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    LiptonMart Stores in Expansion Mode

    The now 10-store chain recently acquired three locations and is on the lookout for more opportunities.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Lipton Energy's LiptonMart Stores purchased three Shell-branded convenience stores and gas stations from Fleming Food Mart Convenience Stores, bringing its store count to 10 and expanding its reach into Vermont. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    One of the Fleming stores LiptonMart purchased is located in Franklin County, Mass., while the other two are in Brattleboro, Vt. Prior to this purchase, LiptonMart owned seven Mobil-branded c-stores and gas stations, all in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts.

    "We wanted to expand beyond the region we operated in," Michael Lipton, LiptonMart's vice president, told CSNews Online. "Also, as part of the deal, we purchased two Subway franchises. We thought Subway would be a great fit for us."

    LiptonMart, a fourth-generation c-store operator that also sells heating oil, has since received permission to open another Subway at one its Berkshire County stores. As for the chain's other sites, roller grill items, pizza and other foods are sold, as opposed to a full-service foodservice operation.

    To assist LiptonMart in incorporating the three new stores, the company named George Roberge, formerly of Fleming Food Mart, as director of retail and QSR for all 10 of the company's locations. "George is a great addition for us," Lipton told CSNews Online. "He went through Subway's two-week training course and certainly knows how to run a [quick-service restaurant]. He is a great person to assist me in running all 10 of our stores."

    Lipton added that Roberge lives in Brattleboro, so he can place a special emphasis on the three stores LiptonMart just purchased.

    As for changes to the just-acquired stores, the retailer will look to spruce up their fast-food offerings and plans to expand the size of one of the Subway locations. So far, Lipton said the most difficult part of transitioning the new stores into LiptonMarts has been the software integration that allows them to join the c-store chain's broadband network.

    Looking ahead, Lipton confirmed that his company is still in acquisition mode. "We are always looking into new opportunities," he said, adding that new store constructions are also a possibility.

    However, LiptonMart, which competes with the likes of The Cumberland Gulf Group, Xtra Mart Convenience Stores and O'Connell Oil Associates (Convenience-Plus) will not stray too far from its home operating region.

    More Subway restaurant openings are also being eyed, and LiptonMart is even considering operating standalone Subway locations. Creating a loyalty program is another thing Lipton said he is seriously considering. "I've seen loyalty programs work very well at other retailers," he relayed.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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