Vic Dawn, owner of three stores in northern Kentucky, has been honored as the state’s 2012 Grocer of the Year. His was presented the award during the Kentucky Grocers Association Inc. & Kentucky Association of Convenience Stores Inc. (KGA/KACS) 71st annual awards luncheon, held Nov. 14 at The Castle Post in Versailles, Ky.
Jim Shields, account manager for Supervalu’s northern western region, introduced Dawn to luncheon attendees with a tribute to the personal and business qualities leading to the success of Dawn’s business.
“When I think about working with Vic over the years, there are three abilities I believe he excels at—vision, passion and focus,” said Shields during his opening remarks.
According to Shields, Dawn has always been a man who asks questions and invests time in learning about the food retailing business. He also has been quick to put into practice what he has learned. During his early days in the grocery business Dawn earned success and excelled at store management. He bought the store that he managed from the owner—his first step in achieving his dream. Dawn would buy other stores, but he eventually closed them; not because he couldn’t succeed with them but because he had a business vision and those stores did not fit the mental picture of what he wanted his company to be.
In the mid-2000s Dawn took his key management team on a trip to Louisville and northern Tennessee to look at different store formats. It was on this trip that Dawn saw the future of his company and he developed and built the California Marketplace store in 2007. This distinctive format has two entrances: one for a full-line traditional food store and another for a convenience store with fuel pumps on the parking lot. The store was an instant success and it has continued to grow business every year since it opened.
Five years later Dawn and his partners followed that project with the new Riverside Marketplace store in Ludlow, Ky., which opened in February 2012. Dawn’s company now operates three food stores in northern Kentucky. Dawn has used his vision to build the successful company that he first viewed in his mind more than 20 years ago.
Shields also spoke of the passion Dawn has for his industry.
“In my rather lengthy career in the food industry, I have seldom met a man who has more passion for this business than Vic Dawn,” Shields said. “He can literally talk for hours on the topics of how to build sales, how to price a category or what needs to be done to prepare for a new competitor.”
Dawn has exhibited a tremendous work ethic and will, in many cases, simply outwork the competition. This passion fuels Dawn to excel in business and drives him and his company to succeed.
When Dawn has a business problem or an opportunity, he is focused. Dawn excels with business math and knows the key metrics that make a business successful. He employs these skills in the management of his company. To maintain his edge he takes abundant notes. He reviews and refines the notes until he can recite them from memory. Dawn has a remarkable system of organization. At any time in a conversation he can reach in a file and find the information he is looking for; generally one of the many notes that support his position on a particular topic.
Regarding Dawn’s love of family, Shields said, “I would be remiss not to mention the most important achievement for Vic Dawn: his family. Vic has a beautiful wife Kathy who is a true partner in every sense of the word. Without her support over the years I’m quite sure Vic would not be as accomplished or as content. Their three children Amanda, Mitchell and Jenna are the joy of their lives, and Vic and Kathy are great examples for their children to follow.”
In closing, Shields said, “Vic Dawn excels at business and life; a man that can be successful at both is indeed blessed.”
In his acceptance remarks Dawn thanked his family and members of his management team for the success they all have created and enjoy.
“I have never received an award like this before and I can’t express how much this means to me and my family,” he said.
Dawn currently serves as a member of the Kentucky Grocers Association’s board of directors and is actively involved in formulating legislative and regulatory positions on issues impacting the grocery and supermarket industry in Kentucky.
Kentucky’s Convenience Store of the Year honors go to Bill Shanks’ CFM No. 175 Inc.
Bill Shanks’ CFM No. 175 in Versailles, Ky., was honored with the 2012 Convenience Store of the Year award during the KGA/KACS luncheon last week. Shanks accepted the award on behalf of his family and employees.
“I owe much of the success of my store to the employees and especially to my store manager Pam Trejo who has worked with me for 25 years,” he said during his acceptance speech.
Shanks began his career in the convenience and grocery store industries at the age of 15 working as a grocery bagger at the local Food Giant in Detroit, Mich. While attending the University of Kentucky he was hired by Eddie White, owner of several Convenient Food Marts in Lexington. After graduating from the University of Kentucky and with a lack of opportunities for teaching jobs at that time, Shanks accepted a manager training position with the Louisville-based Convenient Industries of America, franchisor of Convenient Food Marts in much of Kentucky. He worked in several corporate-owned stores in the Louisville area before transferring to Versailles in 1976. In 1977, thanks to a loan from his in-laws, Shanks and his wife Margaret purchased the store they still own and operate today.
Through the years Shanks has been blessed with good employees and living in a great community. Along the way, he has received additional awards in recognition of his outstanding store operations, including the 1982 Convenient Food Mart Inc. Operator of the Year award and the 1991 Franchisee of the Year for Dairy Mart Inc.
In 1998 Shanks’ store became an independent business. He also is an active member of the KGA/KACS and has participated in the annual KGA/KACS trip to Washington, D.C., for meetings with the state’s U.S. Congressional representatives.
In addition to working at the store, Shanks has been involved with a number of community organizations over the years. He and his wife live on their Woodford County farm and have a daughter, Megan.
Founded in 1941, the Kentucky Grocers Association and Kentucky Association of Convenience Stores is a joint statewide trade association representing approximately 350 member companies operating in a retail food and convenience marketplace of 3,300 locations across Kentucky. Membership includes retailers, wholesalers, distributors and related suppliers to the grocery, supermarket and convenience store industries
In the featured photo at top: Vic Dawn, right, accepts his award from The Kroger Co.’s Tim McGurk, 2012 KGA/KACS chairman.