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OCALA, Fla. -- The Kwik King 49-unit chain of convenience stores, headquartered here, sold 19 of its stores and will be selling the remaining 30 stores, Bill Tuck, the co-owner and chief executive officer of the chain told the Star-Banner.
Of the 19 stores already sold, Ocala-based Diamond Oil bought eight locations, while Sam Patidar, owner of five other c-stores in the area, bought 11, the report stated. Both of the new owners gained control over the stores last week.
"The whole climate of the convenience store industry is changing," Tuck told the paper. "It's really tough today to deal with the big oil companies."
When Tuck and business partner, Ralph Pressley, bought the Kwik King business in 1999, a gallon of gasoline sold for $1.09, the report stated. Today, the company makes more money off a cup of coffee than 10 gallons of gas, Tuck told the paper.
"We don't set the global price for gas," he said. "We were making a bigger profit selling gas for $1.09 a gallon than we are selling it for $3.15 today."
Tuck and Pressley are currently in negotiations to sell the remaining 30 Kwik King locations, the report stated. He expects service at the stores to become more individualized, something that was difficult to do when overseeing 49 stores, he told the paper.
"It's hard to manage 49 stores from an office," he said. "These new owners, they'll focus on the neighborhoods they're in. They'll have more intimate knowledge of their customers' needs."
Diamond Oil management consultant Neal Patel told the paper the company may want to purchase the remaining sites. He said that Diamond Oil looked for an opportunity to buy a number of c-stores for two years, and the Kwik King stores presented the perfect opportunity.
"We wanted to serve our community and grow in our community," Patel told the paper. "We're going to see if we can get the other 30 stores."
Neither purchaser would disclose the purchase price, however the Marion County Clerk's Web site stated each store sold for between $750,000 and $1.5 million, the report stated.
Diamond Oil's stores will change from Shell to the Diamond Oil banner, while it will supply the eight sites bought by Patidar with gasoline, according to the report.
Patidar will rebrand the 11 Kwik Kings to Qwik Kings, according to the report.
"I'm a little guy in all this, but I've been in the business and knew this was a great opportunity," Patidar told the paper. "We're still working on a plan, but our focus will be on service."