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Guess Says It Is Launching C-Store ‘Country Clubs’

Mysterious emerging retailer aiming at ‘ultra-luxury’ customers

Editor’s Note: The Guess Corp. announced its intention in July to become a major player in the convenience-store industry. Several sources have questioned the legitimacy of the company to CSP Daily News, as previously reported. We continue to cover news from the company but offer the caveat that little is known about it.

DURHAM, N.C. -- Adding to the mystery surrounding a company that has yet to open a single convenience store, The Guess Corp. said it is launching a chain of “ultra-luxury gas/convenience stores as country clubs with memberships required.” It is launching the chain through its petroleum unit, Guess Petroleum. It will be known as GP Club.

GP Club will be the ultra-luxury brand for the “ultra-affluent,” while its GP Express is the company’s luxury brand for affluent consumers, the company said.

GP Club will serve consumers who have applied for and have become members. “Ultra-affluent households with a net worth exceeding $50 million will be the clientele for these units,” according to the company. Prospective members will pay an annual membership fee that gives them access to planned GP Clubs in the United States and internationally as they are built.

GP Club will feature “mansion-style” buildings with a separate fueling area. The four-level buildings will include a steakhouse restaurant, a business center, a video-conferencing center, meeting rooms, suites for sleeping and resting, a medical clinic, a boutique selling select designer merchandise, a hair salon and a c-store on the main level with “premium-quality” merchandise, fresh goods and a dining room.

The site also will include a swimming pool and water park.

A valet will greet customers on arrival, and a concierge and doorman will assist them upon entering the building. While they shop, dine, meet or relax, attendants will fuel, hand wash and wax their vehicles.

As a GP Club member, they will receive 24-hour emergency roadside assistance and an around-the-clock travel concierge to provide support. Guess will issue members a platinum-plated membership card that allows them to charge all expenses to their membership account with a monthly billing cycle. It also will partner with companies to offer exclusive benefits to members such as upgrades, discounts and exclusive access to entertainment events.

The company plans to build 250 GP Club units globally in the next 36 months, it said, with a “modest” rollout.

In the United States, there will be approximately two GP Club units per state, said Guess. The list of planned sites includes Cary and Wilmington, N.C.; Atlanta; Columbia and Charleston, S.C.; Orlando and Coral Gables, Fla.; Nashville; Biloxi, Miss.; Arlington and Richmond, Va.; Bethesda and Potomac, Md.; Greenwich, Conn.; and Beverly Hills, Calif.

The company will offer an operating partner program for GP Club and prospective operating partners will be allowed to own up to 40% of the unit, while the company’s petroleum subsidiary will own 60% of the unit.

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, New York, will handle site selection and Scott+Cormia, Orlando, Fla., will handle design and construction project management.

Durham, N.C.-based Guess Corp. made a splash that raised eyebrows and questions of legitimacy in mid-July with the announcement that is seeking to acquire at least 1,000 convenience stores within 12 months.

Privately held Guess began as a luxury-goods holding company in 2012 with a focus on diamonds and has expanded into other businesses, including wine, chocolate, food, beverages, coffee and tea, according to its website. Major business lines include private jets, yachts, automobiles, fine art, private islands, casinos, hotels, publishing and lumber, among others. The company’s projected revenue for 2016 is $250 million and its asset base currently exceeds $100 million, it said.

 

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