What role in the community do you think convenience stores should play? Convenience stores are part of the fabric of our communities. They are the focal point where people come together for much-needed food, fuel and refreshments. Although these encounters are meant to be quick and convenient, they are essential interactions in our neighbors’ daily lives. Our stores should be and often are the community gathering point, providing essential services to our customers every single day.
What does NACS political engagement mean to you, and what benefits have you experienced from being politically engaged?
NACS political engagement ensures that someone always has the industry’s back. Someone is looking out for our needs and thinking strategically and thoughtfully about the future. The NACS government relations team makes sure that the needs, interests and business of convenience store companies are being looked after in Washington, D.C.
One of the biggest benefits of this engagement is the fact that we’re kept “in the know.” The NACS team tracks important legislative and regulatory developments that affect our business, and they keep us retailers well informed. NACS also brings us in to participate where needed. I’ve been a longtime attendee of NACS Day on the Hill, and I encourage everyone to attend. Traveling to D.C. to talk to your member of Congress is invaluable because every day, federal lawmakers work on legislation that has a real impact on our business.
What federal legislative or regulatory issues keep you up at night?
The biggest issue for me is one that is existential in nature: fuels policy writ large. I am concerned about what is happening in the current legislative and regulatory space with regards to the future of fuels. Our business is fuels agnostic. We don’t care what fuel the consumer wants. If it is legal, we want to sell it. We want to provide the best quality and cost product to consumers and give them options to choose from. Policymakers need to develop an energy policy that is technology neutral and promotes competitive market solutions.
Additionally, we need to ensure competition extends to all areas of our business, including payment competition and swipe fees. As a retailer, RaceTrac cannot choose which card network to run its transactions on. Visa and Mastercard control the market and set the prices and terms for banks that issue their cards, while increasing our swipe fees year after year. The market is broken, and we need to bring competition into the equation. Congress needs to pass the Credit Card Competition Act in 2023.
What c-store product could you not live without?
It’s a toss-up between Topo Chico sparkling water and RaceTrac Swirl World!