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    Dairy Mart Stores Take Circle K Name

    A new convenience chain name is popping up in the Pittsburgh market.

    PITTSBURGH -- Circle K, the well-known convenience brand in the western United States, is now also operating in the Pittsburgh region, converting 12 former Dairy Mart locations in the Pittsburgh area to Circle K stores last week.

    Both brands are owned by Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which purchased Ohio-based Dairy Mart three years ago. Michel Bernard, vice president of operations for Couche-Tard's Midwest division, said the company recently "determined that Circle K will be our national brand everywhere in the country."

    According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Bernard said the company will revamp its local Dairy Mart stores to emphasize a greater selection of food offerings. He said Couche-Tard is in an expansion mode and seeking other convenience chains to acquire.

    The fact that Pennsylvania convenience stores are generally not permitted to sell beer and wine, a major sales generator for such stores elsewhere, has not dampened the company's interest here.

    "It's not a preferred market, but we have interest to expand there anyway," Bernard said.

    Currently, Alimentation Couche-Tard operates a variety of convenience store chains and is the largest such operator in Canada and second-largest in the United States. The company's three major store brands are Couche-Tard, Mac's and Circle K.

    The company has more than 4,900 locations throughout North America.

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