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    Showing Spirit

    PMAA's fuel brand attracts growing following.

    ARLINGTON, Va. -- Less than six months after it was formally launched, a brand conceived by the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) is drawing an interested audience.

    PMAA Vice President Holly Tuminello said a number of petroleum marketers have signed contracts and are in the throes of rebranding and constructing ground-ups with the Spirit brand, formally unveiled at February's show of the Western Petroleum Marketers Association (WPMA).

    Tuminello said the first sites are expected to open this fall, with about 50 Spirit locations planned to be running by year's end. "Helping create a brand has been the most fun thing I've worked on since I've been working with marketers for over 10 years."

    More than two years in the making, Spirit is PMAA's response to the mergers of major oil companies that have reduced the number of national brands and subsequently squeezed both petroleum marketers and station dealers associated with those defunct companies.

    "The vision is to help marketers be competitive in the marketplace," Tuminello said. "It's been very difficult for many of our members and this is a response to that challenge."

    PMAA formed Petroleum Marketers Oil Co. (PMOCO) as a limited liability outfit to administer the branded program. Franchisees pay a $1,000 fee for the first station to be branded and $500 per subsequent unit. Franchises run for a 3-year term followed by four 5-year terms.

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