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TEMPLE, Texas -- Fikes Wholesale Inc., parent company of CEFCO Convenience Stores, saw the largest percentage increase in store count of any company in the convenience store industry last year. The company's unit count grew by 57.6 percent during the period of December 2010 to December 2011, according to Nielsen TDLinx data provided to CSNews Online.
Temple, Texas-based Fikes added a total of 72 stores during the timeframe. Its 2011 growth was higher than most typical years for the convenience store chain, said Brett Giesick, CEFCO's chief retail officer.
Of the new stores Fikes added to its roster, 71 were acquisitions. The acquired stores represented new markets for chain, with the exception of two stores in Mississippi. East Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas all marked new entry points for the company.
Although Fikes only built and subsequently opened one new store in 2011, that location is vitally important to the c-store retailer -- the new build in Harker Heights, Texas, now serves as the chain's prototype store of the future. The location features an open, fresh design with modern treatments and upgraded finishes. In terms of product offering, the store has an enhanced hot beverages program that offers a multitude of syrups and toppings; the much-lauded CEFCO iced tea program; more than 60 varieties of craft and import beers; a full assortment of wines; and expanded frozen food and tobacco offerings.
This year, Fikes has already made one acquisition that's not far off from the total number of stores it added last year. In January, the company acquired 63 Taylor Food Mart Stores from Taylor Petroleum Co., increasing its store count to 257 across seven states.
Don't expect Fikes to stop there either. "This acquisition represents new entry points in West Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico," Giesick told CSNews Online. "We have expectations [to build] up to 10 organic locations this year, and are interested in acquisition opportunities that fit into our strategic growth plans."