Patrick Parker, owner of Parker’s Convenience Stores, will tell anyone who asks how fortunate he feels to be a part of the Golden Isles community.
His family moved frequently when he was a child, eventually settling in Vidalia, where he went to high school. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, his family would visit St. Simons Island, where his grandparents, aunts, and uncles lived.
“We would come down and spend the summers at East Beach,” Parker said. “I just always loved Gould’s Inlet and the beach.”
Parker’s family roots in the Golden Isles go back more than 90 years, to 1931. That is when his grandparents purchased property on St. Simons Island and began their entrepreneurial enterprises. It was also the year his mother, Edith Cofer Parker, was born. So, when the opportunity to move his own family here presented itself, Parker and his wife Dana jumped at the chance. That was in the 1980s. Since then, Parker has fully invested himself and his business to being an active member of the Golden Isles community.
“We’ve raised a family here,” Parker said. “We are so thankful to have the opportunity to live here and work here. That’s why we give back to our community every chance we can.”
And there are plenty of chances. Parker’s Convenience Stores have been paying it forward for years through its Parker’s Pump Perks program, which saves customers up to 10 cents per gallon each time they get gas. When customers sign up to be Parker’s Pump Perks members, they get to designate a local school to which one penny of the cost of each gallon they pump the first Wednesday of the month is donated. It’s a win-win for Parker’s because the business and the customer are saving money, and the business savings go to local schools.
“We want the people in this community to benefit from this program,” Parker said.
But paying it forward doesn’t stop at the Parker’s Pump Perks program. Parker’s regularly donates and supports local causes. The Firebox Initiative, St. Simons Land Trust, College of Coastal Georgia Foundation, the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, Christ Church Frederica – you name it and Parker’s has likely supported it.
“Supporting the good works in the community is very important to us,” Parker said. “We’re very cognizant of the fact that we live in a great place, and anything we can do to help different organizations doing good works, we want to do.”
Parker’s paid its investment in the Golden Isles forward in a big way this past December when the company presented a check for $1 million to Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation to support local causes and nonprofit organizations throughout Glynn, McIntosh, Liberty, and Appling counties.
“We want to increase our level of support for organizations in the community and to be actively engaged,” Parker said. “At Parker’s Convenience Stores, we are 100 percent committed to giving to local causes and want to raise our level of giving because we’re proud to be based here in Glynn County. We think it’s important to give back to the communities that have supported us over the years.”
Unlike other convenience stores owned by conglomerate companies with no local ties, the 11 Parker’s stores in Southeastern and Coastal Georgia are owned and operated from the Parker’s headquarters on St. Simons Island. While other companies focus on size, Parker’s stores focus on customer service and providing the best possible experience. Parker is a frequent presence in his stores because they are in his community, and his community matters to him.
“The best part of my job is actually being in the stores,” he said. “A couple of days each week I go around and visit all the stores. Those are the best days, getting to ride around Glynn County and talk to everyone.”
There are 11 Parker’s Convenience Store locations in Southeastern Coastal Georgia. Follow the company on Facebook @ParkersConvenienceStores or visit the company online at ParkersGa.com.