Whether he’s running a convenience-store chain or doing 100 pushups every morning, Greg Parker lives by one mantra: Be better tomorrow than you are today.

This mindset is behind his company’s aggressive growth strategy. In May 2019, Parker Cos., which operates more than 50 c-stores in Georgia and South Carolina, announced plans to invest $50 million in the Charleston, S.C., market to build nine sites by 2020. The chain is looking to have 40 stores in the Charleston marketplace within the next few years, most of which will be new-to-industry (NTI) sites, Parker says.

“We’re mostly building NTI sites because it’s important we protect our brand,” says Parker, who founded the company in 1976. “We are focused on attracting customers through our architecture, landscape, bathrooms and kitchens.”

Parker’s, which ranks No. 120 on CSP's Top 202, plans to more than double its site count within the next five years. It plans to open 12 NTI sites per year starting in 2020 and reach 125 total stores by 2025, Parker says. Each build will require $3.5 million to $8.5 million—a potential maximum investment of more than half a billion dollars—and will have about eight gas pumps, numerous parking spaces for trucks, two self-checkout kiosks and the new Parker’s Kitchens. Every store will offer fresh chicken, mac and cheese, biscuits, mashed potatoes, apple cobbler and more.

But amid rebuilds and acquisitions, maintaining quality customer service is the key to consistent growth, Parker says.

“It’s not just the ability to build—we can build as much as we want,” he says. “It’s the ability to absorb the growth and ensure you are continuing the same level of service that you promise customers.”