The convenience top 101

#75

Blarney Castle Oil Co./EZ Mart

Headquarters:Bear Lake, Mich
No. of Stores:98
Avg. Store Size:2,500-4,000 sq. ft.
States of Operation:Michigan

This family-run oil company celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2013 in the headquarters it has called home since 1933.

And family runs through Blarney’s blood. Founder Dennis E. McCarthy remained active in the business until his death in November 2012 at age 94. And his sons and grandsons continue to lead the business and its more than 800 employees.

Anchored in fuel distribution, the company carries many flags, including BP, Clark, and Marathon, Shell and Mobil fuels, with Mobil joining the lineup in 2012.

On the retail front, the company's EZ Mart convenience stores are spread throughout northern Michigan. About 80 of the chain's stores are branded Esparto, while some units and kiosks remain under the fuel brand name. Five sites offer a car wash, and two locations are tobacco shops that don't sell fuel.

The big news for 2014 is technology. The company is deploying a $1.5-million POS scanning, with 90 installations completed by early 2014 and the remainder due for completion by mid-April. The chain selected PDI's Enterprise system and began rollout in 2011. The price book will have the capability to receive downloads directly from the supplier to improve efficiency.

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