After more than a year of Zooming and online events, the convenience store industry is finally getting back to business the best way it knows how —with face-to-face events for retailers, suppliers and all those associated with the business of convenience retailing.
Online events are fine. We hosted several last year during the worst of the pandemic. Last fall, our Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards, Convenience Foodservice Exchange (CFX) and Hall of Fame drew record attendance from executives who participated in front of their computers at their offices or at home. But last month’s NACS Show marked the rebirth of live events in the c-store industry — a return to the networking and collaboration that has made this retail channel stand out from the rest.
One of my biggest disappointments last year was not being able to host an in-person Hall of Fame event. For 33 consecutive years, Convenience Store News has feted the pioneers and leaders that have shaped the c-store industry. I am eagerly looking forward to the 35th annual Hall of Fame banquet on Nov. 11 in Des Moines, Iowa.
We have an all-star lineup rivaling the baseball immortals that appeared out of the cornfield in Kevin Costner’s great 1989 movie, “Field of Dreams.” The newest member of the Hall of Fame is Kyle Krause, CEO of Krause Group and chairman of Kum & Go LC. Fifteen years after seeing his father, William A. (Bill) Krause, inducted into the Hall, Kyle will be honored at the aptly named Krause Gateway Center in downtown Des Moines, along with this year’s supplier inductee Vito Maurici of McLane Co. Inc.
Also being honored that evening will be this year’s Retailer Executive of the Year Kevin Smartt, CEO of Texas Born (TXB). And Roy Strasburger, CEO of StrasGlobal, will receive a new award for meritorious service to the industry.
As an extra special treat, we will also show special recognition for last year’s Hall of Famers, Greg Parker and Dave Onorato, who were feted online last fall.
Did I just hear: “If you build it, they will come?”