Gavin P. Smith – The Griffin Report
Sands Petroleum Development, a corporation focused on the development and refurbishing of one-stop gas stations and convenience stores in South Florida for over 21 years, is forging ahead with plans to build 14 brand-new sites in the Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Coast and Lee County markets in 2008, despite a grim economic outlook and a lagging real estate market.
“Our plan centers around being a daily destination, cultivating an environment in which the customers look forward to coming by each day for their fuel, coffee and a fresh food and convenience needs,” said Warren Sands, CEO of Sands Petroleum.
At the root of the Sands’ business plan is a development concept that has proved successful for him in the past — a proprietary concept that combines the efficiency of a gas station and the convenience of a gourmet sandwich and coffee shop, all developed in corner sites throughout South Florida and catering to the specific needs of those areas. In addition to the 14 new sites under development, Sands is also actively looking to acquire and develop additional sites within the Southern Florida Market. Sands Petroleum is simultaneously negotiating with BP to become a branded jobber for these new sites to create increases in volume and to create net operating efficiencies. Sands Petroleum desires to develop a brand that will show growth and generate profits despite a sluggish economic market.
For Warren Sands, a man responsible for constructing, developing and redeveloping some 120 stations in South Florida since 1987, it’s just business as usual.
“For the last 21 years I have been finding and developing new gas station sites in Florida from Miami to St. Lucie County on the East coast and to Sarasota County on the west coast,” said Sands. “I don’t believe that the fundamentals have changed. Good high-traffic volume corners with little competition are still good gas [and] convenience locations.”
These new gas station/c-store combos would offer around 4,000 square feet of brightly illuminated shopping space, featuring rich floor tile, wood cabinets and granite counter tops. Consumers can get their fill of gourmet coffee and coffee drinks along with fresh, in-store prepared food tailored to the neighborhood each store serves.
With the projected growth comes the need for new employees. Sands Petroleum looks to hire 120-150 new employees over the next two years to staff all of their new stores.
The goal is future growth, with six to 10 stores projected to be built every year for as many years as they see possible. With current economic conditions looming over business and real estate, the outlook for such lofty goals would appear grim. Not so, according to Sands.
“The current economic situation of low interest rates and a pull back in real estate prices has created an opportunity for our continued growth,” said Sands. “The opportunity to obtain prime corner-lot real estate, with accessibility to an average of forty to fifty thousand cars a day, at rock-bottom prices opens the door for substantial growth and profitability.”
And with a new major oil company on board to be their distributor, all of the bases seem to be covered. With a company goal of increasing fuel volume to six million gallons per year and forty million by 2010, Sands is confident that the business model is bound for success and will achieve its vision.
“Our plan centers around being a daily destination, cultivating an environment in which the customers look forward to coming by each day for their fuel, coffee, fresh food and other convenience needs,” said Sands.
The new brand, under which the gas stations are expected to be built, will be announced sometime in mid-May.