For much of the past 15 years, Brian Thornton has overseen expansion at one of the industry’s most prolific chains in RaceTrac Petroleum. Over the years, RaceTrac’s leadership has not been afraid to leapfrog markets, building in the nation’s biggest cities without attachment to regional ties. The most recent example is RaceTrac’s move into Nashville, where it is planning to build several more sites in the year ahead.

What are your plans for growth in 2020?

We plan to build and open over 40 new RaceTracs in 2020, all of which will be new builds. We currently do not have any plans for acquisitions in 2020, [because] we generally focus on new builds for store growth.

Tell us about the expansion into the Nashville market.

Our expansion into middle Tennessee has gone very well. We will have five new stores open by year’s end, and an additional 20 stores will open over the next two years. We are very excited about the opportunity to serve more communities across this region in the future as our new stores come to life. 

Our real estate team is continuously exploring new markets for future growth, but in the near term we are focused on building new stores in middle Tennessee and across the other five states where we operate today (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi).

What is your mantra for success?

I am big believer in a positive attitude. It is a core value at RaceTrac, and it is the one thing I am always in control of in any situation. It also seems to be the one thing, whether positive or negative, that can easily spread to those around you.