From the outside looking in, most people may not understand the enormous complexity of the convenience store industry. This complexity, coupled with cross-channel competition, forces the industry to be innovative, nimble, and on the cutting edge of understanding the migratory nature of consumer needs. Tack on the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the velocity of change has accelerated.
But if you ask industry veteran Vito Maurici what force continues to propel the channel forward, he will tell you that it’s the people and the lasting impact mentorship can have.
“I have been tremendously blessed and honored to have caring and trustworthy colleagues and mentors who have given their time and energy to coach me throughout most of my diverse and versatile career,” said Maurici, this year’s supplier inductee into the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame.
Maurici, in turn, has paid it forward. Of the achievements he is most proud of is the opportunity he’s had to give back by serving as a coach and mentor to others. Throughout a storied tenure, Maurici, who today serves as senior vice president of sales and trade relations for McLane Co. Inc., has played an important role in promoting members of his teams to positions with greater responsibility and accountability.
“If I had a small part in them achieving their career goals, it is absolutely among my most significant professional accomplishments,” he told CSNews.
Fellow industry veteran David Onorato, the 2020 supplier inductee into the CSNews Hall of Fame and vice president, general manager, small format stores for The Hershey Co., has high praise for Maurici’s leadership and influence on the industry.
“As a friend of Vito’s for many years, I have had a front-row seat and watched him and been able to appreciate everything Vito does for the industry, has done and will continue to do well into the future. Simply put, he’s an outstanding individual and he puts everybody in front of him — his teammates, his customers, his friends and his family,” Onorato said.
A Jack of All Trades
Maurici received his undergraduate degree in marketing and management from Indiana University's (IU) Kelley School of Business, where he earned academic and athletic honors. He was awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor for his athletic and academic accomplishments while at IU. He was also a two-time recipient of All-Big Ten honors and twice selected Honorable Mention All-American as a four-year varsity wrestler.
His distinguished career spans 26 years as a sales and marketing executive.
His tenure within the convenience industry began with Altria Group Distribution Co. as a territory sales manager. He rose through the ranks to ultimately become vice president of sales, successfully overseeing the strategy, execution and engagement of new product launches, merchandising programs, and customer partnerships.
After 16 years with Altria, Maurici joined NJOY, a U.S. manufacturer and distributor of electronic cigarette and vaping products, in June 2010 as its senior vice president of sales and distribution. He was instrumental in the company's growth from a startup to a billion-dollar valuation.
In June 2016, Maurici was ready for a new challenge and accepted his current role as senior vice president of sales and trade relations for McLane, one of the largest supply chain services companies in the United States. Reporting to CEO Tony Frankenberger, Maurici oversees the distributor’s grocery division trade channels, including c-store, mass merchandisers, drug, wholesale club, travel centers, dollar stores, military, and independent retailers.
He has transformed McLane’s sales mission to focus on being solution oriented, driving sales for both customers and McLane, while leading approximately 300 sales teammates.
“McLane Co. was started in 1894 and is an industry-leading and very well-respected foodservice solutions company. My work with other companies has involved direct contact with McLane throughout my entire career. The company's strong values, reputation for integrity, stability, and terrific leaders and teammates were among the many factors leading to my decision to join the company when the opportunity arose,” recalled Maurici, who’s also led trade marketing efforts for Philip Morris International in central Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and worked as a strategic consultant to 7-Eleven Inc., where he formulated and implemented strategies for the multi-billion-dollar tobacco category nationwide.
Looking to the Future
Reaching this point in his career and attaining Hall of Famer status, Maurici says he has gained a wealth of knowledge over the years. Key among the lessons learned is listening to teammates’ needs, removing obstacles to their success, and developing their skills so that they can achieve their career goals. This is critical to developing leaders, he emphasized.
“The more you grow and trust your team, the more they will exceed your expectations,” the McLane executive expressed.
Looking ahead, Maurici is as bullish today about the future of the convenience store business as he was when he first started in the industry. He is excited about how innovation will aid the perseverance of the people working in this industry, and how the industry will hold the line in continuing to be integral.
“As I thought about my career in preparation for [the Hall of Fame] event, I feel so blessed and grateful to be a part of this industry for so many years. As I reflect on what makes this industry so special, one thing comes to mind and that’s people,” he said during the 35th annual CSNews Hall of Fame awards gala, held Nov. 11 in Des Moines, Iowa. “The people in this industry are truly special. Whether it is an associate in the store working the first shift, a warehouse employee selecting groceries and loading trucks, a driver delivering products to the store, or an independent c-store owner, the common thread is great people make this industry what it is.”