Raymond Huff


HJB Convenience, dba Russell's Express

Session Description

The New Rules of Retail After Coronavirus

Convenience retail will never be the same after COVID-19. Even after the virus has been defeated and some semblance of normalcy returns, consumers will display new shopping behaviors learned in isolation. Ways in which people travel and meet could change as researchers learn more about the disease.

In this presentation, a panel of some of the industry’s most forward-looking retailers discuss how technology and creative thinking can help bring people and products back together safely, from mobile checkout to a blockchain-powered supply chain and more.



I began my working career at Marriott Corporation, while attending Howard University studying accounting. Initially responsible for picking up trash off the parking lot at the tender age of 15, rising in the ranks to Regional Manager by my 27th birthdate, ultimately responsible for 25 locations and 1000 employees. Three years later in 1978 I was recruited by a partnership to build a chain of restaurants. 

In 1988 the partnership acquired the chain and began to convert the stores to tenant convenience stores, which currently operates as Russell’s Convenience.  The first Russell’s Convenience opened in Hawaii in 1978 in the lobby of a high-rise office building as a card and gift shop.  The chain grew in the Central business district of major cities only locating stores in high-rise office buildings.  In 2004 HJB Convenience Corporation purchased the chain and developed the self-serve concept for smaller foot print stores in 2012.  As Principle of HJB Convenience Corp and JAG Incorporated we now do business as Russell’s Convenience and Russell’s Xpress.  The first Russell’s Xpress open in Denver 2015, the second opened in early 2018.  Russell’s Xpress are unmanned convenience stores.

To accomplish the tech side of operating these stores a second company was engaged, Tenderfoot Software, to create a customer loyalty program, with near real time updates to the store across the street, and door entry systems using loyalty as access.  Today there are 19 Russell’s Convenience locations and 2 Russell’ Xpress location. 

Currently living in Denver married with two kids (now young adults) and enjoying traveling the world 4 months of each year.