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Jami Jordan is the second-generation leader at Scrivener Oil Co., which owns the Signal Food Store line of filling stations in southwest Missouri.
Tawnie Wilson | SBJ
Jami Jordan is the second-generation leader at Scrivener Oil Co., which owns the Signal Food Store line of filling stations in southwest Missouri.

Executive Insider: Jami Jordan

Scrivener Oil Co.’s leader follows in her father’s footsteps

Posted online

Jami Jordan recently reached the one-year mark since becoming president of Ozark-based Scrivener Oil Co. Inc., launched in 1984 by her father, Richard Scrivener. It’s a leadership role Jordan says wasn’t a long-term goal but was perhaps inevitable given her off-and-on involvement with the company over its near 40-year history.

“I’ve been a part of this company since I was a little girl,” she says, noting some of her earliest childhood memories include sorting promotional coupons for the company’s Signal Food Store line of filling stations or dressing in costumes for store grand openings while in elementary school. “It’s always been ingrained in me that someday I could possibly work here. It wasn’t necessarily a plan, but it was always something that was thought of in the back of my head.”

Jordan, who is Scrivener’s only child, was promoted to president from vice president in November 2022. Her latest stint at the company started in 2008. While Scrivener transitioned to CEO and isn’t involved in the company’s day-to-day operations, Jordan says her father is definitely not retired.

“I don’t think he would ever retire because this is his baby,” Jordan says, adding she also now co-owns the company with him. “He always wants to know what’s going on and is interested in the competition and the market and what we’re doing.”

Scrivener Oil operates 12 Signal stores in southwest Missouri, including three in Springfield, and employs 180. In addition to Jordan, the executive team comprises Vice President Sean Bumgarner and Director of Operations Sabrina Kamysz. Jordan said the trio have over 60 years of combined experience with the company, for which she says revenue has been increasing annually, though she declined to disclose figures or percentage growth.

“We want to grow same-day sales, which we’ve been able to do,” she says. “We want to look for new opportunities when they come available and if they make sense for our demographic and what we look for in a store.”

She says the company doesn’t add stores just to bolster its footprint.

“We add stores if they make sense for us,” she says, noting since 2020 the company has opened a store in Seymour and launched a Papa John’s restaurant inside its Ava location.

Aside from the convenience stores, Jordan says Scrivener Oil also runs the food service operations contained therein except for its Buffalo location, where they rent space to a McDonald’s. Some of the locations include Subway, Papa John’s or Hank’s Chicken, a company original fried chicken eatery that derives its name from Scrivener’s nickname, Hank.

“We want to control the cleanliness, the service and everything in each store,” she says.

Food service is what brought Jordan back to the Ozarks in 2008, as she had moved the year prior with her husband, Jason, to South Carolina. At the time, she was working as an executive manager for a real estate investment trust, Parkway Properties Inc.

“Around then my dad called and said I would like for you to come back and start our food service,” she says, noting Scrivener Oil had bought a convenience store in Mansfield that included a Subway franchise.

As Jordan had no experience with food service and the couple had settled into their new home, she says arriving at the decision wasn’t an easy process.

“It wasn’t like I was looking to come back,” Jordan says, adding she also was mindful of her husband’s wishes. “It was a big discussion. Ultimately, I had him make the decision because that was a big move on his part.”

While Jordan had some prior experience working in the company’s convenience stores, she says food service “is a different animal.”

Part of her on-the-job education in the field included taking a University of Subway training course in Connecticut over two weeks, she says.

“We hit the ground running after that,” she says.

An Ozark native, Jordan earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1999. She stayed in Dallas after graduation and began work in the travel industry – first for Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) as a marketing promotions manager and then for transportation company Adventure Tours. By late 2001, she became marketing manager for the Dallas office of Ticketmaster, where she worked with organizations such as the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys and Texas Motor Speedway.

She briefly returned to Springfield in 2005 to learn more about the family business.

“It was to get a basic understanding, because if anything happened to my dad it was going to fall in my lap,” she says, adding she also earned an MBA in 2006 from Missouri State University.

Between that time and her return to Scrivener Oil two years later, Jordan says she’s accrued a wealth of knowledge on the company’s operations. Aside from working in the stores, she’s handled hiring and orientation of new employees along with helping develop the company’s first website.

“I feel like I have a really good understanding of what the company vision and culture is and what all the employees need, and the company needs. But I’m always learning,” she says.

A 25-year Scrivener Oil employee, Bumgarner says he’s worked with Jordan for 17 years. He says she shares management traits with her father, among them the pursuit of growth opportunities.

“They want to make sure that they’re good, sound business opportunities that we go after,” he says, noting the potential store locations must fit within the company’s geographical footprint and have strong growth potential. “We’re still a fairly small company, so it’s hard to take on too many new projects at one time.

“We look at a lot of them, but we pass on a lot of them. The ones we have pursued we’ve been pretty successful with,” he adds.

Bumgarner says Jordan also is approachable and inclusive of outside opinions that allow her to make a more informed decision.

“She likes to hear every side of a problem or an opportunity,” he says. “She’s very inquisitive and wants to learn and know how something is going to impact us. I find her very open and very willing to listen.”

As a mother of three – daughter Mila, 13, and sons James, 8, and Dallas, 6 – Jordan says activities outside the office lately have involved transporting kids to soccer practice and games. She also volunteers at her children’s schools and tries to fit in running, biking and swimming sessions as frequently as possible.

“Anytime I’m away from work is pretty much family time,” she says. “That can sometimes be going to Silver Dollar City, doing whatever we can do as a family, traveling as much as we can.”

However, work activities are picking up at a quicker pace. Scrivener Oil in October opened a new food service concept, Sugar Stop Candy Shop, at its 1690 W. State Highway J Signal Food Store in Ozark. The candy shop, which fills 1,500 square feet inside the convenience store next door to Lambert’s Cafe, replaced a company-run Quiznos sandwich restaurant.

While Jordan says the company will consider adding Sugar Stop at other locations in the future, a 13th Signal shop is on the horizon. A second Ozark store will open at an undetermined date at 1750 State Highway 14.

“We are working on plans for that right now,” she says, adding Kinetic Design and Development LLC is the project architect.

As the company’s second-generation leader, Jordan says she wants her children to be aware of the family business just as she was growing up in case they one day have an interest to become involved.

“They are in the office from time to time,” she says. “If they want to come back and run the company, I think that would be fantastic. But I also want them to go spread their wings and find out what’s best for them and what they want to do.”

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