Founder of Crackerbox Food Stores Dies

Gardner led c-store chain for nearly 40 years

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

Lewis Gardner

Lewis Gardner

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Lewis “Boss Hogg” Gardner, the founder of the Crackerbox Food Stores chain of convenience stores, died Dec. 22 at the age of 71.

Gardner founded Crackerbox in 1976 with his son Lewis after agreeing to build a store in Wilmar, Ark., for a friend who then backed out of running it, according to a report in Arkansas Business. The family sold the chain of 29 c-stores in the Little Rock and Hot Springs, Ark., areas to Valero Energy Corp. in June 2012.

At the time, CEO Gardner said, "We served the market for 40 years. In our consideration of buyers, we felt Valero was the best fit for our customers and employees. … We want to take this opportunity to thank our customers and employees."

Valero’s c-store arm was spun off into CST Brands in May 2013.

Born Dec. 8, 1944, in Waycross, Ga., Gardner was the son of the late Lewis Martin Gardner and Wanda McClain Gardner.

Survivors include wife, Rhonda Gardner; two sons Charles Wayne Gardner and wife Annette Gardner of Hot Springs, Ark., and Lewis Ray Gardner and wife Lora Smith-Gardner of Hot Springs, Ark.; three grandsons; two granddaughters; one great-granddaughter; two brothers; and special life-long friend, Roger Groce.

He was an active member of Mountain Pine First Assembly of God Church and loved singing and playing his guitar.

He served in the U.S. Airforce from 1962 to 1965 and was stationed in Germany. He was the founder of Crackerbox Food Stores, Gardner Oil Co. and Screaming Eagle Transport, which was not sold with the stores.

Funeral Services were Monday, Dec. 28.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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