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NATIONAL REPORT -- The convenience store industry landscape is constantly changing as chains open and close stores each week. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these comings and goings in this special roundup.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
Casey's General Stores Inc.
Casey's General Stores Inc. opened a new store in Mountain Home, Ark., at 859 U.S. Highway 62.
The location’s fueling station offers 16 positions, and inside there are traditional c-store items, as well as a sandwich shop, pizza kitchen, pastries and gourmet coffee. All breads and fresh foods are made at the store daily.
Bill Walljasper, chief financial officer of the Ankeny, Iowa-based chain said the store will be Arkansas' sixth Casey's location, and the chain's first Arkansas venture off the growing U.S. Route 62/Interstate 540 Corridor in northwest Arkansas.
CEFCO Convenience Stores
CEFCO Convenience Stores opened its newest location at Interstate 30 and U.S. Highway 37 in Mt. Vernon, Texas, on April 12. It is the first Travel Center prototype location co-branded with a Huddle House Restaurant. It reflects CEFCO's latest design for the next generation and incorporates a number of innovative enhancements made possible by an open, fresh design with modern treatments and upgraded finishes, according to the Temple, Texas-based company.
"We are very excited for our local and travel centric customers to stop by and visit this state-of-art travel center," said Brett Giesick, CEFCO chief retail officer. "We offer showers, a travel lounge, great food, and over the road merchandise. Additionally, for our truck customers we offer diesel exhaust fluid and payment methods at the dispenser."
This new store is part of CEFCO's stated growth strategy of adding up to 10 organic locations per year in addition to the 128 Food Fast and Taylor stores acquired since August 2011.
CEFCO now operates 250 convenience stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.
Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores
Officials with Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores offered a timetable for the construction and opening of a new travel plaza located east of Cumberland, Md., the Cumberland Times-News reported.
"We have recently closed on the property near Cumberland and look forward to beginning construction in late June. We anticipate opening the location in late December," said Jenny Love Meyer, director of communications for Love's.
The travel center "will be around 10,000 square feet with seven diesel lanes and eight gasoline islands," she added.
Love's contracted to purchase more than two acres near Ali Ghan Road for $1.625 million, according to records with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, and in 2012, the Cumberland Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission gave a green light to Love's to develop the site, the report stated.
Site plans for the Love's project include two restaurants -- McDonald's and Subway -- and fueling stations for cars and trucks. Drawings show parking spaces for 78 cars and 96 trucks.
The Oklahoma City-based company operates more than 290 stores in 39 states.
Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J opened a new Pilot Travel Center in San Antonio, adding 40 local jobs and other economic benefits to the community.
The site is off Interstate 37 at exit 125 at 4105 Loop 1604. The full amenities stop includes eight diesel lanes; 12 gasoline lanes, with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling; two fueling lanes and bulk propane for RVs; a Subway and Cinnabon. In addition, expanded food offerings include pizza, soup, salads, sandwiches and hot dogs; and premium coffee and cappuccino selections.
The new facility is the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company's 39th in Texas and the 660th overall in North America.
Pilot Flying J also opened a new Pilot Travel Center at Exit 1 off Interstate 95 in St. Mary's, Fla. To celebrate the opening, the company had stock car race driver Richard Petty at the location. He signed posters, tiny models of his old STP cars, pictures and more, according to a report by The Florida Times-Union.
Jason Nordin, director of operations for Pilot, said the location, which took five months to build, is a “great showcase” store. The company is testing new concepts, including a frozen yogurt bar and home-style food offerings in a more spacious setting with indoor and outdoor seating.
Propel Fuels is bringing locally produced, low carbon fuels to drivers in Fresno, Calif., through its Clean Mobility Center. The station, located at 4994 E. Ashlan Ave., will be the first in Fresno to offer E85 Flex Fuel and biodiesel, sourced from Central Valley producers, including Community Fuels in Stockton and Calgren Renewable Fuels in Pixley, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company reported.
The new station model will provide renewable fuels alongside conventional fuel options. Clean Mobility Centers also utilize green design and sustainability practices that promote cleaner transportation in the communities they serve.
Each station has free air stations for tires to increase vehicle mileage per gallon; education centers offering information on local public transit; bicycle tuning centers; recycling stations at the pump; and in the future, emerging fueling types such as natural gas and electric vehicle charging.
Propel currently operates more than 35 stations throughout California and Washington State with more than 200 stations planned for new and existing markets over the next two years.