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    MACS Signs Exclusive Partnership With Circle K

    Seventy-one convenience stores will be fully re-branded as Circle K c-stores by Thanksgiving.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores (MACS) will completely rebrand all of its company-operated convenience stores as Circle K locations by Thanksgiving. In all, 71 stores will be converted to the Circle K banner.

    "Our exclusive development partnership with Circle K will cover Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware," said Dan Pastor, CEO of MACS. "We will now utilize a strong framework from a global brand."

    Pastor stressed during a media event today, July 11, that no stores were sold to Circle K and independent retailers can continue to be autonomous in their decision making.

    "It's the best of both worlds," he said. "We wanted a win-win situation for all parties."

    The 71 MACS-operated stores will now focus on Polar Pop dispensed beverages and roller grill items. Pastor said made-to-order fresh food will not be a focus. But Derek Gaskins, MACS' senior vice president of marketing and research, confirmed that the converted c-stores will also have access to other Circle K products, including its Crown private-label cigarette brand.

    The future Circle K locations will sell Exxon, Mobil and BP fuels.

    As for why a rebranding was needed, Pastor relayed that MACS retailers composed a "fragmented brand" following its 2010 formation and that made it difficult to make the group consistent. Currently, MACS-owned convenience stores and gas stations operate under the Tiger Mart, On the Run and BP brands.

    Speaking on behalf of Circle K and its parent, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Dennis Tewell, its vice president of worldwide franchise, said the partnership is a great way to gain a strong foothold in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. region, where Circle K lacks a presence.

    According to Brad Williams, MACS' senior vice president of store operations, the multimillion-dollar rebranding effort will begin in August. Remodels are expected to be completed by the second week of September with grand openings expected to begin in late September.

    Both the interior and exterior of the stores will be renovated. Store employees will need to attend new training sessions and don new uniforms.

    MACS will also encourage the 230 dealer-operated stores under its auspices to convert to Circle K stores, Pastor noted. But he added MACS has not contacted those dealers yet.

    "We want to make sure our conversions will go smoothly first," he said. "Then we will approach those independent dealers."

    Pastor added that he knows not all of the 230 dealer-operated locations will convert to the Circle K. However, he believes the Circle K arrangement provides a great opportunity for all of its independent dealers.


    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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