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Economy & Opportunity

Douglass Distributing aims to add five stores by year's end

SHERMAN, Texas -- Douglass Distributing Co. could add another five stores before the end of the year as the highly diversified company looks to capitalize on its liquidity while other convenience retailers face financial burdens.

"These are people who can't make the jump. It was one thing when they were buying $12,000 loads of fuel; it's another thing when they're buying $30,000 loads of fuel," CEO Bill Douglass told CSP Daily News. "They just don't have that wherewithal, whereas we're in it long enough and we're diversified" with retailing, distributing, propane, lubricants and other [image-nocss] business arms.

Thus, Douglass said he is reviewing several purchasing options.

"Because of the difficulty [of the economy] and the liquidity crisis out there, we have enormous opportunities to take on stores," he said. "We deal with 150 dealers, and in just our own dealer pool, we just took a dealer's store and we're converting it to On the Run right now."

Douglass said the state of the economy, which he anticipates will be at a standstill at least until the presidential election is decided, opens doors for some businesses, while shutting them for others.

"If you have the money, you can do a lot of business in 2008. If you don't have the money, you probably can't get it," he said. "The bankers are famous for giving you an umbrella when the sun is shining and taking it back when it's raining. Well, it's raining, and the dealers are getting wet."

So who's on the losing end?

"It's the typical small guy; he just can't get the capital," Douglass said. "And we can't be the bank [for him]. We have to conserve our capital for our commercial businesses and other things.

"My point is, right now there is a tremendous opportunity if you want to get in the retail business [and you have the money]. We'll own five more stores by yearend, but I don't know that we'll operate them."

Sherman, Texas-based Douglass Distributing owns and operates 15 Lone Star, On the Run and 7-Eleven stores in and around Dallas/Fort Worth.

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