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    Valero Furthers Expansion Plans With 29-Store Deal in Arkansas

    The retailer will begin rebranding the Crackerbox Stores once the deal closes next month.

    SAN ANTONIO -- Details on Valero Retail Holdings' plans for the 29 new stores it is acquiring in Arkansas will become clear when the deal closes in mid-July, but the company does say the addition of The Crackerbox Stores are part of its overall expansion plans.

    "Valero Retail is growing mostly by expanding the size and offerings of its existing stores, and building new-to-industry stores in markets where we already operate. We have done a couple of targeted acquisitions in recent years, preferring to stay close to where our existing supply chain is," Bill Day, executive director of media relations at Valero Energy Corp., told CSNews Online.

    In this case, the 29 stores in the Little Rock and Hot Springs, Ark., markets already carry the Valero brand. Once the acquisition is completed, the locations will be converted to Valero Corner Stores. Until the conversion is finished, Valero is also purchasing the rights to the Crackerbox name, according to a company release.

    "We are excited to be re-entering the Arkansas market," said Gary Arthur, Valero Retail president. "These stores are great assets and will complement our existing Corner Store network. They already carry the Valero brand, so customers are familiar with our high-quality fuel and motor oils.

    "We look forward to serving customers in the Little Rock and Hot Springs areas. Our commitment to them is to provide high-quality products, value and excellent customer service in well-designed, safe, clean facilities," he added.

    The 29 convenience stores average 3,700 square feet and sit on a site averaging an acre and half. They will be remodeled to include the full Corner Store brand offering, including Cibolo Mountain coffee, advanced food programs and the full line of Fresh Choices proprietary signature-branded products.

    "We served the market for 40 years," said Lewis Gardner, CEO of The Crackerbox Stores. "In our consideration of buyers, we felt Valero was the best fit for our customers and employees. We want to take this opportunity to thank our customers and employees."

     

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