,654 on Giving Tuesday. These funds were collected in our stores during our September in-store campaign, celebrating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month," stated Brad Williams, senior vice president, 7-Eleven, Inc. (Stripes Stores). "These funds will continue to support MD Anderson’s Children’s Cancer Hospital with breakthrough cancer research and programs for children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer."
Since 2014, Stripes stores have raised funds for MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital, donating nearly $6 million. This year's funds will support new immune therapies for certain types of pediatric cancers, week-long camps that enable kids to be kids despite their cancer diagnosis, as well as the Pediatric Education and Creative Arts Program, which features an accredited K-12 on-site school.