“[Competitors] were going to take gas and cigarettes—the heart and soul of our business,” he recalled. “How are we going to survive?”
His answer? Foodservice. “Long before the industry recognized it, we did,” he said.
But beyond any category, MacDougall said the company’s success rested on recognizing the needs of the consumer. One of his team’s strongest virtues was a “passion for satisfying the customer.”
That also meant taking risks in building bigger stores, hiring people from different industries and experimenting with the stores’ product mix and on-site food preparation. “It’s about servicing people the best we can,” he said. “If this is what customers need and want, and if we don’t have it, then we need it at Nice N Easy.”
MacDougall reflected on the importance of his business relationships. He expressed gratitude toward the individuals who believed in his ideas and their importance both early on and as the chain moves into the future.
“I can have an idea,” he said. “But if I don’t have someone across the table to explain it to, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
MacDougall went on to recognize individuals within his team, as well as industry peers he saw in the audience. “These are great people,” he said, concluding the evening by lifting his award—and lifting everyone’s spirits.