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    CITGO Launches New Retail Design

    North Carolina branded marketers raise money for local Red Cross chapter.

    HOUSTON -- CITGO Petroleum Corp.'s new retail image features a predominately red triform design on the retail canopy, pump and Quick Lube building. A symbol of brand innovation, the new design is meant to grab attention and attract more consumers to CITGO-branded locations, the company said in a statement.

    "While we are very proud of our 100-year heritage, we cannot simply rest on our past. We are actively thinking about the future and want to provide our marketers and retailers with an updated, refreshed look that is distinguishable from the competition," said Gustavo Velasquez, vice president of supply and marketing for CITGO, based here. "The new image will help our local marketers and retailers attract more business and at the same time make an impact in their local communities. We believe this contemporary look is more inviting to today's consumer and hope that they will find it as exciting as we do."

    The design was developed in conjunction with CITGO marketers across the network. It was tested at sites in Katy, Texas; Miami; Greensboro, N.C.; Bristol, Conn.; Park City, Ill.; and Fuquay Varina, N.C., to ensure it will stand up to various weather conditions and can be easily installed, the company said. The new design is available to all new-to-CITGO locations. Rebranding across the CITGO network of locally owned retail sites will begin Jan. 1, 2011. CITGO aims to have the new street image installed in the next few years at each of the nearly 6,500 locally owned CITGO-branded gasoline stations and nearly 200 CITGO Fast Lube stations across the country.

    "The feedback from the marketers was extremely important," Velasquez said. "We wanted to be sure that the design met the needs of those on the front lines of the brand and reflected what CITGO means to them and their communities. Not only will the new image enhance the visual impact of branded locations, but the support from CITGO, combined with the ease of installation, will ensure marketers and retailers can affordably implement the upgrades with little disruption to their business."

    In other CITGO news, nine branded convenience stores in North Carolina are supporting the Red Cross chapter through fundraising efforts and two blood drives. Until Sept. 6, the stations are selling $1 paper blood droplets to raise money for the many community, disaster, military and health assistance programs provided by the local Red Cross chapter. On Aug. 23, nearly 80 people made blood donations at two Red Cross blood drives in Red Springs and Laurinburg, N.C. The drives collected 69 pints of whole blood, which has the potential to save more than 200 lives.

    "I have been involved with the Red Cross in North Carolina for many years, giving blood and supporting local programs," said Johnny Robertson, general manager with Red Springs, N.C.-based CITGO marketer John's Fuel Service. "Their commitment to ensuring a safe and healthy community helped detect a potentially life-threatening disease that I didn't know I had. I will be forever thankful for this, and the wealth of programs they undertake every day to support local people in our area, particularly the military families. By making a donation, no matter how big or small, everyone can help our community thrive."

    Robertson said he hopes the month-long campaign will raise more than $10,000. People are invited to make a donation by purchasing a $1 paper Red Cross droplet every time they visit one of the participating CITGO stations. With every $1 donation, consumers will be entered into a drawing for a $25 CITGO gift card. Collection jars are on the counters for customers to donate to the Red Cross. All money collected will go to the local American Red Cross chapter to support a wide range of health education, awareness, training and response programs for children, families and members of the military across the region.

    In addition to collecting monetary donations, the local CITGO stations provided opportunities to sign up for the local Red Cross blood drives and distributed information on Red Cross programs. Two blood drives were held Aug. 23, in honor of Robertson at the American Legion buildings in Red Spring and Laurinburg. Nearly 80 people from across the community registered to donate at the event and a total of 69 pints of whole blood was collected, breaking expectations by more than 25 percent. This blood will be used to help local people and has the potential to save more than 200 lives. As thanks for their support, two individuals won a $750 CITGO gift card courtesy of John's Fuel Service and CITGO Petroleum Corp.

    "The Red Cross provides a wealth of services to children, local families and members of the military, but we cannot operate without help from our communities," said Carol Ann Lentz, executive director of the Scotland County, N.C. chapter of the American Red Cross. "We are extremely grateful for Johnny Robertson and the local CITGO station operators for rallying the community in support of our programs, and for helping to educate their customers on the importance of donating blood. Thanks to this effort, we will be able to touch more lives and make our area stronger and healthier for years to come."

    John's Fuel Service and participating local CITGO stations are joined in their efforts to raise money and collect blood for the American Red Cross by CITGO.

    CITGO, based in Houston is owned by PDV America Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

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