The convenience top 101

#33

Pioneer Energy LP

Headquarters:Burlington, Ontario
No. of Stores:305
Avg. Store Size:1,000-2,500 sq. ft.

Growth and generosity are hallmarks of Pioneer Energy LP, formerly Pioneer Petroleums. The company, which has grown through acquisition of smaller, independent retailers, calls itself Ontario's largest independent petroleum retailer. All are franchises or dealer-operated, and the majority are located in Ontario. About half the sites are branded Pioneer (146 locations), while the rest of the dealer-locations are branded Esso. Murray Hogarth opened the first Pioneer station in Hamilton in 1956.

In 2011, Pioneer introduced a new brand identity and new corporate name. Its core demographic has traditionally been the older-than-50-year-old male customers. Now, the company is targeting 20- to 40-year-olds, without alienating the core demographic. To attract this younger market, new concept stores called Verve have been introduced.

Another unique differentiator: One location in Ontario features the Animazing Do-it-Yourself Dog Wash, and many sites have a car wash.

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