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    Comings and Goings -- from A to Z

    Convenience Store News presents a roundup of the major industry acquisitions, store openings and closings, and people changes that occurred over the past year among the Top 100 c-stores, compiled by Trade Dimensions Retail World Insights.

    Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
    (Top 100 rank: #6)
    Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Laval, Quebec, agreed to acquire 83 convenience stores from Convenient Food Mart Inc., Painesville, Ohio, in May. The transaction included stores in the St. Louis and central Illinois area. Shortly thereafter, Couche-Tard and Irving Oil Corp., Portsmouth, N.H., expanded their partnership to include an additional 252 stores. Under the agreement, Couche-Tard will operate the Irving Oil-owned stores, which are located in Atlantic Canada and New England. Irving Oil will continue to supply petroleum products and the stores will operate under the Couche-Tard and Circle K brands.

    A month earlier, Couche-Tard agreed to acquire 15 central Illinois stores from Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, Enon, Ohio. The stores will be re-branded to the Circle K banner.

    The company also announced its interest in acquiring some of the 2,000 stations Shell Oil Products US, Houston, plans to sell by the end of 2009.

    Couche-Tard also plans to remodel about 400 of its current stores. In other news, the southeast subsidiary of Couche-Tard's Circle K Stores Inc., Charlotte, N.C., division, in partnership with energy drink producer BooKoo Energy, launched a new energy drink last year called GazZu. The drink is offered in citrus, cherry and orange-mango and will be sold at Circle K stores in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest U.S.

    BP Plc
    (#2)
    In April, BP, La Palma, Calif., discontinued its gas sales in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. The company also put more than 480 stores throughout the U.S., (including locations in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington) up for sale, as part of the company's previously announced plan to sell all of its stores within the next two years. Most of the stores will be sold to franchisees, and the remaining to dealers and large distributors.

    In 2007, BP brought its ampm brand to the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast markets (beginning with Atlanta and Chicago) with the goal of establishing a consistent, unified brand in the U.S. The company will require the sites to continue supplying BP or ARCO fuels, which BP will continue to market. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Laval, Quebec, is interested in purchasing some of the sites, because the two companies operate in some of the same markets. EZ Energy Ltd., an Israeli holding company, announced it will purchase 14 stores from BP in the Atlanta market. BP is already in the process of selling 71 of its company-owned stores along with five franchised stations in south Florida.

    Casey's General Stores Inc.
    (#13)
    In January, convenience chain Casey's General Stores, Inc., Ankeny, Iowa, announced the retirement of John G. Harmon, its executive vice president and corporate secretary. Harmon was with the company for 32 years.

    Chevron Corp.
    (#5)
    Chevron Corp., San Ramon, Calif., CTO Donald Paul retired at the end of 2007. John McDonald, former vice president of strategic planning, replaced him.

    ConocoPhillips Co.
    (#12)
    ConocoPhillips Co., Houston, placed 11 operating stations and convenience stations, two commercial buildings, a bulk plant and a strip center up for auction last summer, in the Springfield, Mo., area. In addition, the company completed its exit from South Carolina, in line with plans to reduce the number of Conoco-, Phillips 66- and 76-branded services from several markets that were announced in February 2007. The company is also pulling out of Minnesota, North Carolina, and parts of Arizona, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, and will have about 9,150 branded outlets in markets "where it can capitalize on market efficiencies and stronger competitive positions."

    Cumberland Farms Inc.
    (#17)
    Cumberland Farms Inc., Canton, Mass., is rumored to be looking to sell some of its stores. No information has been confirmed by the company at this time.

    Delek/Mapco Express
    (#20)
    Mapco Express, Franklin, Tenn., opened its second upscale convenience store in November 2007 in Alabama. The location was previously a Mapco-owned Discount Food Mart, but was completely rebuilt. The new store is 4,250 square feet, double its previous size and features made-to-order food offerings, fresh premium coffee, an upscale fountain area, a dine-in area, an expanded bakery and a smoothie maker station.

