Fuel, Convenience, and Food: Appalachia’s king of the c-stores branches out

Name: Greg Darby

Title: President

Company: Little General Stores

No. of units: 115 Little General Stores, 25 Subway, 15 Arby’s, 15 Godfather’s Pizza, 7 Dunkin’, 7 Burger King, 5 Taco Bell, 1 Teriyaki Madness

Age: 64

Family: Wife Darlene, sons Dustin and Cody

Years in franchising: Since the mid-1980s

Years in current position: Since 1999

If you’re traveling across West Virginia, chances are you’ll run across one of Greg Darby’s stores. That’s because the 64-year-old entrepreneur operates 115 Little General convenience stores offering customers everything from Dunkin’, Taco Bell, and Subway eats to Marathon, Exxon, and bp gasoline.

“We stick to what we know,” says Darby. “Fuel, convenience, and food. That is what we are good at.”

He’s been good at the franchising business since the mid-1980s when he began working for the Little General Stores organization. He purchased the company outright in 1999 and has quadrupled its size to $400 million in annual revenue. These days he and partner Cory Beasley steer the ship together, offering fuel for travelers and serving food from Dunkin’, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Subway, and Godfather’s Pizza.

Most recently, Darby signed with Teriyaki Madness for five locations and opened his first in December. He’s excited about this new development deal. “We just opened another Little General store in Fairmont, West Virginia with an Arby’s on one side and a Teriyaki Madness on the other. We’re going to be spending a lot of time growing Teriyaki Madness. It’s a great brand and opportunity for us.”

With 25 years in franchising, Darby has learned the importance of community involvement. His locations support everything from local sports teams and West Virginia college athletics to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network.