Pilot Flying J Tops Forbes List

Industry retailers well represented in ranking of America's largest private companies

NEW YORK -- For the retail petroleum and convenience store industry, Pilot Flying J, at No. 12, topped the Forbes magazine's 26th ranking of the largest privately held firms in the United States. The overall list contains 223 companies. They employ a total of 4.4 million people and account for $1.3 trillion in revenues. They sold a total of $1.34 trillion in goods and services, about $200 billion, or 13% less than a year ago.

Retailers to make the list included:

No. 12 Pilot Flying J, Knoxville, Tenn., $17 billion in revenues, 23,000 employees (2009 [image-nocss] ranking: 14). In June 2010, Pilot Travel Centers merged with Flying J to create a new company, Pilot Flying J. This new company operates more than 550 travel centers across North America. Located along interstates, the travel centers cater to both professional drivers and motorists selling gas, diesel, convenience store goods and fast food.

No. 18 Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, Oklahoma City, $12.6 billion in revenues, 6,700 employees (2009 ranking: 15). Founded in 1964 by Tom Love, Love's is headquartered in Oklahoma City and remains family owned and operated. Products and services offered by the company's 260 locations in 38 states include gas stations, c-stores, fast-food restaurants, shower rooms, trucking supplies and internet.

No. 37 QuikTrip, Tulsa, Okla., $7.3 billion in revenues, 11.236 employees (2009 ranking: 45). QuikTrip owns and operates c-stores and gasoline service stations throughout nine states in the South, Midwest and Southwest.

No. 42 Sinclair Oil, Salt Lake City, $6.8 billion in revenues, 7,000 employees (2009 ranking: 44). Formed via the consolidation of 11 small petroleum companies in 1916, present-day Sinclair Oil operates gas stations, c-stores, hotels, a ski resort and a cattle ranch.

No. 44 Cumberland Farms, Framingham, Mass., $6.57 billion in revenues, 6,000 employees (2009 ranking: 34). Founded in 1938 and still owned by the Haseotes family, Cumberland Farms owns and operates c-stores and gas stations throughout New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic States and Florida under the Cumberland Farms, Exxon and Gulf names. Its Gulf Oil arm sells gasoline togas stations.

No. 50 Wawa, Wawa, Pa., $5.89 billion in revenues, 16,289 employees (2009 ranking: 55). Wawa's namesake is a Native American word for the Canada Goose in flight, which is also incorporated into the company's logo. Wawa owns and operates convenience stores and gasoline stations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. These stores offer a fresh food selection under the Wawa brand including deli products, wraps, breakfast sandwiches, bakery products, fresh produce and dairy products. The first Wawa store opened in April 1964 in Folsom, Pa.

No. 63 RaceTrac Petroleum, Atlanta, $4.7 billion in revenues, 4,880 employees (2009 ranking: 50). Drivers in the southeastern United States can fill up on fuel and snacks at RaceTrac Petroleum outlets. In 1979, 45 years after Carl Bolch Sr. opened his first independent gas station in St. Louis, the RaceTrac Petroleum brand was born. Today the company operatesmore than550 c-stores and gas stations in 12 states.

No. 73 Mansfield Oil, Gainesville, Ga., $4.2 billion in revenues, 350 employees (2009 ranking: 83). Mansfield Oil supplies and delivers fuel throughout the continental United States. Through a network of refiners, suppliers, terminals and carriers, the company provides a single-source supply of gasoline, biofuels and other alternative fuel products to its commercial, industrial and retail customers.

No. 78 Red Apple Group, New York, $4.02 billion in revenues, 7,600 employees (2009 ranking: 100). John A. Catsimatidis managed his cousin's grocery store while attending New York University, and in 1971 bought a small grocery store on Manhattan's Upper West Side and named it Red Apple. This one store became the cornerstone of Catsimatidis' empire. He now owns 100% of Gristede's Supermarkets and all the other divisions making up the Red Apple Group. Subsidiary United Refining, which processes crude oil, distributes fuel to its Country Fair, Red Apple Food Marts and Kwik Fill gas stations and c-stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Red Apple Group also has real-estate holdings in New York, New Jersey and Florida; an aircraft leasing business; and publishes the Hellenic Times newspaper.

No. 79 Sheetz, Altoona, Pa., $4.01 billion in revenues, 12,880 employees (2009 ranking: 130). Sheetz operates more than 376 c-stores throughout six states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. In its stores, Sheetz sells everything from made-to-order salads to freshly baked goods to discount cigarettes. Founded by Bob Sheetz in 1953, the company remains family owned and operated.

No. 87 Colonial Group, Savannah, Ga., $3.8 billion in revenues, 900 employees (2009 ranking: 124). Colonial Group owns and operates a collection of shipping and oil and gas businesses throughout the Southeastern United States. The company provides liquid and dry bulk storage facilities for bulk chemicals, motor fuels, industrial fuel oil and retail gas; ship bunkering; commercial shipping; and tug and barge services. Colonial Group also operates Enmark gas stations and c-stores.

No. 132 Holiday Cos., Bloomington, Minn., $3 billion in revenues, 4,600 employees (2009 ranking: 245). Holiday Companies (also known as Holiday Stationstores) has a presence in 10 states, owningmore than300 gasoline and convenience stores throughout the northern U.S. and franchisingmore than100 Holiday Stationstores. Company-owned stores are located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and Alaska while franchised stores are located in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Holiday Cos. was started by the two Erickson brothers in 1928, and continues to be family owned. Holiday Cos. also has real-estate holdings and owns a technology company, Cellresin Technologies.

No. 192 Truman Arnold Cos., Texarkana, Texas, $2.3 billion in revenues, 450 employees (2009 ranking: NA). Truman Arnold Companies (TAC) is a petroleum marketer and aviation services provider with product terminals in Little Rock, Arkansas and Caddo Mills, Texas. The TAC Energy division sells approximately one billion gallons of refined product annually in 48 states. Its TAC Air unit operates12 aviation fixed base operations (fueling, hanger and transportation services) in nine states. Other corporate interests include real estate, ranching and banking.Other industry-related, close competitive-channel and supplier players included Mars (No. 5), Publix (8), C&S Wholesale Grocers (10), US Foodservice (11), HE Butt (13), Meijer (15), Aramark (19), Reyes Holdings (20), TransMontaigne (22), Performance Food Group (23), First Data (26) Giant Eagle (29), Southern Wine & Spirits (30), Gordon Food Service (39), Hy-Vee (41), Wegmans (55), Save Mart (58), WinCo Foods (65), HT Hackney (82), Roundy's Supermarkets (88), Eby-Brown (91), Schwan Foods (94), Stater Bros (97), Dot Foods (108), Golub (112), Raley's (118), Schreiber Foods (124), Grocery Supply (128), Alex Lee (129), E&J Gallo Winery (130), Rich Products (137), Houchens Industries (160), Services Group of America (162), Hostess Brands (167), Burger King (170), Schnuck Markets (174), Smart & Final (177), Bi-Lo Holdings (189), Brookshire Grocery (193), Young's Market (208) and ShopKo Stores (223).Click hereto view the complete list.