ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The NACS Foundation is inviting retailer and supplier partners to celebrate the convenience store industry's 24/7 commitment to the communities they serve as well as to recognize frontline workers, first responders, medical personnel and American Red Cross volunteers for the annual 24/7 Day on July 24.
"Convenience stores are essential businesses, not just for the items they sell and the convenience they provide, but also for what retailers and their teams mean to their community," said Stephanie Sikorski, executive director of the NACS Foundation and NACS vice president of marketing. "We are proud to celebrate local heroes during this year's 24/7 Day celebration."
There is no entry cost for retailers to join 24/7 Day and any retailer can do so. Specific campaigns can be built based on retailer needs and goals.
For three years, NACS has encouraged retailers to spotlight the good being done in their communities through the 24/7 Day initiative.
"We know that our operations are 24/7, but we often don't talk about things beyond just the convenience that we provide," Sikorski said. "Thank goodness that our stores are the fabric of communities, and that we have 24/7 operations. Whether it's a snow storm or a hurricane or a wildfire, because our stores are across the U.S. and centralized to those communities, it means that first responders have parking lots to set up shop and water and access to gas to be able to get to those sometimes-remote communities to do what they do."
24/7 Day launched in 2018 with three retailer participants: Sheetz, Wawa and RaceTrac. In 2020, 18 convenience retailers who represented 20 unique brands and 30,000 store locations across the United States joined together for 24/7 Day, a 500 percent increase over the inaugural year. Additionally, Sheetz, the National Emergency Number Association and the NACS Foundation's official media partner GSTV aided in disaster relief funding and told the c-store industry's story about its heart, with more than one million earned media impressions tied to outreach efforts, according to NACS.
"Our first responders and frontline workers continue to truly inspire us," said Sheetz President and Chief Operating Officer Travis Sheetz. "While we've always been grateful for their dedication and commitment, their hard work has shined even brighter through the pandemic where, as a nation, we've seen first-hand how tirelessly they work to care for others. As a company, it's always been important for us to show them our appreciation and we're hopeful this year's campaign will help them know that we, as an industry, are so incredibly thankful to each and every one of them."
Lindsay Buchanan-Puig, marketing coordinator for NACS, recommends that retailers think beyond the usual fire and rescue personnel.
"One participant is including electric linemen in the offer because the retailer has a lot of hurricanes in the area and it's very important to have electricity, [and] that's not something that we might have considered," she said.
Details on how to get involved with 24/7 day are available at conveniencecares.org/24-7-Day.
"It's amazing to be able to say thanks and recognize heroes across the U.S.," Sikorski said. "I don't know [any] other industry that has this [type of celebration] from an industry standpoint."