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    Verc to Receive Gulf Brand

    New England c-store chain hopes transition cuts costs.

    DUXBURY, Mass. -- In an effort to curb rising prices at the pumps, Verc Enterprises, the gas and convenience store chain based here, announced plans to convert all of its Exxon-branded stations to the Newton-based Gulf brand by yearend.

    "I think Exxon is a more premium brand, but consumers are looking for the least cost to them," Verc CEO Leo Vercollone told Enterprise News.

    In Vercollone's estimation, purchasing gasoline has become a commodity value proposition. For example, Vercollone told the Enterprise News the wholesale price of Gulf gasoline is typically between 2 and 7 cents cheaper per gallon
    than Exxon. This, he said, is a significant difference considering his company makes approximately 12 cents on each gallon of gas sold.

    Verc's decision comes on the heels of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority's announcement last summer to re-brand gas stations to the Gulf name at all 11 rest stops along the turnpike.

    Gulf Oil CEO Joseph Petrowski told newspaper that consumers can expect additional transitions in the months to come. This progressive transition dates back to September 2003, when Gulf acquired exclusive rights to the Exxon brand name in all six New England states and New York through February 2010, at which point the Exxon brand will vanish from the region; however, Petrowski noted that Gulf will stop distributing the Exxon brand as earlier as February 2009.

    "The Exxon name would go dark [in New England], Petrowski said in the report. "So we figured why invest time and effort in developing [Exxon] when, frankly, we had a brand [Gulf] that was five times better?"

    While he said it was not an easy decision, Vercollone maintained that the move to Gulf will help to provide a competitive advantage in an increasingly difficult market. He told the newspaper the conversion will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 per location of which 14 exist in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

    "This is a significant step for my company," Vercollone said in the report. "We've been with Exxon for 30 years."

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