Growth-Minded QuikTrip Hires PR Firm

Will help retailer become national brand as it expands beyond region


TULSA, Okla. -- For the first time, QuikTrip Corp. has hired an outside public relations firm to help it develop a stronger national brand identity as it keeps expanding into new markets, the managing director of that agency told The Tulsa World.

Parrish Communications will handle media and market relations nationwide for the Tulsa, Okla.-based convenience store chain. QuikTrip now has 675 convenience stores in 11 states.

"This is the first time they have engaged a public relations firm," Laurie Roberts, managing director at Parris, told the newspaper. "We will be helping them in all of their markets and all of the communities where they have stores."

QuikTrip is well known in traditional sites such as Tulsa and Kansas City, Roberts added, but the chain is now reaching into Atlanta, South Carolina and other new markets more distant from its headquarters.

"QuikTrip is one of those best-in-class brands, and they have this incredibly loyal customer base," she said. "The reason they started discussions with us was that they recognized the role of public relations to build a stronger brand presence in each of their communities."

The agreement with QuikTrip was finalized only in the past few days.

In a statement cited by the paper, Chuck Barton, QuikTrip director of sales and marketing, said, "Parris is a good fit with our company culture. We look forward to working with them, helping us build a stronger brand presence in all of our communities."

For example, in a recent report by The Charlotte Business Journal, QuikTrip said it is not even halfway toward its expansion goal in the Carolinas, with 37 c-stores open and 10 under construction. The report added that QuikTrip has plans for as many as 60 stores in the Charlotte region.

But when the company expands into an area, it does not talk about the number of stores it plans, Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public and government affairs, told the paper.

QuikTrip opened its first Charlotte-area store in Boiling Springs, near Shelby, 17 months ago.

"We have just begun," Thornbrugh said. "We've got a long way to go."

While the company's operations so far include only the Charlotte and Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., regions, it will eventually have at least 100 shiny new QuikTrip stores, said the report.

Thornbrugh said the company's Carolinas expansion will remain concentrated in the Charlotte and Greenville-Spartanburg areas. QuikTrip has been expanding in Atlanta, where it now has 129 stores; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, where it has 109, and Arizona, with 104 stores.