Toot’n Totum’s David Johnson receives the National Advisory Group’s inaugural Lifetime Award for Convenience Retailing.
By John Lofstock, Editor
The National Advisory Group (NAG), a convenience store trade association focused on small, mid-sized and family-owned businesses, has a long history dedicated to helping convenience store owners improve their businesses through education and networking.
Through the years, many individuals have selflessly dedicated their time and energy to ensuring NAG succeeds and holds a special place with convenience store owners. NAG is now proud to recognize these individuals with the launch of the NAG Lifetime Award for Convenience Retailing.
David Johnson, vice president of operations at Toot’n Totum Food Stores, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Award for Convenience Retailing. Johnson, who served as the NAG board chairman from 2009-2012, boasts more than 35 years of convenience store industry experience and continues to be an inspiration to young executives.
“I am proud to receive this honor from a wonderful organization,” Johnson said. “NAG has continued to serve as the forum for decision makers. Attendees have consistently benefited from the face-to-face sharing of ideas, regardless of their store count or geography.”
Johnson has been a NAG member for close to two decades. He attended his first NAG conference in the early 1990s and has always gone out of his way to make new NAG members feel welcome. He received the award last month at the 2015 NAG Conference in Santa Fe, N.M.
Johnson’s role in resurrecting NAG and providing leadership when it was needed most cannot be understated. He stepped forward in 2009 to serve a three-year term as the NAG Board Chairman and during that time he helped recruit new members, provided much-needed industry outreach to prospective members and helped cement NAG’s legacy as the premier networking event for small, mid-sized and family-owned convenience store chains.
DEEP OIL ROOTS
Johnson has been a part of the convenience store industry for the better part of four decades. He began his career with a summer job at Benton Oil Co., a Phillips jobber and terminal operator in Lubbock, Texas before his senior year in college.
“I barreled oil, observed the loading rack, helped maintain and deliver fuel to their dealer network,” Johnson said. ” Thanks to the Benton Oil family and others, upon graduation from Texas Tech, I was hired as a Phillips’ marketing trainee. I began as a driveway salesman in a three-bay station. I remember offering deluxe car washes for $2.50 and selling gas for 33 cents per gallon—a price that never changed during the entire six weeks I was there.”
Through the years, Johnson began operating his own chain of stores in Texas and transitioned to focus more on the convenience store business.
“As the c-store channel was emerging, I needed help organizing and accounting for the new processes, and (company president) Greg Mitchell, who had just begun as the second generation in his family’s Toot’n Totum business, advised me,” Johnson said. “We kept in touch and I was fortunate enough to join his leadership team, and remain so to this day.”
As one of the largest private employers in the Amarillo area, Toot’n Totum operates more than 70 stores, offering an array of services, including the Texas Lottery, Western Union, Mr. Payroll Check Cashing, gift cards, car washes and car care/lube centers. The c-store unique name derives from the 1950s when customers would drive up, toot their horns, and the store’s clerk would tote the orders outside to the cars.
Johnson has a long history of giving back to the community and firmly believes in helping where help is needed, including serving as the campaign chairman of the Amarillo, Texas YMCA. He has also worked with numerous other nonprofit charities throughout the years.
“Toot’n Totum giving back to the community has been consistently modeled by the Mitchell family,” Johnson said. “Greg clearly set the tone, and now his sons Andrew & Jeff are at the forefront of volunteer non-profit community efforts. I’ve been fortunate to participate, as well.”