Kangaroo Express Adds Ballantyne's NEO E-Cigs

Marks first time brand will be sold at retail

CARY, N.C. -- The Pantry Inc. has forged an agreement with electronic cigarette provider Ballantyne Brands LLC to distribute its NEO brand of e-cigs in more than 1,250 Kangaroo Express stores. The deal between Ballantyne and The Pantry, which operates in 13 states, marks the first time that NEO is being sold through a retailer.

The Pantry and Ballantyne said the NEO brand began appearing in the Kangaroo Express stores in Dec. 2012.

"NEO was a clear choice when making a supplier decision in this category," said Jennifer Eaton, category manager at The Pantry. "As the leading convenience store operator in the southeastern U.S., we have to be certain the product we offer is of the best quality, and is at a price point that is attractive to our customers."

John Wiesehan III, Ballantyne's vice president of sales, said, "With more five years of retail experience in the electronic cigarette industry, we pride ourselves in offering our customers the best retail experience possible. Having a partner like The Pantry underscores our effort in being a brand consumers and retailers trust. Likewise, we are committed to offering quality products at an affordable price."

E-cigarettes are alternatives for traditional tobacco. Charlotte, N.C.-based Ballantyne distributes its products to thousands of retail outlets across the country. NEO and Mistic e-cigs are available in both traditional tobacco and menthol flavors. They also offer both rechargeable and nonrechargeable options.

Based in Cary, N.C., The Pantry is a leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States and one of the largest independently operated c-store chains in the country. As of Jan. 3, the company operated 1,572 stores in 13 states under select banners, including Kangaroo Express, its primary operating banner.