NACS encouraged industry members to strive for greatness at the 2015-16 NACS Show.
“Test your limits. Test the unknown. And work together to get better,” Jack Kofdarali, president of Corona, California-based J&T Management Inc., told NACS Show attendees after accepting the gavel as the 2015-16 NACS chairman of the board during the 2015 NACS Show Closing General Session.
Kofdarali urged attendees to reach outside their comfort zones, whether testing new ideas or new products found at the NACS Show, seeking out advice to address business challenges or even reaching out to contact one’s elected leaders for the first time.
Kofdarali spoke about his family’s journey from the war-torn streets of Beirut to opening their first convenience store in the U.S., and the courage that it took his parents to leave everything behind. He said that the convenience store industry is full of similar stories of risk, whether in moving to new countries, starting a new business or expanding operations and trying new ideas.
“It’s about reaching outside of your comfort zone and striving to get better, to be better,” said Kofdarali.
Kofdarali urged attendees to be engaged in advocacy efforts, and shared his experience on how simple it can be to become involved for the first time.
“I still remember the first time I walked into the U.S. Capitol building as part of NACS Day on Capitol Hill. As an immigrant, it truly gave me chills walking through the halls of Congress. I had no idea that our elected leaders were that accessible and that NACS makes the process so easy.”
Not only does NACS help bring its members to Congress, it also brings Congress to members via the NACS In Store program in which elected leaders visit stores to learn about the convenience store industry and interact with customers.
Kofdarali hosted two of the 30 NACS In Store events held in 2015, one with Rep. Mimi Walters and one with Linda Sanchez.
“This is turning out to be one of the most successful programs at NACS. Members of Congress get it. They both took away ‘a-ha’ moments,” said Kofdarali.
“I’m very sure they will remember what they took back from their visits when there is a vote that affects our industry. We’re no longer simply a number or just an issue they’re simply voting on. We have become a person in their district — and a business that is part of the community. Now that makes a difference.”
“Get to know what NACS can offer you both here (at the NACS Show) and the rest of the year. You will fit in. And you will become better. Trust me, I know from experience,” urged Kofdarali.
The NACS Show is ranked as one of the top 40 largest trade shows in the U.S. More than 20,000 attendees from 60-plus countries are at the 2015 NACS Show in Las Vegas, which features four days of general sessions, more than 60 educational sessions and over 1,100 exhibiting companies in a record-setting 400,000 net-square-foot expo.