SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There are convenience stores all across the United States and according to one publication, some of the best are in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.
Savannah's young downtown crowd was onto something about Parker's before even Greg Parker was.
“I thought why fight against the tide? Everybody calls it the big, fancy Parker’s, which is of course what the SCAD students named it,” said Owner of the Parker Company Greg Parker.
And now, all Parker's stores have earned a title as fancy as the Drayton Street location.
The Savannah based company was named 2020 Convenience Store Chain of the Year by C-Store Decisions, the industry's leading trade publication.
“We’re over the moon. We’re so thrilled, I can’t begin to tell you about it. We’re honored, we’re humbled by it. Because we’re 66 stores and there are 168,000 stores in the United States. So we’re just a pipsqueak. So, to have this opportunity is huge.”
Competing against much larger, often national chains, Parker's was selected for the customer experience it tried to provide since starting with one store in 1976.
“We’ve tried to elevate the convenience store experience. When we say fast, fresh and friendly, it’s not just a logo, it’s not just a slogan, it’s what we really believe. You know, it’s an acknowledgement of what we’ve done with customer service over the years, the fact that we as a team, some of us have been together for 40 years, have had a complete focus on detail, because retail is detail.”
And while not listed among the criteria, Greg Parker believes community service contributed to the award.
“We believe in giving back to every community where we do business whether it’s through the Fueling the Community program or through the Parker’s College of Business at Georgia Southern or through the Parker’s Trauma Center at Memorial. We have a responsibility to give back and we do and hopefully our customers know and hopefully these publications know.”
Parker's has placed high on national lists before, but this first-place finish was surprising if only because of the timing.
“It’s in the middle of COVID. Everything is going wrong, every day presents a new challenge, so when I got the phone call, I was like holy moley, you’ve got to be kidding me. I was shocked, I was really shocked. Because a 66 store chain doesn’t win this prestigious award.”
As a company, Parker's has grown 20 percent per year for 20 years.
Now, Greg Parker says his goal is to add 60 stores in the next 60 months.