Ranking the Top 40 C-Store Chains: A Year-End Review

By 
Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

CHICAGO -- 2017 has been a dramatic year of significant acquisitions in the convenience-store industry. From 7-Eleven’s purchase of much of Sunoco’s convenience-store portfolio and Alimentation Couche-Tard's coup in acquiring Holiday Stationstores, CSP has seen some significant changes to its annual Top 202 ranking of the largest c-store chains in the United States.

Call it the year of the hardcore convenience retailer, when the master limited partnerships that dominated headlines of years past stepped aside for well-known c-store brands to make some big moves. The end result: game-changing consolidation. 

“There were a half-a-dozen really big players before,” said Dennis Ruben, executive managing director of NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC, Chicago. “Now you’re down to 7-Eleven and Couche-Tard [being] the two big dogs on the block right now."

With all the change to the industry landscape, the editors of CSP set out to update the Top 40 largest chains in the industry, showing what’s new since CSP published its Top 202 C-Store Ranking in January ...

Note: Some deals cited on the following slides are not yet closed. 

1. 7-Eleven Inc.

Chain: 7-Eleven

Number of Stores: 10,000

November 2017 Ranking: No. 1

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 1

Headquarters: Irving, Texas

What’s New: When it closes this year, 7-Eleven’s more than $3.3 billion acquisition of 1,100 company-operated c-stores in Texas, New York, Florida and other states from Sunoco LP will bring it across the finish line of 10,000 c-stores before its 2019 goal. The deal is the company’s largest acquisition ever, taking advantage of Sunoco’s shift in focus to wholesale fuel.

In Texas, the deal includes the Stripes c-store and Laredo Taco Company foodservice brand that Sunoco gained from its $1.9 billion purchase of Susser Holdings Corp., Corpus Christi, Texas, in 2015.

7-Eleven's Tokyo-based parent, Seven & i Holdings, sees more room for expansion in the United States and even believes that it could support as many as 20,000 7-Eleven c-stores by 2027.

  • Click here to view 7-Eleven’s complete Top 202 profile.

2. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.

Chain: Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (Circle K, Holiday, Corner Store)

Number of Stores: 7,772

November 2017 Ranking: No. 2

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 2

Headquarters: Laval, Quebec

What’s New: Pulling off the second-largest c-store acquisition of 2017, Couche-Tard in July acquired Holiday Cos., Bloomington, Minn., and its 522 stores spanning 10 states from Michigan to Alaska. The deal also included a food commissary and a fuel terminal. Holiday had 374 company-operated stores and 148 franchised stores, adding six U.S. states to the Couche-Tard’s Circle K network, bringing its total to 48. Couche-Tard remains one of the industry’s most active consolidators and retains a solid hold on the No. 2 rank behind 7-Eleven in CSP’s Top 202.

The chain is also growing through new-builds. This past fall, Circle K’s 481-store Southeast business unit opened the network’s largest location, spanning 8,500 square feet, in Savannah, Ga.

  • Click here to view Couche-Tard’s complete Top 202 profile.

3. Marathon Petroleum Corp.

Chain: Speedway

Number of Stores: 2,730

November 2017 Ranking: No. 3

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 3

Headquarters: Findlay, Ohio

What’s New: After a strategic review prompted by the dissatisfaction of a group of activist investors, Marathon Petroleum decided not to spin off or sell its Enon, Ohio-based Speedway retail network consisting of more than 2,700 locations. Following the review, which took nine months, the company decided that Speedway is more valuable as part of an integrated refining and marketing company and that it would lose substantial synergies of that integration.

Ahead of the decision, Marathon Petroleum reorganized its leadership, naming Donald Templin, president of the general partner of MPLX LP, the master limited partner (MLP) formed in 2012 to own, operate, develop and acquire midstream energy infrastructure assets for Marathon, as president. Chairman, President and CEO Gary Heminger retained the titles of chairman and CEO.

  • Click here to view Marathon Petroleum's complete Top 202 profile.

4. Casey’s General Stores Inc.

Chain: Casey’s

Number of Stores: 1,980

November 2017 Ranking: No. 4

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 4

Headquarters: Ankeny, Iowa

What’s New: Casey’s has ramped up online ordering and its mobile app, and it is looking at driving digital engagement.

