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    Thorntons Expanding Into Florida

    Its first store in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region will open in spring 2013.

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Thorntons Inc. announced plans to expand into the Florida regional metro market of Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. Its first store is scheduled to open in Clearwater in spring 2013.

    "To people on the go looking for quick refreshment, Thorntons is the gasoline and convenience store with delicious food and drinks where the experience will always be fast, friendly and easy to save you time in your busy day," President and CEO Matt Thornton said in a released statement.

    The chain plans for 15 to 20 more Florida stores to follow over the next three years.

    This marks Thorntons' first entrance into a new metro/state region since it began operations in Nashville, Tenn., in 2007, the company said. It currently operates 165 gas stations, c-stores, car washes and travel plazas in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.

    Thorntons is not the only convenience store retailer with its sights set on the Sunshine State. As CSNews Online has extensively reported, Wawa Inc. will make its debut in Florida this July in Orlando. The retailer is expected to hold the grand opening of its first store on July 18. A total of six locations will open in the Orlando market between July and October. Work on Wawa's first Tampa stores will begin in May, with the first five stores opening in February and March 2013.

    Wawa's Florida expansion will mark the first time the c-store chain has set down roots outside its core Mid-Atlantic market. Company projections call for there to be 100 Wawa stores operating in central Florida within the next five years.

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