Thorntons Livin' Largo

Midwest retailer opens second Sunshine State store

LARGO, Fla. -- Thorntons Inc. opened its second convenience store in Florida early this week, the company announced on Facebook.

The retailer, which plans to open between 15 and 20 locations in the Sunshine State over the next three years, opened its first Florida store in early December in Clearwater (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage, including a slideshow of the Clearwater location).

"Our goal is to have six stores open by the end of this year or early next year," John Zikias, senior vice president of supply chain and category management with Thorntons, Louisville, Ky., told The Tampa Bay Times in August.

Each store will be open 24 hours a day. The company said that it plans to hire several hundred people in the coming months.

Initially, the locations will offer three grades of gasoline as well as diesel fuel. The company said that E85, an environmentally friendly alternative fuel for FlexFuel vehicles, will not be immediately available until the logistics of its delivery are worked out.

In the store, visitors can pick up a wide variety of products including groceries and beverages, fresh food, baked goods, money orders, gift cards and lottery tickets.

This is the company's first foray into a new region since 2007. With this expansion, the Thorntons brand will now be available in six states: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Retail expansion by chains such as Thorntons, Wawa and 7-Eleven ranked high among CSP Daily News readers in a recent poll (click here for the "Most-Read Stories of 2012").

With more than $2.3 billion in revenue, Thorntons is the largest privately held corporation in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Based in Louisville, it operates 165 locations. Thorntons distributes its petroleum products through its wholly owned Thornton Transportation Co. and operates a river bulk storage terminal in Louisville.