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Lincoln Storekeeper honored

Gail Kraig Beal followed policies, she treated people as she wanted to be treated, and she has succeeded for it.
The North Carolina Association of Convenience Stores names her 2004 Store Manager of the Year. Her company, Avery Companies, nominated her. She won over 3,684 other entries.
“To think that you were picked over 3,684 people is amazing,” said Beal.
Beal has managed the One Stop Store #117 on Maiden Highway since 1996. Before that she managed One Stop Store #122 in Hickory.
Beal’s store has the record for the highest sales volume and the best inventory control among One Stop Stores.
And, her employees tend to stay around. Beal has had two years with no turnovers. “Most of them have been here even longer than that,” she said.
Beal attributes her success to nothing more than being decent. “If you treat them like people,” she said, “they’re more willing to work for you. If it wasn’t for my group of people, I never could have done this.”
When Beal came to the Lincolnton store, the inventory was horrible. To improve it, she started working with the vendors more. Her attitude toward her employees helped her keep inventory.
Because they respected each other, they could get price control and inventory done quickly.
Beal said following policy makes everything run smoothly.
“Despite what people tell you, if you do everything by the book, it will all fall into place.”
Her company wrote a glowing tribute.
“Gail is from the old school. She is one of those people whose store and people come first,” said One Stop’s General Manager, Tom Tucker. “She absolutely lives and breathes her store.
“She is someone you can always, not sometimes, but always count on. She is devoted to her customers, her team members and her family,” said Candy Arey.
They cited as an example of her dependability her decision to sleep in a back room at the store during a snow fall so she could be available to her customers.
“I kept the store open with no power, just so people could get the things they need,” said Beal.
At the NCACS Convention in Hilton Head, S.C., Beal didn’t have any power, hot water or air conditioning. She received a coupon for two free days in Hilton Head for her inconvenience.
Beal thought she would be uncomfortable with all of the rich executives and oil magnates there, but she said everyone treated her as an equal.
“They made me feel like a celebrity,” she said. “I never got so many job offers.”
When her company asked her if she would take them, she said no. “I know which side of the bread my toast is buttered on,” Beal said.by Caleb Hawkins

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