Casey's Bats in 58 Stores

Midwest retailer hits 1,400 stores with acquisition of Gas N Shop locations

ANKENY, Iowa -- Rebranding and expanded foodservice offers will be the major changes to Gas 'N Shop convenience stores when a new owner closes on up to 58 of the Lincoln, Neb.-based chain's 66 sites. As reported yesterday in a CSP Daily News Flash, Casey's General Stores Inc. has signed a letter of intent to purchase 54 Gas 'N Shop stores in Nebraska, three in Kansas and one in Iowa.

Ron Lamb, chairman and CEO of Casey's General Stores, Ankeny, Iowa, told CSP Daily News his chain has been working on the Gas 'N Shop deal for about eight months, and more [image-nocss] acquisitions are likely. We've been trying to acquire stores for the last five or six years, and we've been working on this one for some time, he said. It's something that we're looking at all the time. At the close of this sale, Casey's will likely own more than 1,400 c-stores.

Closing on the sale is expected in late summer or early fall, according to Casey's CFO Bill Walljasper, who said the sale of each site is pending environmental audits scheduled to begins immediately. Walljasper added that all of the purchased sites will be rebranded to the Casey's name. That will take some time, he told CSP Daily News. The anticipated closing of this is in our second fiscal quarter, which begins August 1. At that time we'll start the rebranding over to Casey's.

With that rebranding will come an updating of the foodservice programs at the stores. [Gas 'N Shop's foodservice] varies from location to location. Some are cobranded with a quick service restaurant; some have a limited menu offering that includes coffee, fountain drinks and some sandwiches, Walljasper said. Ours is a bit more expanded. We have kitchens in all of our locations, and we make several items from scratch, such as pizza and doughnuts, there on site. So we'll also be converting those stores and remodeling them to accommodate our kitchens.

Beyond that, Walljasper said Gas 'N Shop and Casey's have much in common. The majority of their stores are located in [Midwestern] towns with populations of 10,000 or less, which is exactly our business model, he said. All of the stores that we are looking to acquire do sell gasoline, and they do offer a broad array of grocery and general merchandise items, similar to what we have.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Gas 'N Shop Inc. will continue to run eight c-stores and five tobacco shops. Part of the reason we didn't take [those other stores] was the geographic spread, said Walljasper. The sales agreement allows Gas 'N Shop, which is run by owner and president Larry Coffey, to continue using the Gas 'N Shop name for two years, after which time they will have to be rebranded.

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