    Exxon Mobil Corp.
    (#4)
    Exxon Mobil Corp., Irving, Texas, will sell its company-owned gas stations within the next few years. The company stated the stations are not profitable enough. Following this announcement, Gulf Oil LP, Newton, Mass., expressed interest in buying some of the stations located in the markets in which it operates.

    Fas Mart Convenience Stores Inc.(#42)
    Fas Mart Convenience Stores Inc., Mechanicsville, Va., acquired the 57-store Double Kwik chain, owned by Barnette Enterprises Inc., Wise, Va., in December 2007. It also acquired the smaller Virginia-based, six-store Triad Oil chain. The company will re-brand all of the stores to the Fas Mart name.

    Fikes Wholesale
    (#60)
    Fikes Wholesale, Temple, Texas, operator of the CEFCO convenience store chain, acquired Deweese Enterprises Inc., Meridian, Miss., in December 2007, operator of the 45-store chain Superstop!, with stores in Mississippi and Alabama.

    Gulf Oil LP
    (#63)
    Gulf Oil LP, Newton, Mass., launched its new Gulf Express convenience store and Gulf Sunrise gasoline brand at 11 locations along the Massachusetts Turnpike last fall. The same changes are being made to all its stations in order to "enhance the customer experience."

    Hess Corp.
    (#15)
    Hess Corp., Woodbridge, N.J., in December 2007 negotiated with Dunkin' Donuts to offer its coffee in a self-service area in its convenience stores. The Dunkin' Donuts self-service offering was introduced in January in Hess locations in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, eventually rolling it out to at least 175 stores in 2008.

    High's of Baltimore Inc.
    (#86)
    High's of Baltimore Inc., Hanover, Md., reached a deal with Radiant Systems to provide self-serve kiosks in more than 50 of its stores. Customers will be able to use the kiosks to custom-order food offered in the c-stores.

    Irving Oil Corp.
    (#56)
    Irving Oil Corp., Portsmouth, N.H., purchased eight retail locations from Rice Oil Co. Inc., Greenfield, Mass., in June. The stores were re-branded to the Irving logo.

    Kroger Co.
    (#14)
    The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, promoted Ken Nuss to vice president of marketing for its convenience store division and Michael Hoffman to director of convenience store bridging in January. Hoffman formerly served as president of the retailer's Kwik Shop Inc., Hutchinson, Kan., division; Jeff Parker was named as his successor.

    The giant grocery company also opened an automated convenience store at one of its Columbus, Ohio, supermarkets last year. The machine is located near the gas pumps and offers 150 different items payable with cash, credit or debit cards.

    Kum & Go L.C.
    (#22)
    Kum & Go L.C., West Des Moines, Iowa, is auctioning off 21 of its smaller convenience stores located in Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming. The company wants to focus on building larger stores, and plans to open an additional 27 convenience stores in its core markets by the end of the year.

    In January, Kevin W. Krause was promoted to senior vice president of marketing. Krause previously worked at the company for 20 years as a director.

    In November 2007, the retailer launched a new, premium ready-to-drink coffee line, Java Ridge, in all of its stores. The line comes in various flavors, along with cappuccino, and can also be purchased as a 12-ounce bag of ground coffee.

    Kwik Trip Inc.
    (#28)
    In July 2007, Kwik Trip Inc., La Crosse, Wis., sold its Prior Lake, Minn., store to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux community. The tribe is replacing some of the equipment in the store, which will re-open under a new name. In other Kwik Trip news, a convenience store in Austin, Minn., acquired from Severson Conoco, re-opened in August after it completed rebranding renovations. Also in August, the company opened a store in Beaver Dam, Wis.

    Martin & Bayley Inc.
    (#66)
    Martin & Bayley Inc., Carmi, Ill., chairman, Randy Fulkerson retired in January. Martin & Bayley operates the Hucks Food Stores convenience chain.

