Seven Kansas C-Stores Shut Their Doors

Company still owes back pay

Published in CSP Daily News

PITTSBURG, Kansas -- A Pittsburg, Kansas, Gorilla X-press convenience store, along with seven others in southeastern Kansas, has closed for the second time in three months, reported The Joplin Globe.

In November, the Kansas Department of Revenue seized eight stores--most of which operate under the name Jump Start Markets--for failure to pay approximately $516,000 in collected sales taxes.

The department released the stores back to their owners just hours after seizing them after it reached a payment agreement with the owners.

On Tuesday, the doors to the Gorilla X-Press in were locked and a "closed" sign was on the door, said the report. Phones either were disconnected or were not in service at the Jump Start c-stores in Altamont and Neodesha, it added. A person who answered the phone at the Chetopa store declined to be identified but told the Globe that the store closed last Friday and was "vacant." Telephone calls to the two stores in Coffeyville were not answered during business hours and phones to both stores in Independence had been disconnected on Tuesday.

Jeannine Koranda, public information officer for the Kansas State Department of Revenue, told the newspaper that the recent closures are not the result of any current seizure or enforcement action by the department.

In November, Koranda said the state seizure by the department was a "last resort" to collect the taxes owed to the state.

The stores are owned by TAS Group LLC, which is owned by Adam McCullen of Schenectady, N.Y., and Thomas L. Cook of Ozark, Mo., according to the paper.

Bonnie Jordan, manager of the Neodesha store, said that Cook told her to leave at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. She also said vendors came to the store and removed inventory from the shelves. "We knew something was going down, we just didn't know how bad it was," Jordan, who had worked at that location for 16 years, told the Globe.

According to Jordan, the company still owes her other employees of that store, including five clerks, three weeks back pay. "He collected cash from all the stores that were still open last Monday. He claimed it was going to be for payroll. But Friday was payday and he still owes us," she said.