78 79 which my grandfather’s company supplied, so I grew up in the convenience store business and around my grandfather who talked about the oil business. I went off to school and came back; mymother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, so I stepped in to run her store and had great success. We tripled sales and volume,which led me back to the oil company. I bought my cousins out in 2012- 13 and became President of the company shortly thereafter, and we went full-blown into convenience stores.” Today, the Raymer Oil Co. has 20 convenience store/gas stations that it owns, operates, and sup- plies with fuel. It is still also a wholesale fuel jobber, supplying other, non-owned convenience stores. It owns a transportation company, the Public Trans- port Corporation,which picks up fuel from terminals in Charlotte and Greensboro and hauls it to its cus- tomers, as well as its own locations. It has approxi- mately 150 employees, and remains a family-owned firm. “We try to drive value and convenience,” says Redmond, explaining how his company thrives in a crowded marketplace.“We try to have extremely competitively priced gas, as well as competitively priced inside items.You’re not going to get rich sell- ing gas; it’s just a component - like your supermarket loss leader.You want your gas to be cheap so that people will stop there and, hopefully, they’re going to buy a Mountain Dew or a candy bar or get a sand- RAYMER OIL COMPANY wich.You need the customers in the store- abso- lutely. It’s a fiercely competitive market and, obvious- ly, the more stores you have the better your scale and the less reliant you are on gasoline margin.An independent operator, like a single store owner like my parents were, is at a big disadvantage when compared to even an operator our size.And when you get into the much larger, the Circle Ks, that have ten thousand locations, they’re least dependent on gasoline margins.” In order to realize those economies of scale, Redmond says that the company has grown rapidly. “We went from one store to 20 stores in 18 months, and we would love to double in size within the next 24 months.That will all be through acquisition; we have not done any of our own builds.”When look- ing for desirable acquisitions, Redmond explains that he has to be able to see “achievable synergies.” Stores that are ripe for purchase are those which the company can supply with both gas and goods.