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    Han-Dee to Upgrade 25 Crown Fast Fare Stores

    Units to get $2 million for building improvements.

    RALEIGH, N.C. -- Twenty-five Crown Fast Fare convenience stores will get $2 million in building improvements, courtesy of their new owner, Han-Dee Hugo's, reported the Raleigh-based News & Observer.

    Han-Dee Hugo's, a family-owned convenience store chain based in Clinton, N.C., bought the Crown stores in April for an undisclosed sum, and already has replaced electronic sales and processing equipment at checkout counters, said Haddon Clark, corporate vice president for one of Han-Dee Hugo's parent companies, United Energy. Within two years, some stores will get interior and exterior improvements as well as orange-and-white Han-Dee Hugo's signs, which feature a freckle-faced boy.

    "You've got to grow to survive," Clark said. "They had some good stores, and it fits in well with our operation geographically more than anything else."

    Baltimore-based Crown Central Petroleum, which owned refineries and convenience stores from Alabama to Maryland, put all of its assets up for sale, and Han-Dee Hugo's bought 36 of its North Carolina stores. It now owns 72 convenience stores scattered throughout North Carolina.

    The purchase gave the chain 20 more Raleigh stores, three in Durham, one more in Clayton and one in Carrboro, bringing its total in the "Triangle" to 48, two less than Sanford-based The Pantry, which is the area's largest c-store operator.

    Although the cash register systems have been replaced and building improvements are planned, no decision has been made whether to continue to carry Crown brand gasoline.

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