Rahim Budhwani lives in two worlds. In one, he’s meeting with world-shaking figures such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss how to bring best practices in U.S. convenience retailing to the Indian marketplace. In another, he’s adding bubble tea and Philly cheesesteak tacos to his 12-store Alabama chain, 6040 LLC.
Rahim appears equally comfortable in both worlds, and he uses lessons from both to improve on the other. Take the bubble tea: He took inspiration from stores in Japan he visited during his time as chairman of NACS.
Budhwani’s year as chairman may be over, but his leadership will be felt long after, particularly for the spotlight he has helped put on the industry’s independent operators. During a speech at the 2017 NACS Show in Chicago, he spoke to Brazilian audience members in Portuguese and addressed the entire audience in his native language, Hindi, reflecting the varying faces of the industry and its customers.
Though he has rubbed shoulders with big names around the world, Buhdwani says it’s his family—his wife, children, parents and siblings—that inspires him. Not to mention the family he’s developed working in this industry. “My close friends,” he calls them, “who feel almost like family, as well as those who push our industry ahead as we continually reinvent convenience.”
Above all, he truly believes in this industry’s ability to improve life for everyone. “Our industry has the power to change the world for the better,” says Budhwani. “That’s pretty inspiring to me.”
150,000—Number of miles Budhwani traveled as NACS chairman