Circle K Rallies Retail Network for Harvey Relief

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

Circle K

SAN ANTONIO -- Texas is home to Circle K Gulf Coast, one of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s largest business units, with more than 700 convenience stores under flags such as Circle K and CST Brands Inc.’s Corner Store. The company said more than 120 of its stores were forced to close because of damage from Tropical Storm Harvey.

The company’s North American network of stores, including those operating under the Circle K brand, have launched fundraising efforts to help support employees, customers and communities affected by Harvey.

Couche-Tard and other c-store retailers have joined the many convenience-industry players providing help for the communities that have been affected. Here are more details …



As of Aug. 29, 19 of Couche-Tard’s c-stores remained closed in south Texas and 71 were closed in the Houston area.

"Our Texas team is working tirelessly to get stores reopened, fuel to the pumps, clean water for sanitation and foodservice, and shelves restocked," said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard. “I am so grateful for all of their efforts on supporting the communities, our customers and our fellow employees."

All of the company’s approximately 9,500 stores in North America will take part in raising funds for the Red Cross, Hannasch, above, said. Customers will be able to contribute while shopping at all of those locations. Couche-Tard is also donating $100,000 to the Red Cross to get immediate support to its employees and the community.

The company has also activated an internal fundraising campaign to help employees whose lives and welfare have been damaged by the storm. The campaign has been endowed with a company contribution of $150,000 and will be supported by employees across the network who want to help their Texas colleagues.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to all those displaced and suffering by this catastrophic storm,” Hannasch said. “Through the generosity of our staff, and by collaborating with the Red Cross, we want to provide relief to our impacted employees and communities."


Laredo Taco truck

Sunoco LP also has a substantial retail network in Texas under the Stripes c-store and Laredo Taco Company foodservice brands. Dallas-based Sunoco’s teams in Texas and nationwide have been working in support of the Harvey relief and recovery efforts, company spokesperson Alyson Gomez told CSP Daily News.

The company’s Laredo Taco Company and Stripes convenience stores have been providing free tacos at the emergency response center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“We worked closely with The Salvation Army to provide hot food to local officials, first responders, dispatchers, electric providers and technicians,” she said. “For the remainder of the week, the Laredo Taco Company truck operations will also be in Port Aransas, where we’ll be stationed at a local Stripes store to provide free tacos and water to residents and responders.”

The Sunoco Foundation and Energy Transfer Partners have made a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross for disaster-relief efforts.

“We also activated an employee relief hotline and we are offering assistance to all of our own team members that are facing personal losses in this tragedy,” Gomez said. “We have redeployed dozens of trucks and drivers from across the country, from as far away as the Northeast, Florida and California, to support keeping sites in fuel to support recovery efforts.”


Rutter’s Farm Stores

Rutter’s Farm Stores plans to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey by sending Rutter’s-branded bottled beverages and enabling customers to contribute through coffee purchases and in-store donations.

Through Oct. 1, Rutter’s will donate to the American Red Cross 10 cents for each cup of coffee sold in its convenience stores, up to $10,000. In addition, Rutter’s will collect coin canister donations for the Red Cross.

Rutter’s is partnering with UNFI & Martin’s Potato Chips to fill trucks with beverages, chips, personal-care products and other essential items to provide to victims of Harvey.

“Just like many others, we have been watching the news and seeing the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. Supporting fellow Americans in a time of need and working with the Red Cross to assist the victims is central to our core values,” said Derek Gaskins, chief customer officer for the York, Pa.-based retailer.


Casey's General Store

Casey’s General Stores will accept customer donations at the register to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s will match all donations received Sept. 1-15 up to $100,000. Funds will be provided to the American Red Cross to help those affected by record-setting floods that have devastated Texas and Louisiana, offering relief to thousands of people who have been forced to leave their flooded homes, losing everything they own.

“On behalf of Casey’s General Stores our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by this tragic event,” said Terry Handley, president and CEO. “It is our corporate responsibility to help those in need, and we also acknowledge our customers’ willingness to help people touched by Hurricane Harvey.”

Casey’s customers will have the ability to donate any amount up to $249.99 per transaction at the cash register of any Casey’s location. Customers may add the amount to their purchase, or donate separately if they are not making an in-store purchase.



Venezuela will offer aid to victims of Harvey through Houston-based CITGO Petroleum Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of its state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), reported the Associated Press.

Venezuela Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said President Nicolas Maduro had ordered Venezuelan officials to develop a plan to help those affected by the storm.

CITGO will provide up to $5 million in heating products to people in Houston, he said; when someone fills up their tank at a CITGO gas station, “they will be supporting the recovery,” he said.

Independent CITGO-branded retail marketers sell motor fuels through approximately 6,000 gas stations and convenience stores in 30 states.


CIOMA Fuel Relief Fund

Also, members of the California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) and the Fuel Relief Fund have sent additional fuel trucks to assist in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, because current supplies have been dangerously depleted. 

"So far, we have helped thousands of people by providing free fuel in the most devastated areas affected by Hurricane Harvey," said Ted Honcharik, founder of the Fuel Relief Fund. "Much of this would not be possible if it wasn't for the great support from the CIOMA members. A special thank you to ... SC Fuels for deploying a second truck full of fuel. Our efforts to help many more has now doubled."

The Fuel Relief Fund, official partner of the United Nations, exists to fill the gap in fuel supply during the initial phases of a disaster, during which the most urgent life-saving efforts take place. The focus is to assist affected communities and relief agencies in saving lives and alleviating suffering.

"It is important for everyone in California and around the world to know that the fuel industry is one of the first called to help when disaster strikes, such as Hurricane Harvey or wildfires here at home across our state," said Ryan Hanretty, executive director of CIOMA. "These small, family- and minority-owned businesses are engrained in their communities and truly care about their neighbors and the surrounding environment. It is no surprise that the fuel industry immediately pulls together to help families in need."