The opening of Casey’s Terre Haute, Ind., distribution center, its second, has gone well, allowing the chain to expand farther to the east. The chain has a third distribution center in its five-year plan and is considering possible locations to build. Those areas include Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, or Arkansas, or farther south or east.

The retailer is also working on a loyalty program. Although it has a successful partnership with Hy-Vee, it is driven by the grocer, and Casey’s doesn’t have one that it runs itself.

  • Click here to view Casey’s complete Top 202 profile.

5. Murphy USA Inc.

Chain: Murphy USA, Murphy Express

Number of Stores: 1,423

November 2017 Ranking: No. 5

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 5

Headquarters: El Dorado, Ark.

What’s New: Murphy USA spent much of 2017 improving upon its current portfolio of stores, with the company opening up five retail locations in the second quarter, not including 12 raze-and-rebuilds. Continuing that activity into the third quarter, the company reported a running total of 1,423 stores. Executives also touted the company's new center-store focus, resetting beverage, kiosk nontobacco and nonbeverage items in a move they called “long overdue.”

  • Click here to view Murphy USA’s complete Top 202 profile.

6. GPM Investments LLC

Chain: Fas Mart, Shore Stop, Scotchman, Admiral, BreadBox, Young’s, Li’l Cricket, Next Door Store, Village Pantry, Apple Market, Jiffi Stop

Number of Stores: 1,114

November 2017 Ranking: No. 6

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 7

Headquarters: Richmond, Va.

What’s New: In July, GPM acquired seven Jiffy Stop locations in Missouri from Mid-Missouri Oil Co., Kaiser, Mo., further developing its portfolio in the Midwest. In April, it took ownership of 92 Roadrunner convenience stores with fuel sales in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia operated by Mountain Empire Oil Co., Johnson City, Tenn., to enhance its portfolio in the Southeast.

These transactions were just the latest in a long string of deals over the past few years that has given this company the reputation of being one of the most aggressive acquisition engines in the c-store industry.

  • Click here to view GPM’s complete Top 202 profile.

7. BP America Inc.

Chain: ampm

Number of Stores: 950

November 2017 Ranking: No. 7

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 8

Headquarters: LaPalma, Calif.

What’s New: Though remaining relatively stable in its U.S. c-store count for 2017, executives overseeing BP’s global business said this spring that they intend to generate cash flow by expanding a group of fuel stations with high-end convenience stores, while at the same time modernizing existing refining plants. In addition to its current c-store markets, the company said that BP’s c-store model could be expanded to markets such as Mexico, Indonesia, China and India.

BP made a major announcement in 2017 with the reintroduction of the Amoco fuel brand, which it will offer BP marketers as a complementary alternative in cities with additional growth opportunities. BP retired the Amoco brand in 1998 after its merger with Amoco.

  • Click here to view BP’s complete Top 202 profile.

8. Kroger Co. Convenience Division

Chain: Kwik Shop, Loaf ‘N Jug, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb, Turkey Hill Minit Markets

Number of Stores: 782

November 2017 Ranking: No. 8

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 10

Headquarters: Cincinnati

What’s New: Kroger intends to explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, for about 800 c-stores in 18 states as it launches Restock Kroger, an initiative that the grocer hopes will help it compete against Amazon’s Whole Foods. In 2016, the c-stores accounted for 4% of Kroger’s total sales.

  • Click here to view Kroger Convenience Division’s complete Top 202 profile.

9. Pilot Flying J

Chain: Pilot Travel Centers, Flying J Travel Centers

Number of Stores: 767

November 2017 Ranking: No. 9

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 12

Headquarters: Knoxville, Tenn.

What’s New: In addition to an ongoing initiative to upgrade its facilities, its foodservice program and its technology infrastructure, Pilot Flying J has announced a significant minority investment by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. The Omaha, Neb.-based conglomerate acquired a 38.6% equity stake in the Pilot Flying J chain of travel centers, with the Haslam family continuing to hold a majority interest until 2023.

  • Click here to view Pilot Flying J’s complete Top 202 profile.

10. Chevron Corp.

Chain: ExtraMile

Number of Stores: 766

November 2017 Ranking: No. 10

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 9

Headquarters: San Ramon, Calif.

