Massachusetts retailer is the 19th operator in 53 years to receive the association’s Distinguished Marketer Award.
By John Lofstock, Editor.
Few people have seen the convenience store and petroleum industry evolve as has Richard Salinsky, president of Best Petroleum in Lynn, Mass.
With more than 50 years of experience and dedication to the industry, Salinsky was honored last month with the prestigious Distinguished Marketer Award from SIGMA, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.
The SIGMA Distinguished Marketer Award is given to an individual whose deeds and efforts have made a significant contribution to the retail fuel marketing industry. Salinsky has been an active member of SIGMA since 1981 and has gained much admiration and respect from his association peers through the years. What’s more, the award has only been given out 19 times in SIGMA’s 53 year history, and Salinsky is the first New Englander to receive the award in more than three decades.
“It gives me considerable pride to belong to an organization that recognizes individuals who are extraordinary contributors,” said Frank Greinke, CEO of SC Fuels and current SIGMA president. “I was proud to be a member of the SIGMA board that voted unanimously to recognize Richard and place him in a very small group of historic industry leaders. Richard served tirelessly on the board for many years in multiple capacities. His accomplishments in leading conventions set a standard still in place today. It is a well-deserved honor.”
In his acceptance speech, Salinsky looked back on his long career and thanked his many friends that traveled to Washington to attend the awards dinner. “I am proud to accept the award on behalf of all SIGMA members that look to make a difference every day,” he said. “There is no greater honor than being honored by your peers. I feel truly blessed and humbled to see so many friends here with me tonight.”
Salinsky grew up in the petroleum business working for Bay State Petroleum in New England in the 1960s. In an interview with Convenience Store Decisions, he recalled the days when gasoline rose to 27 cents a gallon. “I think we were all kind of surprised by the jump to 27 cents, but none of us ever thought it would go over 30 cents.”
The early 1970’s changed the fuel industry—and Salinsky’s career—forever. After being fired in the aftermath of a corporate takeover, Salinsky co-founded Best Petroleum in 1972, growing it from a single full-service station in Norwood, Mass., to a chain of 30 fuel outlets, and Munchies Place convenience stores throughout eastern Massachusetts. Best also ran a large dealer and wholesale business that moved branded and unbranded fuels throughout the Northeast.
But 27 years after entering the business, with a single station and building Best Petroleum into a regional powerhouse, Salinksy was again faced with a difficult challenge: knowing when the time was right to move on. Once again, he had to reinvent himself.
In 1999, as the industry was undergoing massive changes and consolidation, Salinsky reached a deal with Sunoco to sell his dealer, franchise and wholesale business, keeping just two stores for himself. He continues to own and operate those two stores, one of which is the first location the company leased in 1972.
For his part, Salinsky reinvented himself by agreeing to take on a consulting role for the new station owners. Today, he wears the hat as principal of Executive Petroleum Consulting and president of Best Petroleum.
Now, with his award as a Distinguished Marketer, Salinsky is taking on the role of elder statesman. Developing future leaders is important to him, and he hopes this award can serve as encouragement to “marketers who may never be SIGMA president, but whose involvement is just as necessary for advancing the association.”