GENOA, W.Va. – In many rural areas, buying pizza at gas stations and convenience stores is as normal as pumping $10-worth of 87-octane. And Nashville, Tennessee-based NACS Hunter Club member Hunt Brothers Pizza is the biggest game in many very small towns.
According to a recent Associated Press article, Hunt Brothers has more U.S. locations than either Domino's or Pizza Hut. Huntington (W.V.) Herald-Dispatch profiled the company’s strategy for success across rural America.
For starters, Hunt Brothers knows its base and reaches out to the, advertising during NASCAR races and outdoor programs and even sponsoring a NASCAR driver. The company also makes it relatively easy for small, mom-and-pop stores to sell their product, with no contracts or franchise fees, and an initial outlay of around $10,000 for necessary equipment.
The Herald-Dispatch visited Little General Store in Genoa, W.V., which has had five owners in 14 years, and has been selling Hunt Brothers for more than a decade, despite ownership changes. "We sell a lot of pizza for a gas station. We make a profit on it, I know that," an employee told the newspaper. And Little General Store is by no means alone. Hunt Brothers is a big draw for many small stores who don’t get enough traffic to support a free-standing fast-food outlet, and the pizza’s high quality inspires strong customer loyalty with minimal space and staff requirements.