Dis-Connect-ing BP With ampm

Oil giant to roll out ampm nationwide

Published in CSP Daily News

NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- When BP acquired the Atlantic Richfield Co. seven years ago, some industry observers tolled the death knell for ARCO's flagship ampm convenience store chain. Predictions of such a demise were premature.

While BP would launch the progressive BP Connect that fuses a robust fresh foodservice program at the store with an environmentally conscious forecourt, CSP Daily News has learned that the petroleum giant will make ampm its national brand.

While details remain sketchy, going forward, BP will look to build sites [image-nocss] with the BP flag, Amoco fuels and the ampm c-store.

When you see new convenience stores in the future, you'll see ampm, BP spokesperson Valerie Corr said Thursday. All BP Connect stores will become ampm stores over time. ampm is a good brand and will have a lot of success. It definitely meets the needs of our franchisees and consumers and is already a well-known brand.

With more than 900 ampm locations on the West Coast, BP is testing the brand in several markets east of the Rockies, most recently announcing launches in Chicago, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and parts of Florida. In the past 48 hours, the company has announced forays of its ampm concept in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. In the former, BP is selling 34 existing BP-branded sites through Chicago-based NRC Realty Advisors LLC to become franchise sites and be rebranded ampm.

In addition to the ampm franchises, BP is offering seven other Pittsburgh area sites as dealer-owned and -operated BP-branded stations that include buildings, fixtures and real property and eight other properties for sale for other commercial use.

As for Indianapolis, the company says of the 29 sites it is selling as franchise stores, 20 will soon be rebranded to ampm, while the other nine will be converted to ampm at a later date.

While Corr did not have a timeline for the nationwide branding efforts, the company's moves won applause from at least one c-store consultant. It makes sense because they have never been able to make BP Connect work because it's foodservice offering takes so much training and is difficult to execute, said Steve Montgomery, president of Lake Forest, Ill.-based b2b Solutions LLC.

"The ARCO ampm concept is much easier to execute.ARCO was known as inexpensive gas, inexpensive food, but has been moving their offer more upscale over a number of years.That being said, it still does not require the level of effort to execute that Wild Bean Cafe does," he added.The ampm foodservice offering is a good one, and I think it will be easier to execute on a national level."

Click here to view exterior and interior ampm photos.