SAVANNAH, Ga. — Another convenience store retailer is making its way through the Charleston, S.C.
Savannah-based Parker's is investing $50 million to set up nine Parker's Kitchen locations across the Charleston area by the end of the year, reported Post and Courier.
The new sites are located at 115 W. Hwy 52 and 1105 N. Hwy 52 in Moncks Corner; 1601 Central Ave. in Summerville; 538 Red Bank Road in Goose Creek; and 1111 Cane Bay Road in Berkeley County.
Four locations are set to open by the end of the year at 8561 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston; 1140 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. in West Ashley; Dorchester Road at U.S. Hwy 17-A in Summerville; and near Foxbank Plantation on U.S. Hwy 52 in Moncks Corner.
"We want to grow in the path of growth. The Charleston marketplace is phenomenal," Parker's CEO Greg Parker said, adding that he hopes to have more than 40 locations in the Charleston region within four years and capture 30 percent of the c-store market in the area. "We have identified 45 sites."
Designed for the Charleston region, the Parker's Kitchen locations will feature Confederate jasmine-covered lattice on the ends of the eight-pump gas stations. One c-store entrance will lead to the foodservice area next to an outdoor pavilion for dining, while the other will open to convenience offerings.
A central glass wall jutting up about twice as high as the doors will allow natural light into the building and feature the retailer's signature name in blue and green letters with its smiley-faced logo serving as the apostrophe. The store as well as the gas canopy also features sloping metal roofs and awnings, according to Post and Courier.
"We wanted to come up with something that was quintessentially Charleston. We think the industry needs to elevate itself," the CEO noted, adding that the company is not constrained by financing. "We can do whatever we want."
Parker's currently operates 57 stores in Georgia and South Carolina, predominantly around the Savannah area. Fourteen of those locations are in Beaufort County, S.C.
The Southern convenience operator recently expanded its South Carolina footprint with the acquisition of two CornerMart stores on Lady's Island and Port Royal. The move extended Parker's headquarters in Savannah to Charleston, as Convenience Store Newspreviously reported.
"These two acquisitions are strategic for Parker's as we strive to meet the incredible customer demand in Beaufort County," Parker said at the time of the acquisition. "By combining construction of new stores with acquisitions of existing stores, we're accelerating our growth in coastal South Carolina and elevating customer expectations regarding convenience, quality and foodservice."
Because of its expansion plans, the company may end up building an office in Charleston as well as for regional support staff, according to Parker, who is already eyeing Georgetown, S.C., as the retailer expands up the coast and eventually wants to tap into the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area.
"We are growing by building and not buying," he commented.
Parker's isn’t the only c-store chain that identifies Charleston as a sweet spot for growth. The Spinx Co. debuted its largest c-store to date in Moncks Corner In December 2017. The 6,188-square-foot store was the company's 11th location in the Charleston area.
"Market research showed a dramatic change from 2006 to 2011, so it lit a fire for us to grow in Charleston," Spinx founder and Chairman Stewart Spinks told Convenience Store News. "Plus, I grew up in Charleston, so I'm prejudice to going back home where I started."