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    Big D Drops Texaco

    Sinclair, Cenex brands fueling overhaul of retail operations.

    RAPID CITY, S.D. The big red Texaco star, which for decades has been part of the Black Hills landscape, is disappearing, one sign at a time.

    Big D Oil Co. is dropping the Texaco brand at nearly all its convenience stores in the Black Hills. Mark Policky, president of the Rapid City, S.D.-based company, said Big D is switching its fuel brands instead to Sinclair and Cenex. The company, which operates 27 stores in South Dakota and Wyoming, also bought two Cenex convenience stores in Rapid City.

    Texaco has been going through a number of changes. First, it joined Shell in forming two regional companies that market gasoline under the Texaco name. More recently, Texaco merged with Chevron to form ChevronTexaco.

    In the short term, the result is that Texaco stations will have to rebrand as Shell or rebrand under another name, Policky explained. Big D made the decision to go with Sinclair and Cenex.

    "We took the opportunity to do business with companies with roots deep in America, deep in the Midwest," he said. "One of the things we liked about Sinclair and Cenex is that both have been around a long time." And both refiners deal strictly in American products.

    Sinclair, founded in 1916, is based in Salt Lake City. Cenex, founded in 1931, is the energy brand of St. Paul-based CHS Cooperative, America's largest cooperative refiner and manufacturer of lubricants.

    "With all our community involvement, and all the things we do in the community, we wanted to pick two companies that are willing to do what it takes to be in the market," Policky said. Both refiners helped out recently with Big D's Children's Miracle Network golf tournament, he added.

    As the rebranding continues, the Sinclair name should start showing up at Big D convenience stores throughout the market, while others will sport the Cenex name. A couple of stores will continue to fly the Texaco flag, at least for now. One name that won't go away, however, is Big D, which has been in the Black Hills for decades. Signs going up this week feature a new Big D logo.

    Policky emphasized that Big D has the same people and the same quality of fuels. "I'm sorry to see the Texaco star go away," he said.

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