Petrowski said Gulf created Wave as an alternate brand for three reasons: "A lot of the Wave [stores] will be sites that don't qualify for the Gulf brand," he said. "They're smaller sites, because [the Gulf brand] [image-nocss] has some standards as far as canopy, pumps and volume."
"In our footprint in the Northeast, there are some areas where we're basically too concentrated. In Massachusetts, when you include Cumberland Farms, we're approaching 20% of the market. And this will allow us to continue to grow the gallons in areas that are saturated with our brand."
"And then, ultimately depending on how Wave takes off, we could roll it out beyond the footprint that we're limited to."
While Petrowski has high hopes for the Wave brand, he said Gulf doesn't intend to force it on its gasoline customers.
"A lot of our customers who are happy with their own brand, their private label, that's fine; we won't push it," he said. "But to the extent that people find some utility [in the new brand] and the shared services-the credit-card support, loyalty programs, maybe the price-lock program-then we'll have the beginnings of a substantial brand."
Petrowski said there are four Wave sites in the Northeast now, with others in development.
At the same time, Gulf, which recently restructured its relationship with Cumberland Farms to share more services, is close to unveiling a new retail prototype that Petrowski said will usher in a new phase of retailing for the company with new services and new store design.
Cumberland Farms operates a network of retail stores, gas stations and a support system including petroleum, dairy and grocery distribution operations spans 11 states across the Northeast and Florida.
Gulf Oil distributes motor fuels in the Northeast through a network of more than 2,400 Gulf-branded gasoline retail centers, 12 proprietary oil terminals, and a network of more than 50 other supply terminals. It supplies heating oil, diesel fuel, jet fuel and kerosene to these branded retail outlets through both its Gulf brand and, in the seven states of New England and New York, the Exxon brand.
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