To celebrate the opening of a new Parker’s Kitchen convenience store on Lanier Drive in Statesboro last Friday, company founder and CEO Greg Parker presented a $25,000 “Fueling the Community” check to the Bulloch County Schools for programs supporting students and teachers.
Speaking to the crowd that assembled for the ribbon cutting and check presentation, he also shared a little history of his company and a glimpse into its current and planned growth. Back in 1976 when he started the company, he was its only employee, he said. Now the Parker’s chain, headquartered in Savannah, is approaching the 1,300-employee mark and has 78 stores.
“We now have three more stores in development here. …,” Parker said. “We have 15 stores under construction right now, and we’re going to open 90 new stores over the next four years.”
The Parker’s Kitchen now opened at 141 Lanier Drive, near Paulson Stadium, was actually built on the site of a previous longtime Parker’s retail store. But in redeveloping the location, the company reoriented the building and expanded its footprint to include the adjacent site of a former carwash.
The new store is a Parker’s Kitchen instead of simply a Parker’s because it offers fresh-made food items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to a wide range of convenience items.
Outside, the store has 16 fueling positions for regular gasoline, ethanol-free gasoline and diesel.
This newest Parker’s Kitchen in Bulloch County features “Lowcountry-inspired architecture,” with lime-washed brick around extensive glass in front and designer lighting.
“At Parker’s, we are continuing our strategic transition from a convenience store company that sells food service to a food service company that offers convenience,” Parker said, as quoted in a media release supplied by Capricorn Communications. “We are excited about the future and think Bulloch County is a great market for the Parker’s Kitchen brand.”
3 more stores
Two of the three additional stores the Drayton-Parker Companies are developing in Bulloch County are within the city limits of Statesboro.
The Parker’s Kitchen on Northside Drive (U.S. Highway 80) at its intersection with North Main Street is rapidly taking shape with some obvious similarities to the newly opened Lanier Drive store. When the Northside Drive location is completed, Parker’s will be facing off corner-to-corner with its Savannah-based competitor, Enmarket, which has an established station across North Main.
Across town, the other new Parker’s Kitchen in Statesboro will be just within the city limits, since City Council annexed the 3.8-acre site at the intersection of Georgia Highway 67 and Burkhalter Road into Statesboro last October. The Drayton-Parker Companies requested the annexation, which was done by “the 100% method” with approval from the previous owners of three small parcels of land that were combined as the future store site.
When that one was announced, there were already five Parker’s stores existing in Bulloch County.
Additionally, Drayton-Parker Companies LLC owns a site in Bulloch County several miles south of Statesboro, off U.S. Highway 301 at 42 Neville Dairy Road, not far from the I-16 interchange, and has applied for a county building permit.
Parker talked about his and the company’s support for Georgia Southern University, the Bulloch County Schools and public safety personnel. He welcomed Chief of Police Mike Broadhead and a number of other Statesboro Police Department personnel to the ceremony.
“We’re committed to being part of the community in Statesboro and appreciate the support of our loyal customers across Bulloch County,” Parker said in the media release.
Through its Fueling the Community program, Parker’s donates one cent for every gallon of gas purchased at its convenience stores on the first Wednesday of each month to area schools. Customers in the Parker’s Rewards and PumpPal card loyalty program, which more than 300,000 individuals reportedly participating, can direct their share of the donations to a particular school.
$25,000 to BCS
Parker presented a ceremonial, oversized $25,000 check made out to the Bulloch County Schools to the Brad Boykin, the school system’s assistant superintendent for business services.
“Most of the funds that we get go directly to our schools,” Boykin said. “The remaining funds are used for our Teacher of the Year program, and we’re able to give Teacher of the Year Grants to all of our (winning teachers), a great thing that they certainly appreciate. So every bit of this money goes to a great cause.”
In previous annual Fueling the Community donations to Bulloch County Schools, about three-fourths of the cash has been designated for individuals schools and about one-fourth has remained with the school district for the Teacher of the Year program, according to district Public Relations Direct Hayley Greene.
With the actual, normal-sized check, the program includes a list of amounts designated to particular schools.
“Our schools use it for our Positive Behavior Intervention Systems, for events for that for students, and they also use it for wellness and motivational events for the teachers and other employees,” Greene said. “It’s up to the schools’ discretion how they use it.”
Parker’s reports that the program has given more than $2 million to schools in Georgia and South Carolina since 2011.
Another of the company’s initiatives is a round-up campaign through which customers give their change up to the next dollar to assist women experiencing homeless. The company matches 25% of these donations for Parker’s House for Women in Savannah.
A Parker’s Community Fund directs donations to “education, healthcare and heroes.” In February, this fund made a $5 million donation to Roper-St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, S.C. for expanded healthcare access to uninsured and underinsured people.