2023 Star Women in Convenience winner: Sandy Mercer

Shining Star
Sandy Mercer North Sun Atlantic
Sandy Mercer North Sun Atlantic

Marketing manager

North Sun Energy


How did you get into this business?

I have been in marketing for my entire career, with a diverse background in leading brand plans and growth strategies for a multitude of industry sectors. A significant amount of my professional background has been in the shopping mall industry, including senior roles with real estate property developers in Dubai and in Canada. Having moved home from the Middle East in 2010, I worked for marketing agencies in St. John’s, and eventually went out on my own as a freelancer. One of the clients who I did strategy work for was North Atlantic so I was always staying close to their brand. Almost two years ago, the advertising agency of record for North Atlantic reached out to me, to let me know they were looking to fill their senior marketing position. 

What work-related accomplishment are you most proud of during the last 12-18 months?

I am most proud of spearheading a complete overhaul of the foodservice category within our convenience store brand, Orangestore. This included the development of a new Café Orange brand that was positioned with the tagline: ‘bright spot in your day'. With a relatively lean internal team, I directed several milestones for this project, including new menu strategy with brand of sandwiches called ‘Primo’ and new coffee brand; foodservice area refurbishment in 24 locations; installation of video screen menu boards; and ongoing marketing tactics. With tight timelines, a broad geographical territory and limited resources, the launch of Café Orange has been hugely successful in driving increased sales and traffic to our stores. Equally as important, Café Orange has strategically positioned Orangestore as a place to shop for grab-and-go convenience store items. The space is now brighter and more modern and consistent across the portfolio. ​​​​​​​Overall, our foodservice sales YOY were up 36% (2022 vs 2021) and for 2023, we are already up 54%. The Café Orange relaunch project is an enormous success for the company.

What's your career highlight/biggest achievement?

I would have to say the culmination of all my work experiences that have brought me to where I am today. I have extensive experience here and abroad, directing and executing marketing communications across a multitude of industries, regions and budgets. London, Dubai, Toronto, St. John's. For over 20 years, I have had the most amazing career working on both the agency and client-side businesses. From multi-million-dollar programs and sales strategies to partnership plans and social-marketing causes. I have also been fortunate to work with amazing professionals from varying industries, backgrounds, and cultures, and this has made me a better marketing professional. 

What was the biggest challenge of your career?

At times it has been a challenging to live away from my home province and family in order to pursue my career goals. But, I would not change anything in the world and everything I have experienced to date has brought me to where I am now meant to be (back home in my home city of St. John’s working for a fabulous company and brand like North Atlantic).

What trends or innovations are you keeping an eye on right now. Is there anything you think will shape the business in the next five years?

In the shorter term (and post-COVID), making it even more about the customer. Bringing back the personal experiences at our locations and understanding what it is they really want and need from their gas and c-store experiences. While the world may eventually transition towards the autonomous store concept, I do think some customers are still wanting the personalized and human connection even if it is even for a few minutes of their day at the c-store.


Click here for a full list of the 2023 Star Women in Convenience winners

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