What’s New: In a first for Chevron USA Inc., the oil company in September partnered with a c-store retailer, Jackson Oil Co., Meridian, Idaho, and its Jacksons Food Stores chain, to grow Chevron’s ExtraMile c-store brand across the Western United States. The chains created a joint company to oversee the expansion. ExtraMile currently includes more than 700 c-stores in California, Oregon and Washington.

The new company, ExtraMile Convenience Stores LLC, will be co-owned by Chevron and Jackson Oil. It will extend the brand farther into areas of the existing footprint, as well as four more states. Jacksons Food Stores currently operates more than 230 c-store sites in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oregon and Washington. The new company aims to double the number of ExtraMile sites by 2027.

  • Click here to view Chevron’s complete Top 202 profile.

11. Wawa Inc.

Wawa

Chain: Wawa

Number of Stores: 760

November 2017 Ranking: No. 11

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 13

Headquarters: Wawa, Pa.

What’s New: Wawa operates c-stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. While building new stores in its core markets in the mid-Atlantic, the chain has significantly pushed into the Sunshine State more recently. The company opened its first Florida location in 2012. It celebrated the opening of its 100th store in Florida in late 2016. It has opened more than 115 stores in the state, and throughout 2017, it plans to open 11 stores in Palm Beach and Broward counties and another 10 to 12 in 2018.

In June, the company announced that it would enter the Washington, D.C., market. Slated to open in December, Wawa’s first Washington, D.C., store will be its largest location at 9,200 square feet.

  • Click here to view Wawa’s complete Top 202 profile.

12. QuikTrip Corp.

Chain: QuikTrip

Number of Stores: 759

November 2017 Ranking: No. 12

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 11

Headquarters: Tulsa, Okla.

What’s New: QuikTrip is expanding into San Antonio and Austin, Texas—new markets for the retailer. It will begin construction this winter on the first of more than 100 c-stores scheduled for the initial launch. The company said it expects to open the first stores in each city during summer 2018.

  • Click here to view QuikTrip’s complete Top 202 profile.

13. Cumberland Farms

Chain: Cumberland Farms

Number of Stores: 600

November 2017 Ranking: No. 13

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 14

Headquarters: Westborough, Mass.

What’s New: Cumberland Farms opened its first “next-generation” 5,000-square-foot c-store in Titusville, Fla., in August, featuring its newest design, equipment and food offerings as the company continues its aggressive remodeling and expansion initiatives in the Sunshine State. It said that it expects to open many additional stores with this design over the next year. The design enhances customer convenience and offers an expanded menu that the company said rivals fast-casual restaurants.

The chain also opened new c-stores in Fort Pierce, Cocoa and Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Hyannis, Mass.; and White River Junction, Vt.

CSP named Cumberland Farms CEO Ari Haseotes as its 2017 Retail Leader of the Year.

  • Click here to view Cumberland Farms’ complete Top 202 profile.

14. Sheetz Inc.

Chain: Sheetz

Number of Stores: 564

November 2017 Ranking: No. 14

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 17

Headquarters: Altoona, Pa.

What’s New: Known for new builds and even opening stores without gasoline, Sheetz continued its methodical, organic growth plan in 2017. The chain opened a 24/7 cafe-themed unit in Charlottesville, Va., near the University of Virginia, marking the latest of the retailer’s stores without gasoline.

At the same time, the chain continues to evolve its foodservice, beverage and loyalty programs. It rolled out 15 new meal options aimed toward children as part of its made-to-order Kidz Mealz platform, with options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is segmented into two categories, LiveWell and Classic Kidz.

It also unveiled a new loyalty program that offers greater customized rewards. Members can now earn points for every transaction. Customers who purchase a Sheetz reward card and register online for the new loyalty program automatically earn three cents-per-gallon-off gasoline every day.

  • Click here to view Sheetz’s complete Top 202 profile.

15. Kwik Trip Inc.

Chain: Kwik Trip, Kwik Star

Number of Stores: 560

November 2017 Ranking: No. 15

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 15

Headquarters: La Crosse, Wis.

What’s New: Known more for organic growth and its new-to-industry stores, Kwik Trip jumped outside its comfort zone by acquiring Middleton, Wis.-based PDQ Food Stores Inc. and its 34 company-operated sites in Southeastern Wisconsin. Kwik Trip planned to operate the acquired stores under the existing PDQ banner until remodels and reimaging are completed in mid-2018. The company touted the similarities in store format and company culture as key reasons for the acquisition.

