Open & Shut: 2-7-2011

Published in CSP Daily News

The where, when and why behind recent station, store openings, closings nationwide

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- "Open & Shut" is an occasional digest of some of the many new-store openings, closures and sales taking place around the nation by convenience and gasoline retailers small, medium and large that have not otherwise been reported in CSP Daily News.

Especially on the independent operator level, this recurring feature provides a snapshot of the frequently changing retail marketplace that includes such outlets as convenience stores, gas stations, truckstops, travel centers and related locations. It also offers a glimpse into the strategies and retail philosophies behind the openings, the reasons behind the closures and the new ideas operators are trying out in the marketplace.

California

Owner Ahmed Aly closed Pine Cove Market & Gas at the end of January, said The Idyllwild Town Crier. Aly said that shortly after he took over the business in June, Riverside County Code Enforcement personnel told him that planning permits for all the businesses on the property--the market, gas station and now defunct mechanic shop--were never obtained by the landlord, Howard Friedman. Aly said that although he is willing to share the estimated $14,000 cost of obtaining the needed permits with the landlord, Friedman has refused to discuss the situation. Aly said he cannot afford to bear the burden alone. "The community will lose a convenience store and four employees will lose their jobs," Aly said.

Discount grocery store Foods Co began offering discount gasoline at a new station in central Fresno on January 26, reported KFSN-TV. The 10-pump Foods Co Fuel Center also offers other products found at most c-stores like drinks, snacks and car products.

Florida

A new Murphy Express Store with drive-thru is under construction in Pace, scheduled to open on February 14, the company said on Facebook.

The couple who owns Kellie's Minit Stop retired in early February, said The Gainesville Sun. Edna and Roy Hogue have been greeting locals and travelers at Kellie's Minit Stop in Hawthorne since 1975. Roy, 69, said they were supposed to replace their gasoline tanks with double-walled tanks last year, but he figured it would take another 10 years to make up the $170,000 expense, "so I thought it was a good time to hang it up." They dropped Texaco gasoline a year ago. Without fuel, sales of drinks, candy, live bait, cigarettes, ice cream, phone cards and other merchandise dropped 40%. The economy was already hurting business since many customers are out of work, he said. Then state and federal taxes added another $1.68 to a pack of cigarettes.

Georgia

The "out-of-gas" warning signs came down along the Jekyll Island causeway on January 28 as a new Flash Foods opened on the island, replacing the sole gasoline station that closed more than a year ago, said The Florida Times-Union. Jekyll Island closed the station and had it torn down about 15 months ago. And it was last year that the authority shut down and razed its strip shopping center where Flash Foods had run the only c-store.

Sharon Haney is back in the c-store business with Virgil's Market in Rome, said The Rome News-Tribune. The Haney family ran the market for two decades, before leasing it for a couple of years. The leasee gave up the business last summer at the shop sat vacant from September until the end of December before Haney decided to re-open it herself.

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