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    Atlas Oil Buys 57 Chicago Area BP Stores

    This purchase adds to the 23-station BP acquisition the company finalized last month.

    By Mehgan Belanger

    TAYLOR, Mich. -- Atlas Oil Co., a petroleum distributor to more than 300 locations and a c-store operator, reached an agreement with BP Products North America Inc. for the purchase and supply of 57 convenience stores in the Southeast Chicago area.

    The sale includes 12 company-operated stores and 40 dealer-owned sites, Mike Evans, executive vice president of business development for Atlas Oil, told CSNews Online. Of those, 16 are or will be ampm branded once Atlas takes over the operations, and upwards of 20 will feature the ampm brand in the next two to three years as sites are rebranded, he said.

    The remainder are properties that will be developed in the future. The locations will be managed from Atlas Oil’s South Bend, Ind., operations center, which also manages the supply of more than 129 retail locations. The agreement also includes provisions for Atlas to continue to grow the BP and ampm presence in the market, Atlas Oil stated.

    "We have aspirations to grow the market [in Southeast Chicago] from an ampm perspective and future growth for BP gallons in the market," Evans told CSNews Online. "It’s a ripe market for BP growth. It was a BP direct-supplied market for years, and there’s an opportunity to capture additional gallons from other brands in the area."

    This most recent purchase follows one completed for 23 BP stations in September, first announced in July.

    Evans expects the company’s acquisition pace to continue in the future.

    "One of our core values is ‘grow or go.’ We have an appetite to grow, and make sure it is healthy, strong growth for us," he said, explaining despite the weakened economy, Atlas will continue to purchase properties as its market areas have not been as affected as others in the country.

    "This market is still strong, it has not dropped in real estate values like other parts of the country," he told CSNews Online. "It’s a good time to do a deal, the market in Chicagoland is not that depressed."

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