  • Click here to view Kwik Trip’s complete Top 202 profile.

16. Andeavor

Chain: Giant, SuperAmerica, Howdy’s

Number of Stores: 550

November 2017 Ranking: No. 16

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 16 (formerly Western Refining)

Headquarters: San Antonio

What’s New: On Aug. 1, 2017, the name Andeavor came onto the petroleum refining and c-store retailing landscape as the result of the acquisition activities of San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp. In 2016, it acquired El Paso, Texas-based Western Refining, which included nearly 550 gas stations and c-stores under the Giant, Howdy’s and SuperAmerica brands. Most recently in 2017, Andeavor purchased Flyers Energy, Auburn, Calif., and its 39 c-store and gas-station locations.

In a separate move, Andeavor merged its master limited partnerships (MLPs), Andeavor Logistics and Western Refining Logistics.

  • Click here to view Andeavor’s complete Top 202 profile.

17. TravelCenters of America LLC

Chain: TravelCenters of America, Petro Stopping Center, Minit Mart

Number of Stores: 495

November 2017 Ranking: No. 17

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 19

Headquarters: Westlake, Ohio

What’s New: TravelCenters of America opened a new Petro Stopping Center location in Columbia, S.C., in March 2017. The site includes the first Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant inside a travel-center site. The location also features a 16-lane bowling alley and a gaming center for children and families.

The chain has expanded its Godfather's Pizza presence by 26 locations in the past two years and implemented online ordering at all Godfather's Pizza locations in 2017. It also introduced Pizza Hut Pizza By The Slice in four Minit Mart c-stores this past year. And it opened its first Fazoli's restaurant in late 2017.

The company completed store remodeling projects at 56 Minit Marts and 24 TA or Petro locations in 2016 and 2017. It also completed the rollout of its Cool Cup Fountain program to all locations and introduced a new foam fountain cup that keeps drinks cooler.

  • Click here to view TravelCenters of America’s complete Top 202 profile.

18. RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.

Chain: RaceTrac

Number of Stores: 455

November 2017 Ranking: No. 18

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 20

Headquarters: Atlanta

What’s New: While continuing to develop and promote its bakery and roller-grill programs in 2017, RaceTrac forged ahead with its methodical new-build program, having opened 25 more stores since CSP’s last tally in the beginning of 2017. Since then, a significant announcement came in the departure of Allison Moran as the company’s CEO. At the time of the announcement this past summer, the company said current executives would be taking over her responsibilities.

  • Click here to view RaceTrac’s complete Top 202 profile.

19. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores

Chain: Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores

Number of Stores: 438

November 2017 Ranking: No. 19

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 22

Headquarters: Oklahoma City

What’s New: Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores opened a new travel stop in Macon, Ga., a 12,000-square-foot facility featuring Subway, Chester’s Chicken and Godfather’s Pizza Express restaurants, as well as seven showers, 119 truck parking spaces and a Love’s Truck Tire Care center.

It also debuted a new travel stop in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, a 10,000-square-foot facility also featuring similar foodservice options.

Other new travel-stop or travel-center locations opening in 2017 included Moore Haven, Fla., Hagerstown, Md., Mebane, N.C., Newton, N.C., and Talleysville, Va.—the latter a 24/7 facility featuring an Arby’s restaurant, seven showers, 86 truck parking spaces, a game room, public laundry facilities, Love’s Truck Tire Care center and more.

  • Click here to view Love’s complete Top 202 profile.

20. Kum & Go LLC

Chain: Kum & Go

Number of Stores: 413

November 2017 Ranking: No. 20

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 21

Headquarters: West Des Moines, Iowa

What’s New: One of the many regional powerhouses of the industry, Kum & Go continued its organic, new-build strategy into 2017. Much of what the company is building springs from a prototype it introduced in late 2016. This Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified design uses the chain's Marketplace design that features the Go Fresh Market open-kitchen layout, clear aisles, seating inside with heated patio seating outside and complimentary Wi-Fi and charging stations. At 6,200 square feet, the stores are significantly larger than the previous 5,000-square-foot design.

