NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah --Coming from a convenience store chain called Maverik, Brad Call could certainly invite assumptions of someone who’s rebellious and untamed. While no one can deny Call’s “adventurous” spirit (note his 244-store chain’s motto is “Adverture’s First Stop” and his title is vice president of adventure culture), the North Salt Lake, Utah-based retailer has no illusions about his responsibilities ahead as incoming NACS chairman. CSP Daily News took a moment to get his perspective on the industry and what he will bring to his new role.
Q:What do you see as the main issues facing the industry today?
A: We’ve got continued swipe fees, of course, which is the foremost issue at hand. That said, what I’d call the “food police” are out in droves, acting with the notion that those of us in the industry are not offering healthy choices to the community. To that point, there’s also the concern of menu-labeling regulation. A third issue would be renewable fuel standards and mandates that are unreachable.
Q:How do you see NACS addressing those concerns?
A:First of all, NACS has an advocacy group that is top-notch. We have veterans on Capitol Hill. And we’ve had that veteran leadership and a strong voice in large part because of ever-increasing donations to our political action committee. With those donations, we’re able to reach and help our members. That strength touches all the issues I’ve mentioned: card swipe, food concerns and fuel standards.
Beyond that, NACS is very aware that foodservice and food options have critical public-relations and legal angles, as well as legislative. It’s all an effort to help members be better stewards of healthy products for consumers.
These issues all have ramifications for members. For instance, if we don’t help enact change, fuel standards subject retailers to violations, opening us up to fines and potential litigation.
Q:How do you feel about taking on the chairmanship?
A:I’m excited. I have a unique situation in that I’ve lived in D.C. many years as a lobbyist. I know the ins and outs of what goes on, so I’m uniquely qualified and feel comfortable in the role.
Q:Is there anything personalitywise that you will bring?
A:The mantra of my company is “Adventure’s First Stop.” I certainly would envision a year full of fun and adventure. I have a zest for life, so I’m excited to serve in whatever role the association needs.
That said, it’s important to know that the association is already well-run. It already has strong leadership. We’ve got a great staff, and financially, we’re in a good position. I view my role as maintaining our successful course. My role is helping to captain the ship in the direction it has been taken over the last few years and try to better the industry.
Q:What would you say to the membership looking ahead to your year as chairman?
A:My biggest message is to get engaged. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. There’s a lot of grass-roots effort that has to be happen. And you don’t have to be a multi-store chain to be effective. Some of the most effective advocates are people with hometown stories. Those stories resonate well with lawmakers.
Second, we continue to rely on the financial support from members to keep our efforts going. You don’t get the kind of results we’ve gotten in the past without support from the rank and file.
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