SPICEWOOD, Texas — Kevin Smartt, CEO of Texas Born (TXB), previously Kwik Chek Food Stores Inc., has been selected the 2021 Retailer Executive of the Year by Convenience Store News' blue-chip panel of convenience retailing leaders.
Smartt, who has led his company for more than 25 years and currently serves as chairman of industry trade association NACS, is the eighth industry leader to be named CSNews' Retailer Executive of the Year. This award recognizes a retailer executive who exemplifies leadership, business acumen, dedication to the convenience industry, and commitment to community service. Last year's Retailer Executive of the Year was Darren Rebelez, president and CEO of Casey's General Stores Inc.
Smartt, along with the 2021 inductees into the CSNews Hall of Fame — Kyle Krause, founder and CEO of Krause Group, the parent company of Kum & Go LC, and Vito Maurici, senior vice president of sales and trade relations for McLane Co. Inc. — will be honored this fall at a banquet held in Des Moines, Iowa, hometown of Kum & Go.
The Hall of Fame honors pioneers and innovators for a lifetime of service to the convenience store industry, while the Retailer Executive of the Year award recognizes a current leader for recent accomplishments.
TXB, a family of customer service-oriented convenience stores and quick food operations, has more than 47 locations across Texas and Oklahoma. Embodying the company's motto, "Leave 'Em Better," Smartt continually looks for ways to give TXB customers the highest quality in both service and products.
As NACS chairman, Smartt is leading the convenience store industry at a critical time with a focus on safety following COVID-19, philanthropy and technology. Under his leadership, NACS announced the launch of TruAge, a groundbreaking digital identification solution that enhances current age-verification systems at all retail points of sale. TXB will be the first retailer to pilot this technology in the Austin, Texas, area.
Smartt also serves as chairman of Conexxus, chairman of the Coca-Cola National Retailing Research Council, and sits on the board of directors for P97 Networks Inc., which provides secure cloud-based mobile commerce and digital marketing solutions to the convenience retail and fuel marketing industries. Smartt continues to widen his professional board involvement and is interested in serving on boards involved in the banking, technology and healthcare industries.
TXB and its associated companies employ more than 600 professionals and serve the Texas and Oklahoma markets in retail convenience, petroleum wholesale, propane, and fuel transportation. Smartt has overseen store growth over the last 15 years, leading the chain to double in size. He has also implemented numerous concepts: a unique customer loyalty program; cutting-edge point-of-sale technology across all stores; and the rebrand to TXB, which includes a high-quality, made-to-order fresh food program and a robust line of private label products.
Only one thing is more important than becoming a part of the community, according to Smartt: giving back to it. He has become a leader in charitable giving programs, involving TXB in an annual Fishing & Golf Tournament that has raised more than $682,000 for 11 nonprofit child advocacy agencies through CASA of Central Texas Inc.
Smartt lives in Austin with his wife Shelly and their three children: Austin, Abby and Grace. When he's not busy with the TXB franchise or cooking for his family, he enjoys traveling, hiking and skiing.