  • Click here to view Kum & Go’s complete Top 202 profile.

21. Sunshine Gasoline Distributors

Chain: Food Mart, Food Center

Number of Stores: 395

November 2017 Ranking: No. 21

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 22

Headquarters: Doral, Fla.

What’s New: As a fuel wholesaler representing BP, Chevron, CITGO, Shell and Texaco brands, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors’ last major acquisition was for 15 gas stations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in Florida in 2015, paying a reported $23.85 million. Sunshine owns and operates 295 stores, leases 60 stores to other operators and has an additional 165 jobber clients. Most of the c-stores are unbranded, with the chain also operating car washes at 85 locations.

  • Click here to view Sunshine Gasoline’s complete Top 202 profile.

22. United Refining Co.

Chain: Kwik Fill, Red Apple, Country Fair

Number of Stores: 375

November 2017 Ranking: No. 22

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 24

Headquarters: Warren, Pa.

What’s New: United Refining has spent the past few years opening single, new-to-industry locations periodically in its operating territory, which includes northern and central Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and western New York state. The company began a mobile-couponing program in 2016 and runs 292 Kwik Fill and Red Apple stores, with another 71 stores operating as Country Fair under a separate division within the company.

  • Click here to view United Refining’s complete Top 202 profile.

23. United Pacific

Chain: United Mart, My Goods Market

Number of Stores: 350

November 2017 Ranking: No. 23

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 25

Headquarters: Long Beach, Calif.

What’s New: Growing by a modest 21 stores since CSP’s last count in the beginning of the year, United Pacific spent most of 2017 on operational improvements to merchandise mix and in-store programs. The company also moved its headquarters from Gardena, Calif., to Long Beach, Calif.

  • Click here to view United Pacific’s complete Top 202 profile.

24. Compania de Petroleos de Chile COPEC SA (COPEC)

Chain: Mapco Express, Mapco Mart, East Coast, Fast Food and Fuel, Favorite Markets, Delta Express and Discount Food Mart

Number of Stores: 348

November 2017 Ranking: No. 24

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 26

Headquarters: Santiago, Chile

What’s New: Copec Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Chilean company COPEC, purchased the retail assets of Delek U.S. Holdings Inc. in Aug. 2016 for $535 million and its Mapco c-store chain’s estimated cash on hand and working capital adjustment, totaling approximately $16.3 million. The deal marks the company’s first foray into the United States.

  • Click here to view COPEC’s complete Top 202 profile.

25. Stewart’s Shops Corp.

Chain: Stewart’s Shops

Number of Stores: 337

November 2017 Ranking: No. 25

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 28

Headquarters: Ballston Spa, N.Y.

What’s New: This past summer, Stewart’s Shops had 11 convenience stores under construction in six counties in New York; 10 of those stores were raze-and-rebuilds and one was a new location.

Executives said the company was investing $50 million in 2017, with new builds, remodels and other shop improvements that will include a wider variety of food and beverage options.

  • Click here to view Stewart’s Shops’ complete Top 202 profile.

26. Allsup’s Convenience Stores Inc.

Chain: Allsup’s

Number of Stores: 320

November 2017 Ranking: No. 26

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 28

Headquarters: Clovis, N.M.

What’s New: Typically a chain to fly under the radar, Allsup’s is one of the largest regional c-store chains in the country, recognized throughout New Mexico and West Texas. Known for its varied assortment of foodservice offers, the retailer in early 2017 committed to using Houston-based Cardtronics as its ATM provider.

  • Click here to view Allsup’s complete Top 202 profile.

27. Delek U.S. Holdings Inc.

Chain: 7-Eleven/Alon

Number of Stores: 307

November 2017 Ranking: No. 27

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 30

Headquarters: Brentwood, Tenn.

What’s New: Seven months after selling its own approximately 350-unit Mapco retail network to COPEC, a Chilean petroleum and c-store company, Delek U.S. Holdings Inc. in July took full ownership of refiner-marketer Alon USA Energy Inc. The new Delek U.S. is a diversified downstream energy company with assets in petroleum refining, renewable fuels, asphalt, logistics, wholesale marketing operations and c-store retailing. The refining system consists of four locations and an integrated retail platform that includes approximately 300 c-stores serving Central and West Texas and New Mexico.

