Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND makes a stop in Dickinson

Patrons of The Hub in Dickinson were treated to a guest employee on Monday. The Hub—located north of Wal-Mart and co-owned by New England resident Chris Fitterer—welcomed Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND behind the counter.

Assitant Manager Melanie Stradling (L) shows Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND (R) how to operate the till. (PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald)
Assitant Manager Melanie Stradling (L) shows Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND (R) how to operate the till. (PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Patrons of The Hub in Dickinson were treated to a guest employee on Monday. The Hub—located north of Wal-Mart and co-owned by New England resident Chris Fitterer—welcomed Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND behind the counter.

In August 2014 the National Association of Convenient Stores developed a program called ‘In-Store’ that was modeled at connecting retailers with their members of Congress. The hope is that this connection will foster a better relationship, so they can talk to each other if they have any questions.

So what questions might a convenient store have a for a Congressman?

Within the realm of a convenient store, especially one that offers fuel services, there is a wide range of legislation that effects the daily activities of a convenience store business.

“You name [the legislation], it touches us,” said Jared Scheeler, General Manager of The Hub. “There’s a lot of stuff we have to keep up to speed on and also keep in our member of congress’s ear so they understand how it effects our industry.”

When you pull into a convenience store and fill your tank, go in and purchase a sandwich and use your debit card to pay, that convenient store has to adhere to standards that effect each one of those activities; renewable fuel standards, proper food labeling and cyber security, all three are major issues dealt with through legislation in Congress, just to name a few.

Cramer’s visit to The Hub marks the 28th visit of the year through the program across the United States. Scheeler was on the committee with NACS that developed the program and said he had always wanted The Hub to be a participant, though when the launch happened last year construction on the store wasn’t quite complete.

Fitterer said he was happy to see the congressman in the store, and appreciates the value this meeting can have.

“I think it’s a great deal for any congressmen to get out here and understand our industry, the good and the flawed parts of what’s going on,” Fitterer said.

The overall response from the program has been positive, according to NACS Political Engagement Manager Caroline Quat.

“We have to tell people ‘we’ll get to you.’” Quat said. “Both the retailers and members of congress realize how important it is and we just don’t have enough days, and we don’t have enough hours to get everyone who is wanting to do it this month”

As for what Cramer thought of the experience?

The technology is something that impressed him the most, but it also made him think about security.

“The technology is so fascinating,” Cramer said. “It also raises a really important point for me in congress, and important legislation surrounding cyber security.”

He said one of the more surprising aspects of his duties was the ease of the till and cash register.

“One thing I didn’t expect was how easy the till would be,” Cramer said. “The ease with which the technology allows you to work with it surprised me.”

Cramer spent over an hour being toured around the different parts of The Hub, from the refueling stations to behind the counter duties, and the experience gave him some insight into what it takes to run a convenient stores, and the amount of different issues that effect the day-to-day business.

“These are big issues that we debate everyday in congress, and to see how it all works in this scenario is very, very helpful to me,” Cramer said.

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