NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Sarah Bibbs' foray into the convenience channel was a leap of faith.
Fifteen years ago, she was working in the mortgage industry when one of her colleagues left to take a position at Eby-Brown Co., the largest privately-owned tobacco, candy and convenience distributor in the United States. A few years later, Bibbs reached out to that colleague to discuss a potential sales job for her husband. The colleague told her about a newly created position at Eby-Brown that he thought would be a perfect fit for her.
After many conversations and overcoming her personal fears of upending her career, Bibbs took the leap into the convenience channel and never looked back, joining Eby-Brown as a pricing and promotions coordinator.
"Throughout the past 11 years, I have held multiple positions with increased levels of responsibilities, all giving me the opportunity to diversify and grow my personal and professional skill set," said Bibbs, who today is responsible for developing strong, long-term partnerships with the vendor community.
Challenges she faces in her current role include delivering new and innovative solutions to the market so that Eby-Brown's customers can grow their business. With trends in the candy and snacks category continually evolving and becoming more interesting daily, Bibbs must deliver the right product mix to all Eby-Brown customers — from independents to large chains.
Despite the challenges, what Bibbs loves most about her position is that no two days are alike.
"Every day, we face new challenges and opportunities that provide me with learning experiences," she said. "I love learning about the new trends and the best way to integrate them into our business. I enjoy finding solutions that fulfill both the goals of Eby-Brown and our vendor partners, creating a positive outcome for everyone that ultimately benefits our customers."
Reflecting on her time and experiences in the convenience channel to date, Bibbs said what she's found most rewarding is the network of people she's collaborated with and learned new things from. Her work also has allowed her to live by her own code, achieve her career goals and stay true to herself.
She advises fellow women in the c-store industry to always consider the work and value they can deliver to their company.
"The results your work delivers will speak volumes and take you to the next level in your career," she told Convenience Store News. "Set your personal and professional goals, stay focused, dedicated and, most importantly, stay true to yourself."