Holding firmly over his head the glass trophy symbolizing his honor as CSP’s 2013 Retail Leader of the Year, John MacDougall exuded the pride of accomplishment both as a motivated human being and as part of the inspired team at Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes.
It was a night that started with elegance and sophistication in the stately reception and banquet rooms in Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Wife Elaine, children, grandchildren, friends, colleagues, industry peers and suppliers—all decked out in suits and sparking evening gowns—first gathered for a VIP reception to personally extend well wishes and celebrate the circles that helped MacDougall carve out the Canastota, N.Y.-based chain’s success.
The formal reception that followed opened up the night to a wave of well-known industry veterans, including last year’s Retail Leader recipient, Don Zietlow of Kwik Trip, La Crosse, Wis.; Sam Susser and Steve DeSutter of Susser Holdings, Corpus Christi, Texas; Carl Bolch of RaceTrac Petroleum, Atlanta; Bill Douglass of Douglass Distributing, Sherman, Texas; Gus Olympidis of Family Express, Valparaiso, Ind.; and Dean Durling of QuickChek, Whitehouse Station, N.J.
“I’ve known John for a long time, and he’s not afraid to try new things, as with foodservice,” Zietlow said. “He’s great with people. He’s gentle and kind.”
“He’s been an innovator for over 25 years, distinguishing himself by his willingness to share,” said Paul Rankin, vice president of Country Fair Inc., Erie, Pa. “You can see that as he started franchising and … with helping start NYACS [the New York Association of Convenience Stores.]”
“We are proud of him,” said Alex Olympidis of Family Express. “We enjoy similarities in our cultures. He built a company with [a strong, upbeat] culture.”
With streaming photos of MacDougall’s childhood and years spent building his 85-store chain playing as guests dined, the event then moved to a more formal presentation led by Paul Reuter, former president and CEO of CSP and now chairman emeritus.
Reuter recalled a trip to Mount Rushmore, considering how inspired he was of the grand way four of America’s leaders were forever memorialized. Tying it back to the evening’s purpose, he said CSP’s Retail Leader honor was intended to “recognize leadership that made a lasting impression” on the industry.