38 APRIL 2016 nacsonline.com
employees and respect them, Stubley says. “That’s
the best thing employers can do.”
Be transparent. “More and more companies are
sharing and exposing their (profit) margins,” says Jim
Gray, a human resources and business transitioning
consultant in Charleston, South Carolina. “People
want to work for a company that is making money.”
Be honest with new hires. Tell them the job is
entry-level, at minimum wage and flexible hours—
but—it offers work experience and a great learning
experience about business. “You have to help people
grow and learn,” says labor lawyer Wilson.
Pay close attention to joint employer
operations. Just because a separate company runs
the store, the parent company could be responsible
for compliance with laws and regulations. And
those rules grow more and more complex. Some
decisions are pending in courts.
Get to know elected officials at every
government level. Get ahead of the issues. Be sure
you are compliant with all regulations.
Step up your game. Produce a handbook for
success as well as a rule book. Be a coach to your
employees. Tell them what they will learn. “If
employees know that their employer cares about
them, that is the best thing the employer can do,”
says Michael VanDervort, executive director of
Atlanta-based CUE Inc., which strives to help
companies stay union-free by creating positive
Importance of Culture
Heeding the aforementioned advice will transition
convenience store owners and managers from
bumping along in a reactive mode to a proactive one.
The prevailing advice, however, seems to stress the
importance of actively cultivating a good company
culture, and rightly so. “While people need to pay the
bills, they stay at a job because they find a purpose,
and that is the most significant motivator,” says Terry
Dunn, president of Positive Management Leadership
in Simpsonville, North Carolina. Dunn also stresses
communicating with employees. “In the absence of a
message, people will make up one,” he says.
“When you treat employees well, they treat
customers well and the customers come back,”
Last fall, an elderly traveler rolled into a Sheetz
store and fueling station in Altoona, Pennsylvania,
where the company is headquartered. The man’s
car had a flat tire and he didn’t have a spare.
But a clerk at the store said the spare tire on his
car might fit the customer’s car. It did, and the
employee gave the man his spare tire. When
Sheetz management heard about the incident,
they thanked the employee—by buying him a set of
new tires for his car.
That sort of employee and corporate behavior
helps Sheetz win accolades. In early March,
Fortune magazine reported that Sheetz and Tulsa,
Oklahoma-based Quik Trip had earned places on its
“100 Best Companies to Work For” list.
Fortune said the companies on its list “offer many
benefits that include better financial performance,
less employee turnover, higher levels of customer
satisfaction and loyalty, more innovative and
creative thinking, higher productivity and
enhanced public perception.” That’s a combination
that every local elected official can embrace.
Jeff Rowe is a Long Beach, California-based writer.
He’s been a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal,
The Associated Press and Orange County Register and a
news director at KDOC-TV Los Angeles.
“Not every store operator can pay $15 an hour,
but everyone can build a good work culture.”