ERIE, PA – Convenience stores are a microcosm of Pennsylvania businesses, as Congressman Mike Kelly learned first-hand while briefly serving behind the counter of a Country Fair store on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
Many legislative issues affect the convenience industry, said Jon Taets, Director of Government Relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores.
Kelly, R-Butler, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, and Mercer Counties, visited the Country Fair store at Peninsula and 12th Street, as part of a series of events held by the NACS across the country. NACS describes the events as giving elected officials a first-hand experience with store operations and a chance to discuss issues that impact both stores and their customers.
Paul Rankin, Vice President of Retail Marketing for Country Fair, notes, “In the summer, our Peninsula and 12th Street store serves over 2,000 customers a day. They are immediately affected by legislation on environmental fuel standards, excise taxes, credit card fees, and more. Just as those impact our bottom line, they also affect our customers.”
“Very few issues don’t involve our industry,” Taets said. “Sometimes officials in Washington, D.C., haven’t been at a convenience store and don’t realize the practical impact of the legislation they are working on.”
NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 153,000 stores nationwide selling fuel, food and merchandise, serves more than 165 million customers daily—half of the U.S. population—and has sales that are 11% of total U.S. retail and foodservice sales. NACS has 1,900 retailer and 1,800 supplier members from more than 50 countries.
Country Fair employs over 1100 people in Pennsylvania at its 59 stores, with more working in western New York and eastern Ohio. It was named one of America’s Best Mid-Size Employers in 2019 by Forbes.