Family-Owned Convenience Stores With A Bank That’s A One Stop Shop
In November of 2018 Greg Black cut the ribbon on his new convenience store and gas station in West Point, the latest milestone for a family that never cut ties with Merchants Bank of Alabama, a division of SouthPoint Bank. Two generations before, Greg’s grandfather Ernie Pitts banked with Merchants when he started Pitt’s Grocery, a favorite stop on the daily commutes and family trips of people in the area. When Greg’s mother passed away, she left him the family store. Greg, who was then in law school, chose the name dale’s for the store he planned to expand, as that had been the favored middle name in his family. He chose Merchants Bank, a name that had been just as much a part of their family history and started with a $100,000 loan to install gas pumps and expand his store and one location.
Like his customers, Greg found everything he needed in one place to keep moving ahead. “They trusted me,” Greg says. “The loans got bigger, and the stores got bigger and nicer.” Greg’s mother never lived to see Greg expand the family business into three convenience store locations in the Cullman area, including a beer and liquor store in Hanceville, and a convenience store with gas, pizza, biscuits and donuts in West Point. However, the family legacy lives on, as part of life in Cullman. In March of 2020, Merchant’s helped Greg apply for Payroll Protection Program loans to protect that legacy. When asked for advice on starting a successful business, Greg says turn to your local community bank.