Parkland: A Rapidly Expanding International Company with Proud Canadian Roots and Big Aspirations
By Meline Beach
Parkland Corporation, a leading retail and convenience operator and supplier of fuel and petroleum products, has set its sights high and made the world its oyster as the company continues to make progress towards its growth goals.
Since its start in Alberta, Canada over 50 years ago, the company has established itself in 25 countries across the Americas, including Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean region. With strong Canadian roots, Parkland is determined to grow its global business across three channels: retail and convenience, commercial and wholesale.
“Our journey has been nothing short of fantastic,” says Donna Sanker, president of Parkland Canada, which includes a network of 1,832 retail fuel locations and convenience stores, and a commercial business that delivers bulk fuel, propane, heating oil, and lubricants to commercial, industrial, and residential customers. “We have big growth aspirations of where we want to take the company and we’re well on our way.”
Sanker’s confidence is based on the company’s organic and inorganic growth activities. Not even a global pandemic held them back, as of November last year, they announced or closed 12 acquisitions totalling $800 million, spanning across each of their geographical segments. These newly acquired businesses, based on their financial and cultural fit with the company, enable Parkland to strengthen its business within key markets and expand its geographic footprint.
In July, Parkland announced three acquisitions including Quebec-based Pétroles Crevier Inc. (a subsidiary of Montreal based Crevier Group), which includes a portfolio of 36 company-owned retail locations and 138 retail dealer locations. They also announced two acquisitions in the U.S., crossing Colorado and North Dakota, to further expand their retail and commercial businesses.
Organic growth is a major contributing factor to Parkland’s profitability goal of reaching $2 billion of run-rate adjusted EBITDA by the end of 2025. Despite the negative effects of a global pandemic, its convenience store business, which is anchored around its rapidly expanding ON the RUN and private label brands, delivered a 26 per cent increase in profit between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021.
Consistent, resilient and community driven
Parkland attributes its success to its employees working together as one team across the business. Through a collective effort, Parkland is laser focused on creating food and convenience destinations for its customers.
Their tagline, “helping customers make the most of every stop,” is more of a mantra and considered in all that they do to meet the evolving needs of their customers. Between its value-added foodservice offering with the company’s continued, Canada-wide expansion of Triple O’s restaurants, or its partnership with M&M foods for customers in need of a quick meal for home, Parkland sources strategic partnerships that support its brands.
“The shakes are great and it’s wonderful to offer made-to-order foodservice for any meal occasion and in between,” says Sanker about the company’s Triple O’s QSR offering at select ON the RUN locations in British Columbia, Alberta and most recently, Ontario. “Consistency is key in managing a brand and building loyalty as our customers have come to rely on us for quality and convenience.”
With 1,832 retail locations across Canada, approximately 85 per cent of Canadians live within 15 minutes of a Parkland location, according to Simon Scott, director of Corporate Communications at Parkland.
“Remote, rural or urban, we’re in neighbourhoods all across Canada,” says Scott. “We energize communities.”
Scott may be referring to the plethora of support Parkland offers the communities in which it operates. Between the pandemic and wildfires across British Columbia, Parkland actively engages in various causes and community initiatives. During the pandemic, the company offered essential fuel, services and premium healthy snacks to community members in need, and contributed over $4 million of support, through diverse activities, including fuel discounts to front-line health workers and first responders; free hot showers, food and snacks to truck drivers; and fuel and snacks to food banks. With regards to wildfires burning in British Columbia, Parkland supported Canadian Red Cross relief efforts by matching customer donations at Chevron and Fas Gas retail locations and ON the RUN c-stores across British Columbia throughout the month of August, up to a total of $50,000.
“Community is a core value of our company, and when our communities are in need, Parkland steps up,” says Sanker.
U.S. customers will also appreciate Parkland’s value proposition as the company plans to leverage its ON the RUN convenience brand as a platform for growth in the c-store space across the border. So far, Parkland has opened two ON the RUN convenience stores in the U.S. and plans to open 15 more by the end of the year.
Adaptable and Change Ready
Launched just over a year ago, Parkland’s JOURNIE Rewards program is experiencing great success with over two million members to date. The loyalty program enables the company to reward its loyal customers and incent them to come into their c-stores. JOURNIE Rewards includes discounts on fuel and c-store items, such as water, pop or chips. Another redemption option is a carbon offset for more environmentally inclined customers.
“Over 70 per cent of members have opted in to receive communications from Parkland,” says Sanker, who’s excited about the physical and digital relationship this APP-based program will nurture with customers. “The JOURNIE Rewards program delivers value with bespoke offers, personalization and a unique user experience for our loyal customers. Based on feedback received, we listen, learn and give our customers choice.”
Environmentally inclined customers will also be pleased to know that they can soon charge their electric vehicles at select Parkland locations along major highways and in key cities and towns between Calgary and Vancouver, where, according to Sanker, is the highest penetration of electric vehicles in Canada. The company plans to launch 100 EV ultra-fast charging ports, compatible with most popular EV models, at approximately 25 retail locations in 2022. The charging ports will be branded ON the RUN to connect with their well-established c-store brand.
Referring back to its tagline, “helping customers make the most of every stop,” Parkland is committed to their customers’ refueling, recharging and shopping experience by serving as a food and convenience destination where customers can shop, eat and use complimentary wi-fi while they charge their vehicles.
“It takes 90 seconds to refuel a gasoline-based vehicle and approximately 20 minutes for customers to recharge their electric vehicle – that’s up to 80 percent with our ultra-fast chargers,” says Scott. “In addition to this being one of the fastest charging offers available, we see big opportunity to help our customers make the most of every stop, by offering leading amenities and convenience, including our ON the RUN convenience store, Triple O’s restaurant and complimentary wi-fi. Ultimately, we are building an ecosystem around our customers that maximizes their experience with Parkland.”
Meline Beach is a Toronto-based communications practitioner and frequent contributor to Convenience & Carwash Canada. In addition to freelance writing, Meline provides communications and public relations support to businesses across Canada. She can be reached at www.mlbcomms.ca.