Georgia Association of Convenience Stores

News & Announcements

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    Altria’s IQOS Tobacco Device Debuts in U.S.

    October 8, 2019​

    ATLANTA—Altria has brought IQOS to the United States at last. On Friday, the tobacco company will officially unveil its heat-not-burn product at the new IQOS store in Altanta, CNBC reports. After more than two years of regulatory paperwork, IQOS provides a nicotine rush like cigarettes but with fewer toxins.

     “It’s perfect timing,” said Michael Lavery, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. “I don’t think they would have expected some consumer uncertainty around vapor coinciding with the launch of IQOS in the U.S.”

     In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the go-ahead for Altria to sell IQOS in the United States under marketing regulations to ensure only adults use the device. Altria and Philip Morris International developed IQOS together, then Philip Morris continued the work once the two companies separated in 2008. Philip Morris debuted IQOS in Japan and Italy five years ago, with the device now in 49 markets. Altria has the licensing agreement to market IQOS in the United States.

     In Russia and Japan, IQOS has become popular, but it has yet to catch on in the United Kingdom and Canada. IQOS uses real tobacco, heating the leaves rather than burning them, which doesn’t ignite the chemical process smoking does that releases harmful toxins.

     Altria will only sell the devices at its own kiosks and stores, but IQOS heatsticks will have a wider distribution. The company has plans to open a second store in Atlanta in a few weeks, plus have mobile stores in the city and popup kiosks in convenience stores.

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    GACS Founder Calvin Thomas “Tom” Griffith Passes Away

    Calvin Thomas “Tom” Griffith, born May 30, 1931, passed peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on September 30, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. He was predeceased by parents Malcolm and Ruby Lee Cain Griffith; brothers Carlton and Lamar. Mr. Griffith is survived by his loving and ever-patient wife, Mimi Griffith, after 65 years of marriage. “Pops” also leaves his legacy to his son Mike (and his spouse, Victoria) with children Clayton, Chase, and Austin—spouse, Halee—(and their mother, Ginger); his son Brian (and his spouse, Cathy) with children Robert—spouse, Meg—and Tyler; his son Steve; his son Chris (and his spouse, Allyson) with children Lauren and Will; his brother Cecil; Two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews also survive him.

    Mr. Griffith was a Yeomen Third Class, serving in the United States Navy beginning in May 1950. He was Honorably Discharged in March 1954. In 1951 Mr. Griffith, Member of Ye Royal Order of “Blue Nose”, served on the USS LST 980 crossing the Arctic Circle on June 17, 1951.

    A true Athenian, Tom graduated from Athens High and attended the University of Georgia where he became a highly successful business entrepreneur. From delivering groceries on his bicycle in his early childhood to being an original founder of Golden Pantry Food Stores, Inc. in 1965. Recognized by his peers by becoming President/Founder of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores and President/Chairman of the National Association of Convenience Stores and became the First Southeast convenience store inductee in the Food Industry Half of Fame. Heavily interested in the political arena he served on the board of the Business Council of Georgia, served as Chairman of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, served as a Board Member of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, served as the President of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, appointed Lieutenant Colonel, Aide De Camp, Governor’s Staff by Governor Roy G. Barnes, and participated on multiple civic charities and organizations. Mr. Griffith was awarded the Key to the City of Athens, Georgia by Mayor Nancy Denson on the 50th anniversary of Golden Pantry Food Stores. An avid golfer and gin player, his proceeds will be missed by ALL.

    >The family will receive friends and well-wishers between 5:30pm and 7:30pm on Thursday, October 3 at Lord and Stephens West (1211 Jimmy Daniel Rd, Bogart, GA 30622). A celebration service will be held at 11:00am on Friday, October 4th at Athens First United Methodist Church (327 North Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30601).
    In lieu of flowers the family asks that you send a donation to Extra Special People (E.S.P.): Extra Special People, Inc.- 189 VFW Dr, Watkinsville, GA 30677 or online at

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    State of Emergency declared ahead of hurricane Dorian

    Governor Kemp declared a State of Emergency at 3:09 PM declared for the following 12 counties - Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce & Wayne Counties.

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    Kirby to join GACS

    August 23, 2019​

    Top Kevin Kirby to Join GACS After several weeks of searching for the perfect candidate - again we are a very fortunate association - we’ve found him! 

    We are thrilled to welcome Kevin Kirby, IOM as the new Manager, Events & Administration. He comes to us with a wealth of industry related experience. Having earned is Institute for Organization Management designation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2013, Kevin served as Director of Member Services for the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that he spent nearly 20 years as the CFO of a family owned and operated business. He is a lifelong resident of Dallas, Georgia, and a graduate of Kennesaw State University

    Kevin will be a great asset to our team. He has the nimbleness and skills it takes to work with members, while still orchestrating the details of this role to meet the GACS standard of excellence in meeting programming and administration. Kevin started his new role at GACS earlier this week and states, “It is an honor to join the great team at GACS to help facilitate the education and advocacy for the convenience store industry,” Kirby said. “I’m looking forward to working with all the members to ensure they get the most out of their membership.” 

    In the coming week, he will transition into the main contact for tradeshow exhibitors. Until then, rest assured Jennie & Kevin are working to make this transition as seamless as possible for all GACS members, exhibitors, advertisers and associates. Please welcome Kevin to the GACS Family!

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    GACS Earns a 2019 ASAE Power of A Summit Award

    ​July 26, 2019

    The Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS) earned a 2019 ASAE Power of A Summit Award for its Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT) program dedicated to eradicating human trafficking by training workers and providing tools and resources association members.

    ASAE honored the program that encourages convenience stores to serve their communities by registering for CSAT, a no cost program focused on equipping convenience store employees with proper training and materials to safely recognize the signs and report human trafficking. Materials include Freedom stickers for restroom stalls, as well as an education video produced by their partner, IN OUR BACKYARD (IOB).

    Read the full ASAE Press Release

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