The retail business Delek U.S. acquired with Alon USA, essentially the former Alon Brands Inc., is the largest 7-Eleven licensee in the United States and operates approximately 300 c-stores that market motor fuels in Central and West Texas and New Mexico.

  • Click here to view Delek’s U.S. complete Top 202 profile (the former Alon Brands Inc. profile).

28. Maverik Inc.

Chain: Maverik

Number of Stores: 300

November 2017 Ranking: No. 28

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 30

Headquarters: Salt Lake City

What’s New: Maverik’s newest store format emphasizes the brand’s positioning around “Adventure's First Stop,” with an emphasis on bringing the outdoors inside. Canoes hanging from its store ceilings and loyalty-club giveaways ranging from a Lamborghini to a boat all help the chain stand out. Following the brand philosophy, “Show them, don’t tell them,” the store themes are meant to showcase foodservice destinations such as Bonfire Grill. Looking to bring its foodservice offer up a notch and to also catch the wave of convenience retailers offering food made on-site, it is implementing made-to-order foodservice offerings, with an emphasis on customizable wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas in 40 stores and freshly made street tacos in 12 others.

  • Click here to view Maverik’s complete Top 202 profile.

29. E-Z Mart Inc.

Chain: E-Z Mart

Number of Stores: 283

November 2017 Ranking: No. 29

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 31

Headquarters: Texarkana, Texas

What’s New: E-Z Mart is constantly striving to enhance the quality of life for its employees; improve facilities, products and customer service levels; and give back to the communities in which it operates by supporting local, regional and national charities and schools. At a recent business forum in Texarkana, Texas, E-Z Mart officials said the 47-year-old family business has grown into a $3 billion-a-year enterprise.

  • Click here to view E-Z Mart’s complete Top 202 profile.

30. Anabi Oil

Chain: Food Mart

Number of Stores: 275

November 2017 Ranking: No. 30

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 32

Headquarters: Upland, Calif.

What’s New: From its inception in 1989, the family-owned Anabi Oil has grown from a one-store operation to 275 stores and a large, regional Shell distributorship. Its last sizable acquisition to surface in the press was 55 locations from Las Vegas-based Rebel Oil in 2015.

  • Click here to view Anabi Oil’s complete Top 202 profile.

31. Global Partners LP

Chain: Alltown Market, Alliance Energy, Honey Farms, Xtra Mart

Number of Stores: 251

November 2017 Ranking: No. 31

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 33

Headquarters: Waltham, Mass.

What’s New: Keeping true to its word to “remain active” on the mergers-and-acquisitions front, Global Partners acquired 33 c-stores from Honey Farms Inc., Worcester, Mass., this past October. The Honey Farms assets included 11 company-operated locations with fuel and c-stores and 22 stand-alone c-stores. The purchase price of the cash transaction was about $36 million.

  • Click here to view Global Partners’ complete Top 202 profile.

32. Jackson Oil Co.

Chain: Jacksons

Number of Stores: 234

November 2017 Ranking: No. 32

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 34

Headquarters: Meridian, Idaho

What’s New: Hoping to combine its entrepreneurial spirit and c-store expertise with a major oil company’s wherewithal, Jackson Oil partnered in September with San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron USA Inc. to grow Chevron’s ExtraMile c-store brand across the Western United States. The chains created a joint company to oversee the expansion. ExtraMile currently includes more than 700 c-stores in California, Oregon and Washington. The new company, ExtraMile Convenience Stores LLC, will be co-owned by Chevron and Jackson Oil and aims to double the number of ExtraMile sites by 2027.

  • Click here to view Jackson Oil’s complete Top 202 profile.

33. CEFCO Convenience Stores

Chain: CEFCO

Number of Stores: 226

November 2017 Ranking: No. 33

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 35

Headquarters: Temple, Texas

What’s New: Following on the heels of its 2015 store-design initiative (2,000 square feet larger than its former format, with improvements in exterior colors, accents and lighting), the chain worked with a consultant to change its stores, including colors and graphics, equipment packages, restroom design and positioning, cold-vault size and position and checkout layout. It segmented its food offerings from the rest of the store, using subtle tile and color changes to help differentiate the area, adding proprietary hot and cold grab-and-go foods and expanding cold beverages to include store-brewed iced tea and iced coffee, as well as private-label frozen carbonated beverages. Most food and beverage offerings tie back to the overall fresh branding of the new design.

