AT IRELAND'S FORECOURT AND CONVENIENCE AWARDS 2014
Left to right: Bill Penton, IFCR publisher, Dessie J. Aughey of award sponsor Air-Serv, Tom Noonan and Air-Serv’s Clive Steel
More than 350 guests were present in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, on the evening of Friday 12th September, to see Maxol Chief Executive Officer, Tom Noonan accept the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the ninth annual Ireland's Forecourt & Convenience Retailer (IFCR) Awards.
Mr. Noonan, who joined Maxol 35 years ago as a personnel manager, accepted the accolade in person from the awards' host, much-loved Irish radio and television presenter, Miriam O'Callaghan.
Tom was delighted to win such a highly esteemed award and spoke affectionately about his time working in the Irish fuel industry, the people he has encountered over the years and, more importantly, how Maxol's forecourt and convenience business has continued to develop during his tenure.
Accepting the accolade, Tom acknowledged that, since joining Maxol in 1980, he has enjoyed the constant support of Max, Noel and Malcolm McMullan, the directors of the main Maxol board. He also paid tribute to the outstanding group of independent retailers who run Maxol service stations throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, and he thanked his fellow employees, past and present, who have always shown such outstanding commitment to the Maxol cause.
Tom added that when he joined Maxol, the industry was 90% owned by foreign firms but that today it is 75% owned by highly regarded Irish companies who are setting the standard in forecourt convenience retailing that is the envy of similar operations around the world. "Maxol is at the forefront of this movement, as evidenced by the recent launch of our new food brand "MOREISH", which highlights our dedication to further evolving and enhancing Maxol's overall forecourt experience. We look forward to continuing to develop Moreish and introducing the new food brand into over 20 of our service stations by the end of this year, with lot's more to come."
Maxol also had another winner on the night as Conway's Maxol/Spar, Ratoath, Co Meath picked up the award for the Best Site with a Licence to sell alcohol. Guests on the night enjoyed the excitement as awards were presented in 11 other categories, all of them recognised as among the finest retailers in the country. There were more than 400 individual entries received from right across Ireland for this year's hotly contested awards. Independent retailers, symbol groups and oil companies were all represented among the lucky finalists at the Ballsbridge event.
The retail sector in Ireland employs more than 275,000 people, that is almost 15 per cent of all the jobs in Ireland. The sector also accounts for more than 10 per cent of Ireland's GDP – that's €16bn. These statistics indicate just why retail is regarded as so crucial to the nation's economy.
Bill Penton, publisher of IFCR and organiser of the awards event, said that he had been very impressed by the high calibre of all the finalists in this year's competition, "These awards are growing in popularity every year and they're a fantastic example of the way in which Ireland's forecourt and convenience retailers, north and south, are continuing to play a very vital role in their communities. Continuous investment in new forecourts means that the standards are getting higher every year and that means much-needed new jobs and support for Irish suppliers, growers and manufacturers."
Mr. Penton went on to say that he felt innovation and cutting-edge developments were an essential part of successful retailing in any sector, thanks to the fast-moving and competitive nature of modern society, "Ireland's Forecourt & Convenience Retailer Awards are the country's only specialist awards for the forecourt industry and provide an essential showcase for our very best retailers," he added. "This year, they are also helping to raise much-needed money for the Irish Grocers' Benevolent Fund."