JP Patel

JP Patel. CEO
Hari 1 dba Fish River Food Mart

In 2000, the year of clunky Nokia phones and $1.50 gas, a guileless 18-year-old Jigar “JP” Patel left the comforts of his home in India to make a name for himself in America. Even at that young age, it was clear to those around him that JP had that certain spark that drew people to him.
He soon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Sciences from the University of South Alabama. While in school, he worked a number of odd jobs until he discovered he had a knack for innovative ideas that increased volume and profits for his bosses in their respective stores. He joined the family business of convenience stores and worked from the ground up. With his combined business acumen and tendency to devote himself in his work, he wasn’t cleaning restrooms and manning the register for long!

Fast-forward to 2015, JP is now the co-founder and VP of SAASOA (Strategic Alliance of Affiliated Store Owners of America), the largest such association in the entire Southeast. In the last 7 years, SAASOA has successfully represented approximately 4500 stores owners. JP continues to be instrumental in increasing bottom line profits, partnering with other organizations to increase merchandise and volume and expanding SAASOA’s reach across the Southeast.

JP is also a recognized public speaker and specializes in leadership training and coaching and has successfully served a range of clients including corporate professionals, small business owners, and non-profit and for-profit organizations.

His drive to increase representation among minorities in the convenience store industry led to his association with NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores).

At NACS, JP is a member of Board of Directors and also a part of Member Services Committee, Political Engagement Committee and Legislative Committee.

His magic touch is not limited to the business world. He mentors under represented teenagers and young adults in choosing the path best suited for them. He is a recognized advocate of service and mental health initiatives through The Art of Living. He is a unifying member of the community, bringing together people from all religions, ethnicities, ages and genders to participate in personal health workshops.

As seen through his business drive and his giving nature, JP is truly one of the rare individuals who is sincerely passionate about helping and bringing people together from all walks of life.