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FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Two months since acquiring all rights to market the Gulf brand throughout the entire United States and its territories, Gulf Oil L.P. last week inked it first official deal with a petroleum distributor outside its former 11-state region in the Northeast, and company executives say many more agreements are on the way.
"We suspected there was a huge appetite for the Gulf mark to be introduced outside the Northeast. But in a million years, we didn't realize the overwhelming response we would receive," Rick Dery, chief marketing officer for Gulf, a subsidiary of convenience store chain Cumberland Farms Inc., told CSNews Online. "There is a lot of nostalgia around the Gulf brand, and we're creating something new and exciting that builds upon that legacy."
As previously reported, Gulf-branded gasoline in the continental U.S. was only available in an 11-state region in the Northeast through a previous licensing agreement between Gulf Oil L.P.'s parent company and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. In late 2009, when Chevron decided to pull out of 10 mid-Atlantic markets, the pieces fell into place for Gulf to revamp its agreement with the California-based oil company. On Jan. 12, Gulf acquired all title and interests to the Gulf brand, enabling the company to expand its use of the Gulf brand throughout the U.S. for the first time in 20 years.
Over the last two months, Gulf executives have literally hit the ground running. "We closed on the license Jan. 12, and on Jan. 13, we hit the road. We have been traveling and meeting with distributors every week since then," said Dery.
As a result of these aggressive efforts, Ron Sabia, Gulf president and chief operating officer, told CSNews Online the company has offers out to roughly 70 distributors within those mid-Atlantic states where Chevron is withdrawing. In addition, the chain also has inquiries from distributors in 18 new states plus Puerto Rico.
Over the next few months, the executives said they will continue focusing on the Chevron withdrawal states, since July 1 is the deadline for the Chevron brand to be de-flagged there, while also going after other distributors whose contracts are coming up for renewal.
"We've got offers on more than a third of [the Chevron] portfolio, and we're not saying that we're going to get all of that, but we're being entertained by every participant in those markets. We may not get 100 percent of a distributor's existing Chevron business, but most distributors have said 'we want to do something with you,'" Dery said.
"We'll have many, many more [agreements signed] in the coming weeks."
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