July 2020

Inside Washington

One Voice: Lonnie McQuirter

This month, NACS talks with Lonnie McQuirter, director of operations at 36 Lyn Refuel Station.

Lonnie McQuirter

What role in the community do you think convenience stores should play?

Convenience stores reflect the neighborhoods we serve. You can learn about neighborhoods and how the community is evolving by paying close attention to the interactions and ambiance of the local convenience store. Without fail, you will find a strong operator in strong communities. We mirror and make investments a majority of the time based on the support of our neighbors.

What does NACS political engagement mean to you, and what benefits have you experienced from being politically engaged?

When a retailer is politically engaged—meaning they personally reach out to their congressional representatives and their staff—it positively affects the outcome of the issue for our industry. A key example of that is NACS’s victory in passing swipe fee reform a decade ago. NACS activated its retail members, and it ultimately led to legislation that saved the American consumer billions in card fees. A more recent example is the work being done to pass liability protections to ensure that those who risked and sacrificed a lot to remain open are not exposed to unethical ambulance chasers.

What federal legislative or regulatory issues keep you up at night?

I'm more concerned with the fact that many decision makers have little to no experience running their own businesses and have this hubris about how they should engage with us business operators. For instance, in this crisis much has been mentioned about first responders and those on the front lines, while with a loud silence ignoring those who maintain a clean and orderly store, provide lifesaving medicine and a safe place to go (getting away from a domestic violence situation, harassment, clean bathroom to use). Our staff do important work and, in many ways, have been overlooked during all of this instead of receiving the recognition and honor they deserve in my opinion.

What c-store product could you not live without?

Coffee, Altoids and spring water.