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CHS Picks Up Zip Trips

Rebranding stores acquired from Jopo, Jo-By in Washington, Idaho to Cenex

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Energy and agriculture company CHS Inc. has signed a purchase agreement to acquire 33 Zip Trip convenience stores in the Spokane area, owned in part by Jopo Inc., and Jo-By Enterprises LLC. CHS will operate Zip Trip locations under its Cenex brand. As reported in a CSP Daily News Flash yesterday, financial terms were not disclosed.

Most of the 33 stores are located in metropolitan Spokane, with additional facilities in Clarkston, Wash., and in Lewiston, Couer'd Alene, Grangeville, Moscow and Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

"We have a long history of serving Pacific Northwest [image-nocss] consumers with Cenex-branded retail facilities and products and look forward to expanding in the Spokane market," said Don Olson, senior vice president of refined fuels for St. Paul, Minn.-based CHS. "The proximity to our Laurel, Mont., refinery allows us to efficiently provide reliable supplies of quality gasoline and diesel fuel to these retail locations."

The purchase will make Spokane the largest single U.S. metropolitan market for Cenex c-stores. There currently are six Cenex retail locations in Spokane operated by an independent dealer.

There currently are 1,600 Cenex-branded retail operations in the United States, including 800 stores most of which are operated by cooperatives and independent retailers. The 33 stores will be owned and operated by CHS Energy using existing Zip Trip store management and retail staff.

The rebranding of the locations to the Cenex brand is expected to be complete by mid-summer 2008, the company said.

CHS is a diversified energy, grains and foods company owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives, along with thousands of preferred stockholders, from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest and from the Canadian border to Texas. It supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain, livestock feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex-brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

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