A New Beginning

ALON's physical debut meant to convey "universality," "stability" of new brand

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

BIG SPRING, Texas -- Seeking to signal a change physically, but to also dispel any sense of instability, ALON Brands Inc. officially unveiled its new fuel brand, ALON, at an event Monday attended by local dignitaries, company executives and others. At the same time, it is retiring the FINA name in favor of its corporate parent's identity.

ALON Brands began removing the FINA name at its branded locations in eight states last month, as well as its 7-Eleven stores. In its place, the ALON brand has emerged, retaining the red-white-and-blue graphic imagery, but now more closely tied to its supply roots with its parent, Alon Israel Oil Co. Ltd.

The ceremony, held in Big Spring, Texas, where ALON has its refinery and the area where FINA holds its greatest affinity, focused on the heritage of the FINA name and the potential of the ALON brand going forward.

Part of the concern moving forward was the eight-state boundaries tied to the FINA name, Kyle McKeen, president and CEO of ALON Brands, told CSP Daily News, which--as reported in a Morgan Keegan/CSP Daily News Flash yesterday, was also on hand for the event celebrating the brand's physical debut. The use of the ALON name will allow the company to extend its reach, and the ability to take advantage of the brand instability that is occurring as the major oil companies retrench, he said.

Addressing a crowd of about 50 community representatives and company employees, McKeen talked about the reasons for the shift to a new brand name. "We are indicating a change. We've been providing a new customer experience with our Clean Team program provided new imaging inside the store, which is followed up by a final step, a new beginning to signify to the public the universality of the ALON brand."

The mayor of Big Spring, Tommy Duncan, expressed his appreciation for ALON's efforts, saying that he visited all seven stores in Big Spring. "You'll be please to know you're only three minutes away from a Big Gulp in Big Spring."

The rollout of the new ALON brand will be accompanied by "the biggest consumer giveaway" that ALON has ever done, said Jonathan Ketchum, senior vice president of retail for ALON Brands. The push will include daily and weekly giveaways culminating in a lucky customer winning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The outreach includes a text messaging campaign and opportunities to enter the contest on the web and inside the store.

Launched in January 2010, the Clean Team program highlights the importance of attractive stores, clean and comfortable restrooms, attentive customer service and freshly stocked shelves to create exceptional customer experiences and to present positive environments in the local communities served by Alon Brands, its distributors and local store teams.

Company-owned and independently operated stores are evaluated in six key areas throughout the year to determine the top performers.

Alon Brands is the retail and branded marketing subsidiary of Dallas-based Alon USA Energy Inc., an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products operating primarily in the western and south central regions of the United States. Through Alon Brands, it operates more than 300 7-Eleven convenience stores in central and west Texas and New Mexico and markets and supplies FINA motor fuels to more than 900 independent and company-owned retail locations. Alon Brands is the largest licensee of 7-Eleven in the United States.

Alon Brands includes retail arms Southwest Convenience Stores LLC and Skinny's LLC, as well as Alon Marketing and SCS Beverage Inc.

For more on ALON and other growing fuel brands, look for the May issue of CSPmagazine.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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