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NACS SHOW 2017
THE FACE OF A MOVEMENT
Rahim Budhwani has had a whirlwind year as NACS’ 2016-2017 chairman. CEO of Hoover, Ala.-based 6040 LLC,
a 12-store chain, Budhwani has been able to reach out to one-store operators and persuade many to participate in
legislative causes and educational activities. Here are some of his thoughts as his term comes to a close.
By Angel Abcede
How would you describe your past
year as chairman?
Rahim Budhwani: An amazing experience. It’s also humbling. I am chairman
of an association that
has great respect that
goes beyond our industry, and I continually
heard people telling
me how much NACS is
admired. It goes beyond
just within our industry
and it’s global in scope.
But even more than that, we are a people
business, and I loved meeting so many
people during my travels.
What was your most memorable
We don’t have space to list them all—
and my term isn’t over yet, so there may
be others. And I don’t want to give away
some of the stories I will tell at this year’s
NACS Show. But I think the most memorable would be standing on the NACS Show
stage accepting the chairmanship with
my mom and dad sitting in the front row. I
will cherish that memory for a lifetime.
What surprised you the most?
It’s not necessarily surprising, but it was
interesting to see that all small operators,
no matter which part of the country they
are from, have the same goals and the
same issues. Everyone has the American
dream in mind and is constantly working
hard to achieve that.
What has been most on the minds of
Mostly trying to look at what the numbers are telling us today and the trends
that could affect our business tomorrow. The NACS State of the Industry numbers provide context for benchmarking around what we are doing now. And
there are some great research reports and
tools from NACS, Conexxus and the Fuels
Institute to help us look at the future,
whether it’s the growth of electric vehicles or healthy choices in stores.
What has been your biggest
I have spent the past few years encouraging ethnic trade associations and other
groups to become more active in our legislative processes. We need to speak as
one industry as often as we can to tell our
Do you think more work needs to be
Yes! This is the just the beginning. I think I
may have just found the door to the cave.
We have to still walk in and find all the
“treasures” that are lying in there. It’s not
easy to engage all 90,000-some one-store
operators, but we are making progress.
And the effort is worth it.
What challenges do you see the
Everyone wants the piece of the same pie
that is convenience: QSRs, big box, drug
stores, electronics retailers, Amazon, you
name it. Everyone wants to be a more
convenient store. So that is going to be
the biggest challenge for all of us. What
we need to continue to do is define our
offer as different than the competition.
We have a huge advantage by being in
every community. I think we have a great
story to tell about how c-store doesn’t
just stand for convenience store—it also
stands for community store.
As an independent operator, what
were you able to bring to the table as
My being a small operator and chairman
of the board has helped some huge operators see things through a smaller operator’s vision. This helped NACS—and the
industry—significantly, too. It sends a
strong signal to everyone that it’s not an
organization for big companies. NACS is
for anyone who wants to be engaged in
this industry. And anyone can reach the
pinnacle if he or she chooses to.
What advice would you have for the
It is a very evolving industry, and I think
everyone knows that. From my perspective, it will be important for NACS to continue to stay in constant touch with the
pulse of the small operators because
they are the ones that quietly change
the industry. They have the power to do
things faster than anyone—I know from
I think most important is something that
is also obvious: We are a unique industry
in how we help make each other better.
And that extends to our leadership as well.
I appreciated all the advice and assistance I
had from past chairmen and other leaders
in the industry. So, of course, I will still be
around to help in any way I can.