BONUS CONTENT: Small & Steady
KROTZ SPRINGS, La. — No news is good news for Jeff Morrow, owner of Krotz Springs Exxon. In the April 2010 cover story of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, the second-generation single-store operator spoke about the challenges of running the 50-year-old store, including lowered traffic thanks to highway rerouting and the destruction of Hurricane Gustav in 2008.
Those challenges haven't gone away, but neither has the perseverance of Morrow, who still owns the c-store and gas station, as well as Morrow's Diner, a separate business under the same roof.
The store's location helps, he said. Forty miles east of Baton Rouge on U.S. Route 190, the competition is mainly other small, independent stores and no major chains. Additionally, Morrow estimates that the traffic is as good as or even better than it was five years ago.
One recent bright spot was the increase in the store's margins as gas prices went up in the last year. "We did as good as we have at any time I can remember," Morrow said, noting that prices are now "coming back to Earth" but every good period helps.
The diner is another draw, one that attracts loyal customers whenever they're in the area. "We sell tons of hamburgers, a recipe my brother came up with," he said. "People stop in and make sure to get it."
Krotz Springs Exxon's long legacy serves as a solid foundation, allowing Morrow to keep going through the slow days. While he lists finding quality prospective employees as one of today's primary challenges, he doesn't expect the store or diner to go anywhere anytime soon.
"[My goal is] to keep operating a family business that can support our families and our employees' families, and to serve our customers," he said. "That's what it's all about."
Editor’s note: This Bonus Content story is an add-on to the "Where Are They Now?" feature in the April issue of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner. A digital edition can be accessed by clicking here.