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SAVANNAH, Ga. — “I am the perfect person to be in the convenience store industry because I’m impatient,” The Parker Cos. President and CEO Greg Parker told Convenience Store News during a recent trip to the retailer's corporate headquarters in Savannah.
That would most certainly explain the small, yet mighty convenience store chain’s aggressive growth plan. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Parker’s is in the midst of a five-year strategic plan to exceed $1 billion in annual sales, CSNews has learned, and the company is currently trending ahead of its goals.
Since December, Parker’s has opened seven new stores and will have opened a total of 17 new stores in 13 months by Jan. 1, 2017.
“We’re growing organically, and we’re opening like crazy,” the chief executive explained.
To be successful, Parker said growth requires "incredible planning" and a “whole village” to find sites and then get them permitted, built and staffed.
“All of our team members have to work in harmony to facilitate our growth. We have performance-driven, long-term incentive plans for our team members. We also have to grow our corporate culture and hire the most talented people," he noted. “There’s a lot more to smart growth than just building new stores, remodeling existing stores, and acquisitions. We have to continue to recruit, train and incent the most talented people in our industry."
Parker’s currently operates 44 c-stores across Georgia and South Carolina — including four stores with drive-thru service and one Parker’s Market Urban Gourmet that is consistently ranked by TripAdvisor as one of the best restaurants in Savannah.
Part of Parker’s expansion plan is to continue growing the brand in areas adjacent to its core market of Savannah, including southern South Carolina, where Parker’s now operates 10 stores.
“We share the same DNA [with South Carolina]. Our goal is to grow in concentric circles where our brand value is the greatest,” Parker explained.
Located just across the river from Parker’s headquarters in Savannah, South Carolina helps Parker’s build upon brand recognition within the regional market. Additionally, Beaufort County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, according to Parker, which makes the South Carolina Lowcountry an attractive market for Parker’s.
“We intend to continue to grow in South Carolina. There is a real demand for Parker’s [there], and customers continue to reach out to us to open new stores in their area,” Parker shared with CSNews.
Overall, Parker’s plans to open six new stores in South Carolina in the next 18 months.
“The future of Parker’s is extraordinary,” Parker said. “We keep getting better and better at what we do. We are in strong financial shape. Our growth will include new-to-industry sites, as well as remodels and acquisitions. We have an incredible team and are excited about the future.”
Check out July’s issue of Convenience Store News for more on Parker’s strategic plan, as well as the company’s 40th anniversary celebration.