INDIANAPOLIS -- Turkey Hill Minit Markets is expanding into central Indiana. The convenience store chain opened its first Indianapolis store in October and plans to add at least five more by the end of 2011, spokesperson Denise L. Clark told The Indianapolis Business Journal.
Turkey Hill--companion c-store company to the maker of Turkey Hill ice cream, milk and iced tea and a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co.--operates a dairy in Lancaster County, Pa., along with more than 250 stores, mostly in Pennsylvania.
The chain is entering one of the nation's most competitive c-store markets and a Great Lakes region with razor-thin fuel margins, Jay Ricker, chairman of Anderson-based Ricker Oil Co., told the newspaper.
"It's a crowded market," said Ricker, whose company owns more than 50 BP and ampm convenience store locations, about half of them in the Indianapolis area. (See related story in this issue of CSP Daily News.)
Ricker said more c-store chains are getting into the food business, which keeps prices on most items competitive. He said he has not been in a Turkey Hill store and was surprised the company is taking such a big geographic jump away from Pennsylvania, where it has 245 stores. Turkey Hill also has 11 stores in Ohio, said the report, all opened since 2009.
The largest player in the Indianapolis market is Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, a subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corp., which operates 57 convenience stores in the city and another 20 or so in surrounding areas. The company is based in Enon, Ohio.
Another big player in the Indianapolis c-store market is Village Pantry, which has more than 40 locations around town. The chain, formerly a part of locally based Marsh Supermarkets Inc., now operates as VPS Convenience Store Group and is based in Wilmington, N.C., after a spinoff from Marsh by parent company Sun Capital Partners of Florida.
Turkey Hill Minit Markets chose Indiana for its first store outside of Pennsylvania, opening in Martinsville in 2008. But the company did not open a second Indiana store until October, said the report.
Now Turkey Hill is working on a flurry of new locations, including on undeveloped property in Indianapolis, and to replace a former Pizza Hut in Carmel.
The company is scouting for three more central Indiana sites, said the Business Journal, including at least one more in Carmel, to open by the end of 2011, Clark told the paper.
Turkey Hill ice cream and beverages already are sold at local Kroger stores, but the Turkey Hill c-stores have a more extensive selection of Turkey Hill ice cream flavors. The stores also include standard c-store fare including subs, burgers, pizza and salads.
The chain will piggyback on its parent company's supply chain to offer grocery staples such as milk, bread and eggs at prices comparable to those of a full-size grocery store, John Elliott, a regional spokesperson for Kroger, told the paper.
The expansion of Turkey Hill supports Kroger's growth plans for the market, providing coverage in geographic areas that can't support a full food store, Elliott said.
The new c-stores also will tie into the Kroger fuel rewards program, added the report.