NATIONAL REPORT -- Giving back through community service efforts and charity 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
GPM Investments’ Wounded Warrior Project campaign took place over four months and raised almost $14,000. The fundraiser, which ran from Memorial Day to Labor Day, raised money at the more than 460 GPM convenience stores in eight states.
Stores sold American Car Flags, which accounted for a portion of the proceeds donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Donations from the campaign will directly support the Wounded Warrior Project’s purpose: to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members; to help injured service members aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
Rapid Refill Convenience Stores
Rapid Refill, part of the family-owned Volta Group based in Plymouth, Mass., collected donations from its customers for the Alzheimer’s Association in May through July. The campaign raised more than $64,000, donated directly to the Alzheimer’s Association, Mass./N.H. Chapter.
Rapid Refill is in its fourth year of raising money and awareness for the Alzheimer's cause. Its “Purple Pump Up” campaign included asking customers for donations, as well as donating a percentage of gas sales on June 21, when the association holds its "Longest Day" event.
Volta Group’s co-owner Jim Garrett is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association board.
Sheetz Family Charities held its 10th annual Prize-A-Palooza in mid-October, offering games and great prizes, including designer purses, golf equipment, electronics, concert and sporting event tickets, and autographed sports memorabilia.
All proceeds benefitted the Sheetz “For the Kids Christmas Event,” which gives needy children clothes, toys and other items to help them have a special Christmas. This year’s goal was to beat the $100,000 raised last year.
Stripes Convenience Stores
Stripes customers and employees raised more than $1.4 million for The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital as part of the “Stripes Celebrates Tomorrows” campaign held during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in September.
Stripes raised a total of $1,405,706 from Sept. 1-28 in its more than 645 stores, surpassing its initial goal of $500,000. Stripes employees asked customers to "make every dollar count" by purchasing a $1 paper pinup to help local kids with cancer.
Each customer donation was rewarded with a free 12-ounce Slush Monkey beverage and a buy-one-get-one free Smokin' Barrel snack promotion.
The company also launched an internal employee fundraising campaign whereby employees hosted bake sales and other fundraising events throughout the regional offices.
In other company news, Stripes raised $535,000 at its sixth annual Stripes Turf + Surf fundraising event, held in its hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, to benefit 44 United Way agencies across the Stripes market areas of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
The fundraiser featured an appreciation dinner offering a raffle, silent auction, bid board auction and live auction. The festivities also included three rounds of golf and a fishing tournament.
Since 2008, Stripes has partnered with United Way agencies and raised almost $2.6 million for local United Way agencies through the Stripes Turf + Surf fundraisers.
The United Family
The United Family, parent company of United Express stores, raised a record $325,000 during the 23rd annual Jacky Pierce Charity Classic golf tournament held in early September. Donations were presented to 19 United Way organizations in west Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Since its inception in 1991, the tournament has raised more than $2.2 million for local charities. The tournament is named in honor of United Supermarkets' longtime produce director, who guided the annual golf tournament from its infancy until losing a lengthy battle with cancer in August 2002.