Short Stop Owner Acquires Four D&C Stations in Duluth

Minnesota retailer will convert locations next spring

DULUTH, Minn. -- The Virginia, Minn.-based owner of a dozen Short Stop gas stations on the Iron Range has purchased all four D&C Gas and Convenience stores in Duluth, Minn. The new owner, WNS Holding LLC, recently acquired the stations for a total of $2.2 million, according to property records cited by The Duluth News Tribune.

WNS is a holding company for C&B Warehouse Distributing, which now operates the stores, Russ Troutwine, who owns the company with his parents, told the newspaper.

The new owner is keeping all of the employees at the Duluth stores and is planning no changes except to the name, he said. The old D&C store signs still are up and will remain so for a while. But next spring, he will change them to Short Stop Convenience, said the report.

The former D&C owners, Don and Cathy Letourneau, were looking to sell and approached Troutwine about buying the stores.

"We have been acquaintances with the seller," Troutwine said. "They wanted to retire, get out and do something else. Before putting the businesses up for sale, they called us to see if we were interested."

He added, "It's a good fit for us, and they gave us a good price. The stores are all well-maintained. They're all older buildings, but everything's been kept up-to-date and clean."

He and his parents liked the in-town store locations, he told the paper. Except for one, none of their Iron Range stores are along major highways.

"So they fit in with what we're comfortable with," Troutwine said.

Along with the store purchases, C&B Warehouse Distributing also took over the Denfeld Tobacco Shop in West Duluth that the Letourneaus ran, said the News Tribune.

"We've never run a tobacco store before," Troutwine said. "We assumed the lease, which is up in the spring."

The Letourneaus had operated more D&C stations in the Twin Ports and another smoke shop, the report said, but they closed some in recent years.

For C&B Warehouse, the four Duluth stations bring its total number of gas stations to 16. C&B Warehouse also has stations in Hibbing, Brule, Mountain Iron, Eveleth, Virginia, Ely and Babbitt, Minn., the report said. Most are Clark stations; a few are Spur stations. All of the Duluth stores are Cenex stations.

Click here to view the full Duluth News Tribune report.