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    COMPETITIVE WATCH:

    Smaller supermarket chains get into gas.

    CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. -- Following an increasing trend of grocers entering the gasoline business to generate traffic, Gordy's County Market will build three $600,000 gas station and convenience stores in Wisconsin, reported the Chippewa Herald.

    The locations -- in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire and LaFayette, Wis. -- will be located near existing supermarkets and called Gordy's County Market Express. The sites will be built by the Schafer family as it expands into the gasoline business, the report stated.

    The venture is a natural progression for the 40-year-old company, according to Gordy Schafer. He added that Super Valu, the grocer's distributor, operates a program that will support the gas stations as well.

    "Gordy's County Market Express will tie into the grocery store," Schafer told the paper.

    Earlier this week, the Chippewa Falls City Council gave approval to the company to use $60,000 in tax increment financing to demolish a brick house and a retail building that the company bought more than a decade ago. Schafer told the paper he bought the properties with the intention of someday expanding his business interests at the location.

    The council also approved a request from Gordy’'s to construct a 65-foot driveway into the gas station from the street.

    Eight pumps will be installed at the property and be supplied by 20,000- and 12,000-gallon gasoline tanks. A kiosk convenience store will be constructed as well, according to project plans submitted to the city of Chippewa Falls.

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