    Ohio Valley AFM Inc.
    (#75)
    Ohio Valley AFM Inc., Newport, Ky., sold 20 AmeriStop stores in March. Of these, 11 went to Ranger Enterprises, Rockford, Ill., operator of Road Ranger convenience stores, and nine to Village Pantry Inc., Indianapolis.

    Ohio Valley's parent company, Petro Acquisitions Inc., which operates the AmeriStop convenience store chain, filed for Chapter 11 in October 2007. In January, the company appointed to run the chain after the filing -- CRG Partners Group LLC -- announced it was selling all locations.

    The Pantry Inc.
    (#10)
    The Pantry Inc., Sanford, N.C., after finalizing the purchase of 16 convenience stores from Sayle Oil, Charleston, Miss., in April, revealed in May it will stop any additional acquisitions for the rest of the year and exit all its gasoline hedging activities. The company explained it wants to focus on improving its productivity until the high crude oil prices decline and the overall retail environment improves.

    In people news, David Zaborski, senior vice president of operations left that role at the end of March. Brad Williams was promoted to vice president of field operations from division vice president.

    Pilot Corp.
    (#29)
    In October 2007, Pilot Corp., Knoxville, Tenn., formed a partnership with Denny's Corp., Spartanburg, S.C., to develop Denny's restaurants in Pilot's facilities. The first center to get a Denny's restaurant is in Mount Vernon, Ill.

    7-Eleven Inc.
    (#1)
    In May, 7-Eleven Inc., Dallas, began the conversion of approximately 475 company-operated stores in central Florida to franchised operations. Earlier, the company sold 32 of its convenience stores in the Volusia County, Fla., area to franchisees. In other company news, 7-Eleven began selling its new Signature 7 line of snacks in May. The new products were debuted in March at the company's annual convention in Orlando, Fla. Last fall, the iconic retailer introduced three new private label beverages: a new performance/vitality beverage, AQUISS, made by an affiliate of Phlo Corp. (450 western U.S. stores); Fusion Defense, an echinacea-, ginseng- and astragalus-infused coffee (participating stores except Texas, Colorado, Arizona and southern Nevada); and an energy drink, Inked, targeting young, tattooed Americans.

    In related 7-Eleven news, the company signed a three-year agreement with Javo Beverage Co. Inc. to supply premium coffee beverages to its stores. The product had already been available at about 500 stores in the Northeast, and was expanded to participating stores on the East and West Coast. 7-Eleven also added some new product lines last summer, including a Chicken Bite (a chicken tender shaped like a hot dog); a new line of candy from national bulk candy retailer Sweet Factory; and a new premium wine, Sonoma Crest Cellars, to expand its proprietary wine segment. The wine is the company's second wine venture following the Thousand Oaks brand.

    In people news, 7-Eleven, in July 2007, appointed Darren Rebelez to replace John Harris, senior vice president of store operations, who retired. Rebelez was previously the head of franchising for the On-The-Run banner operated by Exxon Mobil Corp., Irving. In August 2007, 7-Eleven's newly appointed CMO, Doug Foster, resigned from the company to pursue other interests.

    Sheetz Inc.
    (#26)
    Sheetz Inc., Altoona, Pa., said goodbye in February to its vice president of human resources, Phil Freeman; Stephanie Hoover took his place. In October 2007, the retailer promoted two executives: Mike Lorenz to executive vice president of petroleum supply; and Ray Ryan to executive vice president of distribution and Sheetz Bros. Kitchen.

    Shell/Motiva
    (#3)
    Colbea Enterprises LLC, Cranston, R.I., agreed last year to acquire 34 Shell-branded sites in Rhode Island from Motiva Enterprises LLC, Houston, bringing Colbea's total Shell-branded sites to 55, and making it one of the largest Shell-branded wholesalers in the Northeast. In other Motiva news, The Lewis Group LLP acquired 10 of its Shell-branded stores in the Houston area. All of the sites will continue to operate under the Shell brand.

