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The Spirit of Giving

By Don Longo

The success of the convenience store industry is tied to consumers' desire for convenience. And fulfilling this desire has positioned many c-store retailers as the hub of their communities. Many are considered the "neighborhood" store. So is it any wonder that smart c-store retailers strive to be good neighbors?

Because we believe companies that are good neighbors are not only doing commendable works but are also great examples of success stories, Convenience Store News has done its best to highlight the many positive contributions made by this industry. Indeed, in the past two years, CSNews shared the American Business Media's highest honor for community service reporting with two industry leaders: Sheetz and BP.

In 2007, our coverage of Sheetz' community service activities was named second-runner up in the business media association's annual William D. Littleford awards, and last year, CSNews' coverage of BP's environmental efforts won a third runner-up award from the association.

While we're proud of the awards, we are prouder of the much-deserved recognition received by the c-store industry. The thousands of acts of community service performed by convenience retailers reflect positively on everyone in the industry. So to celebrate convenience store retailers that are involved in active community service programs aimed at bettering the lives of people in their markets, this year we are launching the CSNews Spirit Awards for Community Outreach.

The purpose of these awards is to raise the visibility of the convenience store industry as a positive force in America, to encourage increased community involvement by industry retailers, and to reward innovative and hands-on approaches to solving critical social problems.

To ensure both large and small companies have a fair chance of being recognized, the awards will be presented in categories based on company size. A Grand Spirit Award will be presented to the c-store retailer exhibiting the most creative, innovative and personal approach to giving back to its community.

Like the companies profiled in this issue, the focus on the award program is to recognize companies that go far beyond dollars and cents to make a difference in the communities they serve. Cash is nice, but giving back doesn't always mean writing a check. It's about making lasting connections.

Therefore, entries will be judged on the scope of giving; personal involvement of company management and company associates; degree to which the retailer gets its shoppers to participate; innovation and creativity of the programs; and good outcomes achieved.

Deadline for entries is June 30. The winners will be announced in our Aug. 10, issue, and an award ceremony will be held in the city of the Grand Spirit Award winner in September. To enter, visit the home page of CSNews Online to download a copy, or click here.

And our appreciation goes out to the six companies profiled in this issue for allowing us to share their community service activities with the rest of the industry.
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