August 27, 2014 4:02 pm

Politicians help recognize role of convenience stores in Halifax communities

MP Megan Leslie rings through customer purchases at a Halifax-area convenience store.

Natasha Pace/Global News

HALIFAX – It’s not every day politicians ring up your purchases at the local convenience store, but that was the scene in Halifax and other Maritimes regions on Wednesday.

Convenience Store Day it about people gaining a new perspective, says Mike Hammond, the president of the Atlantic Convenience Store Association.

“Today is the day where we get different personalities to come in and work behind the counter to get a sense of what it is that we do,” he said.

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Halifax city councillor Matt Whitman took part for the second year in a row.

“This small business is key to this neighbourhood, it’s probably the backbone,” he said. “A lot of things happen here. People meet people and it’s kind of this community, so we need to let these convenience stores and these communities know they’re important to us.”

Megan Leslie, an MP from Halifax, said convenience stores provide a familiar atmosphere.

“People who come in, it actually is the place where everybody knows your name, and that’s kind of nice,” she said.

She said a lot has changed since the last time she worked a cash register.

“Even just having a computerized cash register — I’m not that old, I don’t know when this happened.”

Donations were collected for the Children’s Wish Foundation. For every 20 minutes a politician worked, the store itself made a contribution.

Thursday was also a chance for politicians to hear about the issues small businesses face, like high credit card rates.

Jeff Lenard, who’s with the U.S. National Association of Convenience Stores, was on hand to see how things were going. He said his hope is that one day, American politicians can participate in a similar activities at their local convenience stores.

“Store operators [in the United States] are interested in today because its a model we can carry forward that they are doing very well here,” he said.

With 1,135 convenience stores in Nova Scotia, they make a substantial contribution to the economy.

Nova Scotia has 1,135 convenience stores and together they make a significant contribution to the economy, Hammond said.

“They are the staples of every rural and urban community across the province. Without them, there would be no communities I do believe,” he said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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