Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 9
selves and bring innovation to the industry," he says. "In fact, our vision is to
create the business that will put Sheetz,
as we know it today, out of business."
He went on to note that innovation
would not happen without Sheetz'
second focus area: culture. "All of us sell
a lot of the same products," Sheetz says.
"The big difference is how you sell them."
A "strong culture" is a key differentiator, he added. "Everything happens
because of our people," Sheetz says. "We
all have to be more attractive than the
competition. And to use a term from Silicon Valley, everyone is trying to 'disrupt'
the model for how you use your people.
"The focus of these disruptors is
how to take costs out of the system or
redefine convenience, but it's not about
culture," he continues. "And it needs to
be. I truly believe that customers come
to your stores because they like the experience. They like you. And that comes
from a healthy company culture."
Additionally, it was Sheetz' grandfather, Jerry Sheetz, who instilled in the
family the importance of giving back and
serving the community. Not only did the
Sheetz family take this focus to heart,
but Sheetz Inc.'s employees did as well.
Twenty-five years ago, they created their
own employee-run charity and have
since contributed more than $20 million
to buy toys and clothes for local children
in need during the holiday season.
"Our industry's commitment to the
communities we serve is truly amazing,"
Sheetz notes. "We collectively contribute $1 billion a year to charities. But it's
not about just stroking checks. It's about
The NACS Show featured thousands of the latest
products and services that c-stores sell and use
More than 23,000 attendees gathered at the
show for four days of learning and networking to
help them grow their bottom line.
volunteering time, donating product
and supporting first-responders. There
is no industry more grounded in their
communities than we are."
William Shatner was the closing speaker
at the 2017 NACS Show. The actor,
writer, Golden Globe and Emmy winner
and philanthropist spoke to an auditorium packed with people who were
not only convenience-store retailers or
suppliers, but also fans of "Star Trek,"
"Rescue 911," "T.J. Hooker," "Boston Legal" and even the Priceline commercials.
"I'm the reason you stayed so long,"
Shatner said addressing the room. "I
hope I'm worthy. I know you're worthy
because of everything I've read, seen
and heard in the last weeks having to do
with the hurricanes and the floods and
what the convenience stores did during
"I thought 'Wow, I'm going to speak
in front of those people who did all
that good work,'" he continued. "You
raised $15 million to contribute to
the Red Cross. The stories of what the
convenience stores have done in times
of emergency is really inspiring. I really
had no idea."
He then went into "Shatner's Rules,"
a number of life lessons that formed
the basis of his 2012 book of the same
name. "There are certain rules that I'm
going to tell you about that apply to you
and your stores," Shatner says.
His first rule, and my personal favorite, was No. 1, which is "say 'yes.'"
"I almost always say 'yes,'" Shatner
says. "'Yes' means opportunity. 'Yes'
makes the dots in your life appear, and
if you're willing to be open and you
connect those dots, you don't know
where they're going to lead. If you
don't invest yourself fully, the dots
won't connect. The lines you make with
those dots always lead to interesting
places. 'No' closes doors. 'Yes' kicks
them wide open." Captain James T.
Kirk has spoken. O