    In November 2007, Motiva sold its interest in 54 sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The locations were sold to Bronson Oil Holdings LLC, Pennsauken, N.J., a newly formed, privately held real estate company that shares a common owner with ARFA Enterprises Inc., a wholesaler. Under the agreement, Bronson will sublease the stations to ARFA, which will then distribute the fuel and operate the Shell gas stations. In July, Shell sold 24 of its stores in the Kansas City market to Crescent Oil Co. Inc., Independence, Kan. Crescent then resold the sites to Stations Acquisitions, a Kansas City investor group led by Block & Co. Realtors. The stores will remain Shell gasoline branded stations.

    Sinclair Oil Corp.
    (#52)
    Sinclair Oil Corp., Salt Lake City, acquired 14 Fiesta Mart convenience stores from Arkansas Valley Petroleum, Tulsa, Okla. It plans to keep the Fiesta Mart banner, and supply the stores with Sinclair-branded fuel.

    In July 2007, Sinclair purchased five stores from Severson Oil Co., Winona, Wis. The stores were in Lake City, Winona and Rochester, Wis., and were changed to the Sinclair logo.

    Susser Holdings Corp.
    (#19)
    Susser Holdings Corp., Corpus Christi, Texas, will re-brand its recently acquired Town & Country Food Store locations to the Stripes banner, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008. The stores were acquired in November 2007.

    In January, Alvin New, president of Town & Country, decided to leave the company rather than relocate.

    Tedeschi Food Shops Inc.
    (#45)
    Joe Hamza was promoted from director of marketing to vice president of sales and marketing for Tedeschi Food Shops Inc., Rockland, Mass., in August 2007.

    Tesoro Petroleum Corp.
    (#34)
    Tesoro West Coast Co., Auburn, Wash., announced three executive changes in March. William Finnerty was named executive vice president of strategy and asset management; Everett Lewis was named executive vice president and COO; and Chuck Flagg was named senior vice president of system optimization.

    Travel Centers of America
    (#37)
    In November 2007, Travel Centers of America LLC, Westlake, Ohio, reassigned two executives: Andrew Rebholz (former senior vice president and controller) took on the position of executive vice president, treasurer and CFO, while John Hoadley (former CFO and treasurer) took on the role of executive vice president.

    Tri Star Energy LLC
    (#62)
    Tri Star Energy LLC, Nashville, Tenn., purchased 57 Scot Markets from Consumer Gasoline, Nashville, Tenn., in August 2007. Some of the stores will be re-branded as Daily's Convenience Stores, while others will remain Scot Markets. Most of the stores will be converted to the Shell gas brand.

    Uni-Marts LLC
    (#40)
    Uni-Marts LLC, State College, Pa., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June. The company plans to close 45 underperforming stores and operate the rest while reorganizing under bankruptcy protection.

    Valero Energy Corp.
    (#11)
    Valero Energy Corp., San Antonio, opened its new Road Runner convenience store concept in San Antonio during December 2007. The 5,500-square-foot store offers fresh and perishable foods, prepared foods, premium hot beverages, and 14 fueling positions. The company eventually plans to remodel and refurbish all of its 1,000 Valero Corner Stores to the Road Runner banner.

    Additionally, in November 2007, the company promoted Rich Marcogliese from executive vice president of operations to executive vice president and CEO for the company, while president Greg King resigned, effective Dec. 31, 2007.

    Village Pantry
    (#46)
    Village Pantry, Indianapolis, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, acquired Imperial Co. Inc., Mount Pleasant, Mich., operator of 33 Next Door Stores in Michigan and Indiana in October 2007. The stores will most likely not be re-branded.

    Wilson Farms Inc.
    (#43)
    In February, Wilson Farms Inc., Buffalo, N.Y., began selling Shark Energy Drink, which until now has only been available outside of the United States. The company hopes the product will be the top selling energy drink in the area within the next year.

    Worsley Companies Inc.
    (#38)
    Li'L Cricket Food Stores LLC, Spartanburg, S.C., was acquired by Worsley Cos. Inc., Wilmington, N.C., in May, which was itself acquired in April by Sun Capital Partners Inc., Boca Raton, Fla.

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