Fiesta Mart Details

Arkansas Valley to focus on wholesale operations, car washes, five Fiesta Marts

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

TULSA, Okla. -- CSP Daily News, which reported last week that Arkansas Valley Petroleum Inc. sold its Fiesta Mart convenience stores to Sinclair Oil Corp., has learned some additional details about the deal.

Fiesta Mart president Duff Thompson told CSP Daily News that the company sold 14 of its 19 locations to Sinclair. "We will continue to operate the remaining five stores," he said.

"The sale of these stores was part of our owner's [Weister Smith's] succession plan. We are continuing to operate the wholesale side of our business….and focus more attention on our car wash [image-nocss] operations," he added.

Salt Lake City-based refiner-marketer Sinclair is expanding its Tulsa retail presence, rebranding several of its Tulsa area stations to its own flag, marking a return of the iconic green dinosaur to Oklahoma's second-largest market.

"We're replacing the Phillips, Shell and Valero brand with Sinclair Fuels," Larry Rogers, general manager of retail marketing with Sinclair Marketing Inc., told The Journal Record last week. "We haven't had a strong brand presence in Tulsa for many years. I'm told 20 to 30 years."

He added, "The Sinclair brand has been growing rapidly throughout the state of Oklahoma. This is in direct correlation to our refinery expansion."

Sinclair, which last year started a $1 billion expansion of its Tulsa refinery, intends to continue operating the Fiesta Mart stores, supplying them with Sinclair-branded gasoline produced at the Arkansas River refinery.

Rogers said Sinclair would soon begin a marketing campaign to celebrate the large-scale return of Dino, the green brontosaurus that has adorned Sinclair stations and billboards since the 1930s. "You will see television advertising here in the next week or two," he told the paper. "We have about 80 Sinclair-branded locations in and around the outskirts and rural areas."

Adding these 14 c-stores brings the total number of Oklahoma stations retailing Sinclair gasoline to 261, said the report. Rogers expects this to grow both organically and through acquisition as the refinery enhancements are completed.

"This was a great opportunity for us," he added. "The future depends on how we do with this acquisition and what presents itself in the future."

Sinclair now sells its branded gasoline at more than 2,600 stations in 21 states.

Financial details of the transaction, completed in February, were not disclosed, said an earlier report in The Tulsa Business Journal.

Among the stores sold to Sinclair was the Fiesta Mart auto/truck plaza on I-44 in Catoosa, Okla., as well as three McDonald's cobranded sites in Oklahoma. Sinclair Oil will retain the Fiesta Mart name.

The conversion of the stores to the Sinclair brand should be completed by the second week in March, Thompson told the newspaper. The move was a perfect fit based on the corporate values shared by Sinclair and Arkansas Valley Petroleum, such as "integrity in the conduct of business" and the "value of the individual employee," he said.

Tulsa, Okla.-based Arkansas Valley has been a wholesale fuel distributor for 36 years and a Sinclair distributor for more than 15 years. In 2007, Arkansas Valley Petroleum and its sister company, AVP Metro Petroleum, sold more than 100 million gallons of fuel between its wholesale customers and Fiesta Mart operations, with sales in excess of $250 million. In addition to operating the stores, AVP Metro supplies more than 100 independent retailers in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas and hauls about 95% of its fuel sales through its AVP Metro Transportation and Bulk Plant facility in west Tulsa.

Sinclair markets fuel in 21 states and supplies fuel to more than 2,600 company- and distributor-operated stations.