in brief

McLane: K&G, Brewer Oil re-up
K & G Stores
(Lone Tree, CO) has extended its service agreement withMcLane Co. Inc. (www.mclaneco.com).Michael Hayes, K & G vice president of sales and operations, said his company'srelationship with McLane has helped grow the business with good merchandisingand solid overall service. K & G has been a marketing leader with its Shelland Conoco convenience stores, and is planning some innovative programs forthis year. Brewer Oil Co. (Albuquerque, NM) also extended its deal with McLane,allowing the company to be its primary distributor through 2010. Brewer Oil,one of the oldest and most established jobbers in New Mexico, operates underthe Shell and Chevron brands.

Kwik Trip to build commissary
Kwik Trip

(La Crosse, WI) plans to build a $14 million commissary nextto its La Crosse distribution center that will result in about 50 new jobs.The chain hopes to start construction this summer and finish by spring 2007.The commissary is expected to have 65,000 to 70,000 sq. ft. of space, comparedwith 5,500 sq. ft. at the chain's existing commissary. Having a much largercommissary will allow the company to make more of its own food items and expandits selection.

Gift cards brighten holiday for Valero
Valero Energy Corp. (San Antonio, TX) has announced that the AmericanExpressGift Card, offered for six weeks in 635 of the company's Valero and DiamondShamrock Corner Stores, accounted for about 55% of the stores' total third-partygift sales. Launching the program just in time for the holidays, the Valerosites are among the first convenience stores to offer the gift card. Participatingstores also carry the Valero gift card as well as cards for a variety of retailers,restaurants, airlines and entertainment venues, including Bass Pro Shops, Blockbuster,America West Airlines, JC Penney, The Sharper Image, Lowe's, and Dave and Buster's.

Carroll acquires BP assets
Carroll Independent Fuel Co. (www.carrollfuel.com)has acquired 70 BP retail and wholesale fuel assets in the Baltimore and Washington,D.C. region. With the addition of the BP assets, Carroll's sales will exceed300 million gallons annually of heating and motor fuels, while Carroll BrandedFuels becomes the leading distributor of branded and unbranded fuels in thegreater Baltimore region. With this transaction, Carroll will supply 70 BPbrandedretail sites—nine company-owned, dealer-operated sites and 61 units thatare dealer-owned and operated. Under terms of the agreement, all sites willremain branded BP.

Costco test marketing carwashes
Costco (Issaquah, WA) is venturing into the carwash business startingin March or April at one of its Seattle stores. The carwashes, which will cost$7.99, will include a tire shine, undercarriage washing and a full body wash,Costco chief executive Jim Sinegal told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Thisis the second time Costco will attempt to open a carwash in Seattle; the firstwas planned, but never opened, nearly three years ago.

NY campus store goes automated
All Seasons Services Inc.
(www.4allseasons.com),a provider of dining, vending and office refreshment services, has unveiledits first Shop24 automated convenience store in the U.S. on the campusof the State University of New York (SUNY) at Morrisville. Shop24 offers 24-houraccess to as many as 200 items, including anything from milk to a six-pack ofsoda to iPod download cards. Consumers are able to create a "Shopping List"from Shop24's product portfolio—all attractively displayed behind safetyglass—and purchase either with cash, ATM or credit and debit cards byentering the product code on an interactive screen. A robotic arm collects theproduct and delivers it to the 'take-out' gate all within 20 seconds. SUNY atMorrisville is the only test college in the country for the Shop24 unit andwill be surveyed on item preferences.

Closing stores for a higher good?
A Baltimore city councilwoman is pushing for legislation that would give policethe authority to temporarily close businesses— an effort rooted in anattempt to disrupt drug dealing outside of corner convenience stores operatingin residential neighborhoods. Some council members have expressed concern aboutpunishing business owners for activities of people congregating outside theirstores, but most of the council agrees with the proposed bill and communityleaders who say temporary curfews might stem the foot traffic fueling the drugtrade.

Shell inks deal with Johnson Controls
Shell (Houston, TX) has signed a five-year, multi-million dollar contractwith Johnson Controls Inc. (www.johnsoncontrols.com)to provide facilities management services at its retail gas stations. The contract—thelargest Shell's building efficiency business has ever undertaken—willstart with Johnson Controls managing facilities services at 13,000 stationsin 24 countries throughout Europe and Asia, and includes responsibility forthe maintenance of Shell's retail fuel systems, forecourt, retail facilitiesand infrastructure, as well as providing safety and security services. JohnsonControls' success will be measured using a balanced scorecard, tracking operationaleffectiveness and efficiencies.

Circle K finalizes energy-drink schedule
Circle K (Phoenix, AZ) has finalized its distribution schedule to supplyWho's Your Daddy's "King of Energy" drink to 281 locations throughout the southeasternUnited States. Expected to generate revenues in excess of $290,000, the 13,000cases will be shipped from current production runs for both the regular andsugar-free varieties of the drink. Who's Your Daddy also will provide point-of-purchasedisplays and cooler barrels for Circle K locations participating in a 2006 NASCARpromotion of "King of Energy." If sales are successful, Circle K will distributethe drink nationally.

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