ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Greg Parker, founder and CEO of Parker’s, was recently interviewed by Medium.com, and discussed how he has disrupted the convenience retailing industry, five words of advice, who his mentors are and how he’s going to shake things up next. Here’s what he had to say.
When asked about disrupting an industry, Parker said that “disruption often allows for greater growth and a fresh way of thinking.”
“I think the successful companies are the ones that are most adaptable to change and to disruption. In our company, we’re quick to respond, and we’re quick to think about what’s over the horizon. How are we going to best deal with it? How do we apply the capital? We take the human resources and the financial resources and then create a scorecard around it, so we can measure the efficacy of our efforts over time.
In our industry, there was a great disruption that occurred when everybody was scared of the hypermarkets selling gas very cheap. What ultimately happened is that convenience store owners learned that they need to build stores that are going to be able to compete with the hypermarkets, so it’s sort of forced everybody to up their game,” he told Medium.com.
When asked about the best words of advice he’s received in his career, Parker shared five things. The first is that the first 10 years after school is the most important to build a foundation for future success.
“That is the time when you will develop the core habits that will help you succeed over the years. It’s the perfect time to be ‘all in’ on your career and to be laser focused on achieving your goals,” he told Medium.com.
The second is to “embrace curiosity and lifelong learning.” The third is to value opportunity and flexibility. “As you achieve success in your career, it’s OK to give yourself permission to take a vacation, spend more time with family and live a life beyond work. Having the freedom to do what you enjoy is one of the richest rewards of professional success,” he told Medium.com.
The fourth is to take care of your physical and mental health, and the fifth is to create your own personal and business board of directors to help you achieve your goals and hold you accountable. “In business and in life, surround yourself with people who lift you up, challenge you and are loyal,” he told Medium.com.
When asked how Parker is going to shake things up next, he said that in the industry, “convenience stores are going to have to expand the definition of fuel as our nation moves away from petroleum-based gasoline. We need to become a gathering place for commerce and a hub of innovation.”
The Savannah, Georgia-based company is going to shake things up by “offering a better experience for our customers,” including nicer, cleaner, more attractive stores and reduced friction, as well as superb foodservice.
“We’re also really focused on loyalty and having the technology that allows us to mine data to find out how to best satisfy our consumers. We are very focused on trip generators and the profits that they bring into our store,” he told Medium.com.
When asked what his favorite “Life Lesson Quote” is, Parker said “All the benefits in life come from compound interest—relationship, money, habits—anything of importance,” by Naval Ravikant.
He told Medium.com, “I definitely agree that one of the greatest lessons of life is understanding the importance of compounding. It’s true in relationships, financial investments, how we run our business and how we treat people. Everything truly adds up and compounds over time.”