  • Click here to view CEFCO’s complete Top 202 profile.

34. Giant Eagle Convenience Division

Chain: GetGo

Number of Stores: 218

November 2017 Ranking: No. 34

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 36

Headquarters: Pittsburgh

What’s New: Using its supermarket roots as a foundation, Giant Eagle developed its GetGo convenience chain and a hybrid format that’s somewhere between a grocer and a c-store with its Giant Eagle Express brand. Its c-store growth is integrated with its companywide expansion plans, which appear to be organic as opposed to acquisition-minded. GetGo relied on Giant’s supermarket knowledge to craft its foodservice program, focusing on fresh, high-quality meal solutions.

  • Click here to view Giant Eagle’s complete Top 202 profile.

35. Landmark Industries

Chain: Timewise

Number of Stores: 212

November 2017 Ranking: No. 35

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 37

Headquarters: Houston

What’s New: The past three years have been a period of steady, ground-up growth for Landmark and its Timewise chain of c-stores. The newer locations have been larger than their average 2,500- to 3,000-square-foot sites, but the chain did sell 22 locations in late 2014 to CST Brands, which ultimately sold to Couche-Tard and the Circle K chain.

  • Click here to view Landmark Industries’ complete Top 202 profile.

36. Convenient Food Mart

Chain: Convenient Food Mart

Number of Stores: 210

November 2017 Ranking: No. 36

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 38

Headquarters: Mentor, Ohio

What’s New: Arguably the chain with the most aptly named c-stores, Convenient Food Mart is a Midwestern institution that operates on a franchise system.

  • Click here to view Convenient Food Mart’s complete Top 202 profile.

37. Petroleum Wholesale LP

Chain: Sunmart, Main Street Market

Number of Stores: 210

November 2017 Ranking: No. 37

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 40

Headquarters: Woodlands, Texas

What’s New: Not one to garner headlines for its c-store growth strategies, Petroleum Wholesale continues to nurture its Sunmart convenience stores in Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Florida. In 2015, the company started a new concept it called Main Street Market in Midland-Odessa, Texas.

  • Click here to view Petroleum Wholesale’s complete Top 202 profile.

38. Meijer Gas Stations

Chain: Meijer

Number of Stores: 207

November 2017 Ranking: No. 38

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 39

Headquarters: Grand Rapids, Mich.

What’s New: Meijer is a grocer that also runs a chain of gas stations and c-stores, which are a larger format than most supermarket fuel centers and have a larger-than-average numbers of cooler doors and shelf space. The sites also offer prepared foods.

  • Click here to view Meijer Gas Stations’ complete Top 202 profile.

 

39. Thorntons Inc.

Chain: Thorntons

Number of Stores: 186

November 2017 Ranking: No. 39

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 41

Headquarters: Louisville, Ky.

What’s New: Thorntons stands as one of many strong, regional, ground-up builders within the c-store channel, honing its in-store merchandising, foodservice and loyalty offer to match the changing expectations of its customers. Its most recent foray has been into the hot Florida market, where it has been building new locations alongside the likes of chains such as Wawa Inc., Wawa, Pa., and RaceTrac Petroleum, Atlanta.

  • Click here to view Thorntons’ complete Top 202 profile.

40. United Dairy Farmers

Chain: United Dairy Farmers

Number of Stores: 179

November 2017 Ranking: No. 40

Rank at Beginning of Year: No. 42

Headquarters: Norwood, Ohio

What’s New: Dairy-based c-store chain UDF has developed a new prototype for its stores that it has rolled out in about six locations. It also is offering the U-Drive card that rolls back prices at the pump to the day's lowest price.

  • Click here to view United Dairy Farmers’ complete Top 202 profile.

Top 20 at a glance

The protagonists of this year’s mergers-and-acquisitions story were decidedly c-store retailers, with two major operators accounting for two of the biggest purchases: 7-Eleven’s 1,100-store buy from Sunoco and Circle K’s 522-store purchase of Holiday Stationstores.

Here's a look at the new Top 20 chains at a glance:

CSP will publish the 2018 edition of its Top 202 list in the June issue of CSP magazine.