Parker's Market to Add 10 Stores
"Sitting on a lot of money," chain doesn't want "to waste a recession"
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- In 2004, Greg Parker had 20 convenience stores. Today, he has 21. By the end of 2011, he wants to add 10 stores to his chain. Ask him why he's so gung-ho to grow now, and he has no end of answers.
"Why grow now? Land costs are cheaper. Construction costsevery time I bid a store, the price comes down. Labor costs are cheaper; people are looking for work. So it's a great time to be [growing]," Parker, the owner and president of Parker Cos. in Savannah, Ga., told CSP Daily News in an exclusive interview. "We think it's a great time to be growing, because [image-nocss] we don't want to waste a recession."
A smart businessman, Parker said much of his current thinking on growth comes from his attendance of and involvement in recent NACS State of the Industry summits.
"One of the things we've learned at the State of the Industry is that our industry, while not recession-proof, is recession-resistant. So we have followed the playbook that was set up by [economist] Walter Zimmerman at the State of the Industry, and that's that liquidity is going to dry up," he said. "So we've been selling our underperformers. We've been looking at ways to accumulate cash reserves. We even borrowed money that we didn't need, anticipating that there was going to be a liquidity crunch."
Parker said his company is "sitting on a lot of money now, and we're looking for opportunities to grow. We have 21 stores. We intend to have 30 by the end of 2011. We have one more store that we intend to sell, but we think now is a great time to be growing."
For a look at how Parker is driving profits in his stores, watch for the November issue of CSP magazine. Also, see the related video in today's issue of CSP Daily News.