GPM Investments Set for Strategic Growth


RICHMOND, Va. -- GPM Investments is planning a host of changes for its Fas Mart and Shore Stop convenience store chains now that a new management team is settling into place.

The changes include a renewed focus on proprietary branding, particularly of the stores' foodservice offer, including its coffee, dispensed beverage and fried chicken programs.

This shift in gears comes one year after GPM Investments CEO Arie Kotler and his partner bought back control of the company. Kotler had started GPM Investments a decade ago to bring Fas Mart and Shore Stop out of bankruptcy.

Along with the changes to its proprietary foodservice programs, the company is embarking on a path of strategic growth, according to Kotler. Currently the company operates more than 210 stores and counts 332 dealer locations. Though no particular store count or timeline is set, he explained that the company's growth will come from acquisitions as opposed to ground-up development.

"To build a site today, it takes longer and it's more expensive. It's really not worth it in this environment," Kotler said. "We want to be good at what we are doing. We are not developers. We are operators of convenience stores and gas stations. We are retailers."

Helping lead the company into the new era is Chief Operating Officer Chris Giacobone and Vice President of Marketing Bill Reilly. Giacobone joined the company as vice president of market development, fuels and facilities when GPM Investments acquired Connecticut-based DB Marts in 2005. He was promoted to COO earlier this year to help with the company's growth plans, as CSNews Online previously reported.

Reilly is the latest executive to round out the management team. He was hired this spring and brings with him an extensive culinary background, including a degree from Johnson & Wales University and a 10-year stint at convenience foodservice innovator Sheetz Inc.

"With the company being so focused on growth through acquisitions, it was important to develop a platform so that we can absorb these new companies as we grow as a company," Reilly said. "The branding is the primary position."

With all the planned changes, the company is not forgetting about its existing convenience stores, which are located in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Its game plan calls for upgrades including LED lighting, resurfaced parking lots and refreshed exteriors.

"Aside from acquisition mode, you also need to refurbish some of your stores and invest in some of the stores," Kotler said.

For more on GPM Investments' strategy, look for the November issue of Convenience Store News.

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