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    From Sterling to Circle K

    Rebranding effort under way for 28 stores bought by Alimentation Couche-Tard.

    DEFIANCE, Ohio -- Changes are under way for the 28 Sterling Stores that were purchased by Alimentation Couche-Tard in March. Most notably, the Sterling store located here was closed from 4 a.m. Tuesday until 3 a.m. Wednesday to convert the store to the Circle K banner, the Crescent-News reported.

    Couche-Tard purchased the company-owned, northwest Ohio stores from Sterling Stores LLC on March 25. Total 2006 sales for the 28 stores were approximately US $170 million. Under the Circle K banner, the stores will be operated by the company's Great Lakes division.

    "The 28 stores are located on highly visible and well-traveled roads and occupy strategic locations within their respective trade areas," Paul Rodriguez, vice president of operations for Circle K's Great Lakes Division, said in a written statement when the acquisition was announced. "In addition, these sites are well-operated and have a strong management team in place. Strategically, this acquisition would be an excellent fit with our network and would complement our expansion and growth plans for the Great Lakes division."

    The Sterling chain began in Wauseon, Ohio, in 1934, when Peter Goldsmith started a delivery company called Sterling Milk Co. that offered milk, eggs and other products for home delivery, CSNews Online reported in March. The company opened its first convenience store in 1950 and dropped its delivery service seven years later. In 2002, the company was bought by Holmen, Wis.-based Nesnah Ventures LLC. Three years later, one of its stores in Toledo was the first in the area to sell a high-ethanol blend of fuel.

    In other Couche-Tard news, the company brought Clearly Canadian Beverage Corp.'s dailyENERGY line of enhanced waters to its Quebec stores.

    The line is one of three new health conscious beverages by the company.

    "Couche-Tard plays a very important role in our strategy of gaining national exposure and in our commitment for securing tier one mass distribution channels for our new products," said Jackie Fox, Clearly Canadian director of sales and marketing, in a written statement. "With its dominance in the convenience chain channel, Couche-Tard will provide Clearly Canadian with great exposure to a large consumer market, which already has strong loyalty to our brand."

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