Horizon Cites Gas Prices, Credit-Card Fees for Bankruptcy

Additional details on travel center operator's decision to file chapter 11

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- The latest industry casualty being attributed to rising gasoline prices and credit-card fees is five-year-old Horizon Travel Plazas LLC, a gas station and convenience store chain that—as reported in CSP Daily News—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, citing soaring fuel prices as a factor. Additional details have emerged on Horizon's troubles, reported The Tennessean.

Horizon plans to shut down 11 stores and keep 14 locations open in four Southeastern states, including some stores in Tennessee, in order to pay creditors, the company's attorney, [image-nocss] Elliott Warner Jones, told the newspaper. The chain also operates in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

Horizon said it had been hurt by fuel surcharges on gasoline deliveries from distributors and other factors. Jones said rising credit-card transaction fees had added $160,000 in costs a month for the last several months.

"The fact that gas prices go up for us is not immediately reflected at what we do at the pump," Jones said. "If we are too aggressive and it moves up, we lose our business."

Franklin, Tenn.-based Horizon was founded in 2003 by James Alligood, former Mapco president and CEO, and Steve Ramer, who once held the title of vice president of marketing for Mapco. Horizon's assets are valued at $5 million to $10 million and the company has about $5 million to $7 million in liabilities, the company's attorney said.

The company owes money to several creditors, including about $230,080 to Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., in Florida and $731,006 to wholesale distributor H.T. Hackney Co. in Lenoir City, Tenn., bankruptcy records cited by the Tennessean show.

Click herefor previous CSP Daily News coverage.