The People's Retailer

Remembering Nice N Easy's John MacDougall on social media and beyond

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

John MacDougall 1941-2014 Nice N Easy (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores)

CANASTOTA, N.Y. -- Many convenience store chains are faceless to the public, or are known primarily by a mascot or logo. But John MacDougall, the prominent CEO of upstate New York's Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes chain, became a visible, well-known local celebrity and company frontman who excited customers.

MacDougall was the guy in the TV commercials dodging a cattle stampede or a jet-propelled cartoon pig or literally turning blue in the face. As the jolly, unflappable shopkeeper in a half-dozen regional spots for Nice N Easy, MacDougall has forged a business image and model based not so much on turning convenience merchandise, but by gaining the public's trust.

He even put his face on the comment cards so customers could write him directly. It's a personal appeal that won fans devoted enough to pull out their smartphones when they saw him driving down the street and post the video on YouTube.

In part because of this celebrity status, but also because of his role as a well-respected industry champion and mentor to countless employees and for being an eternal optimist, the passing of MacDougall on June 21 was met with an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy and affection on social media.

Many retweeted Nice N Easy's initial announcement: "This post is made in deep sorrow. Nice N Easy President & CEO John MacDougall passed away. Goodbye, dear friend."

Fran Duskiewicz, Nice N Easy's senior executive vice president, tweeted, "This world is better because John MacDougall was a part of it. We need to keep it that way by remembering him. Always."

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers