President Billy Milam explains to Convenience Store Decisions why the Volunteer State holds a strategic place in the c-store’s growth plans.
With potential store locations being assessed, RaceTrac Inc. is targeting Tennessee as a natural fit for the chain’s future expansion.
As Nashville and surrounding areas in the state spur an economic transformation with an influx of new residents and businesses, that same vitality track is seen as solid foundation for the convenience retailer’s continued growth.
RaceTrac President Billy Milam said as much during a call with Convenience Store Decisions. Tennessee isn’t new ground for the Atlanta-based retailer, which now boasts more than 450 RaceTrac locations. He said the company is looking at real estate in Nashville and the surrounding areas with a plan to open 50 new locations in the next few years.
“We’ve been in the market for decades,” said Milam. “We’ve had RaceTrac stores there in the past. Today, we have three Raceway stores in Nashville. So we’re familiar with the market and thought it was a natural niche for us.”
There seems to be plenty of opportunity for RaceTrac to succeed, based on middle Tennessee’s burgeoning economy. This past April, for instance, General Motors Co. announced it will start a third shift at its Spring Hill assembly plant to meet strong demand for its GMC Acadia midsize SUV and the Cadillac XT5 crossover, adding around 700 jobs.
As the growth crow flies, I-75 today is a main route from Atlanta to Middle Tennessee, continuing into Florida. That’s the corridor the company has set its sights.
“There’s tremendous opportunity all the way up 75 to Chattanooga and then from Chattanooga on I-24 through and including Nashville ,” said Milam. “Nashville is great southern city neighbor of ours.”
Milam was named president of RaceTrac at the beginning of 2015, following the retirement of Max Lenker.
The first Middle Tennessee store is set to open either at the end of 2019 or the first quarter of 2020—probably in Murfreesboro.
The planned Tennessee stores will be based on RaceTrac’s 5,500-square-foot model, which has proven a popular blueprint in various communities that the chain already operates.
The new Nashville-area stores will offer food and beverage options, free Wi-Fi and indoor/outdoor seating. There will be grab-and-go breakfast items, sandwiches, fruit and salads; a Swirl World frozen treat station with ice cream, yogurts, sorbets and Italian ice; and fresh brewed coffee.