Congressman goes behind the counter to understand convenience stores

Local News

OHIO COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) You see many different people buying things or working at convenience stores. Customers at an Ohio County travel plaza saw someone different behind the register: Kentucky Congressman James Comer.

Customers at the Huck’s on the Western Kentucky Parkway see clerks at the register or preparing food. For one hour this morning, they saw a U.S. Congressman work along side them.

“It’s interesting for someone like him to see what we do,” says Nicki Smothers-Easler, who is a manager at Huck’s.

“Pretty good deal,” adds Ricky Morgan, who was a customer at Huck’s. “They need to get out and see how the rest of the people live.”

Rep. Comer was behind the register, and behind the scenes learning what it takes to run a convenience store, how the workers are trained and what it’s like behind the counter. It was part of an in-store experience organized by the National Association of Convenience Stores.

“It’s been a while. It’s probably been 20 years,” says Rep. Comer, when asked when was the last time he operated a register.

“I thought that was neat,” adds Bridget Reed, an associate at Huck’s. “It’s nice to see people try to be humble and actually show that they are a people person.”

“I think a lot of times they see the convenience store industry, people assume it’s easy. You just run a register, wait on people, but there’s so much more that goes in to such as training,” says Alisha Black, Huck’s Training Director.

Rep. Comer says he wanted to learn more about the industry, which he calls one of the most regulated in the country.

“This is a very regulated industry and we vote on things like the farm bill that affects things like purchasing food in convenience stores with EBT cards. I want to make sure I understand the challenges the industry has. I can take that back to Washington and try to make this industry more business friendly,” he said.

Comer also says he learned more about the technology and how workers confirm IDs of those buying alcohol or tobacco products. Workers hope he understood more about what they experience behind the counter.

“I hope he did. I can only hope,” Easler said.

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(This story was originally published on November xx, 2019)

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