Gas/Convenience Stores Go Glam with Guess Corp.

The company plans to erect 250 GP Clubs in the U.S. and internationally over the next 36 months.
GP Club rendering

GP Club rendering

Durham, N.C.—The notion of gassing up and grabbing something on the go is about to be re-envisioned through diamond-encrusted glasses. Via its Guess Petroleum unit, The Guess Corp. will introduce an exclusive chain of über-upscale gas station/convenience stores designed to transform a couple of typically mundane tasks into a ritzy experience. Target market: those with a net worth exceeding $50 million.

GP Club won’t be the kind of gas-and-go or stop-and-shop that attracts the average Joe; this will be something entirely different. Presented in four-story structures designed by architectural firm Scott+Cormia, GP Club is a concept whose time has come, according to Guess, which operated primarily as a diamond trading concern before commencing its expansion into new businesses in 2012. “The economy is doing well and the affluent consumer is enjoying more disposable income than before,” Tiffany Taylor, corporate vice president with The Guess Corp., told Commercial Property Executive. “Our research and experience shows that the ultra-affluent want more exclusive products and services, and the gas/convenience store space has not responded to this, so with GP Club, we are.”

A bulging wallet will buy quite a bit more than premium gas and a cold beverage at GP Club. Housed in buildings that could be mistaken for suburban residences of the rich and famous, the clubs will offer such amenities as a video-conferencing center and meeting rooms for business activities, in addition to sleeping suites, a designer boutique, and hair salon for pleasure. The ground-level convenience store will be more like a gourmet shop than a hotdog and slushy mart, featuring fresh goods and a proper dining room. GP Club will also offer a swimming pool and water park for outdoor distraction. As for the petrol station, members will be able to avail themselves of the opportunity to have their car hand-washed and waxed and, of course, get their gas tank topped off.

The boundaries of exclusivity can be elastic, to a certain extent. GP Club is conceived to cater to the ultra-affluent, but Guess will also launch its luxury GP Express brand to embrace the merely affluent. Still, it appears the GP Club/GP Express premise and the 1 percent will be a match made in Monte Carlo. Guess has an operating partner program that will allow partners to own up to 40 percent of the GP Club units, and the company is on the hunt for locations—and so far, so good.

“We have received a good bit of interest from sellers; we hired Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to help us field these requests and evaluate opportunities as they come along,” Taylor said. “Interest has been steady and most properties are seemingly a good fit, but the review process is taking a little longer than we anticipated. At this point, we expect most of the planned store units to be new construction of GP Express units, given the increasing interest in parties seeking to become operating partners.”

Guess plans to erect 250 GP Clubs in the U.S. and internationally over the next 36 months, starting with the U.S., where approximately two units will pop up in designated states. The properties will debut in locales from Beverly Hills to Biloxi to Greenwich, and points betwixt and between. While commercial real estate services firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which Guess tapped in August to serve as exclusive commercial real estate broker for the company and its subsidiaries, handles site selection, Scott+Cormia will spearhead construction project management.

Members, once accepted (and paid up on their annual membership fees), will be able to make pit stops at GP Clubs anywhere in the world.