New England Industry Group Honors Top Convenience Retailers of 2023

Six operators were recognized for their customer service, community service and leadership.
Danielle Romano
Managing Editor
Logo for the New England Convenience Store & Energy Marketers Association

STOUGHTON, Mass. — Convenience store owners from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are being honored for their commitment to customer service, cleanliness, value, food and beverage offerings, and community service.

The New England Convenience Store & Energy Marketers Association's (NECSEMA) annual Operator of the Year Awards recognized six convenience retailers, including:

  • Owner Operator of the Year, Peter Diarbakerly of Fresh Village in Marlborough, Mass.
  • Manager of the Year, Rose Salvatore of Nouria Energy in Kingston, Mass.
  • Merchandising, Sarah Ferullo of Xtramart in Hampstead, N.H.
  • Foodservice, Kathy Irazzary of Rusty Lantern at Irving Cooks Corner, Brunswick, Maine
  • Customer Service, Maged Badrous of YATCO Energy in Lunenburg, Mass.
  • Community Service Award, Candace Choate of Nouria Energy in Lewiston, Maine

"These proprietors represent the best of our industry and we're proud to recognize them and their teams for delivering top quality service and value to their local communities," said NECSEMA Executive Director Peter Brennan. "While convenience stores remain the go-to locations for fuel, lottery, snacks and other staple items, many have taken innovative steps to deliver high-quality, healthy prepared meals and groceries, expanded locally sourced food options, created jobs and become vital community partners. Today's convenience stores offer more options than ever before and it’s a testament to the hard work and commitment of these owners.

[Read more: NECSEMA Annual Show Highlights Foodservice & Fuels Innovation]

"NECSEMA was pleased to honor these outstanding individuals who uphold the highest work standards," he added. "These individuals have exemplary work ethic and a passion for service that attracts and keeps customers frequenting their stores."

NECSEMA, the largest convenience store trade group in New England, has been honoring excellence in the industry for 30 years. The winners were chosen from more than 60 nominees from across New England. A panel of judges consisting of both retail colleagues and suppliers reviewed the nominees and chose the winners based on customer service skills, merchandising abilities, overall store appearance, operations, community service and leadership.

"The pride these owners take in their stores is obvious from the moment you pull into the parking lot," said Lisa Lawinger-Brown, director of Membership & Marketing at NECSEMA. "These stores are fresh, clean and inviting and offer attractive and well-organized selections of products and fresh food, create good paying jobs with benefits and support local communities."

The New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association represents and promotes the interests of more than 1,700 convenience store and service stations across New England by providing members with legislative and regulatory advocacy on key issues and valued services for all members, including resources, networking, training and educational programs.

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