Turkey Hill Trots Into Ohio

Kroger c-store chain opens first of several Buckeye stores; buys Gilligan Oil sites

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Kroger Co.'s Turkey Hill Minit Market convenience store chain is making its first foray into Ohio, with plans for seven stores in the Columbus area by the end of the year, according to a report by The Business Courier of Cincinnati.

Lancaster, Pa.-based Turkey Hill said Wednesday it has signed a deal to buy five On the Run c-stores in Columbus, Dublin and Westerville from Cincinnati-based Gilligan Oil Co. Erin Dimitriou Smith, a Turkey Hill spokesperson, declined to disclose financial terms of the deal, said the report.

Those five stores [image-nocss] should be rebranded and open on Friday, the report added.

Turkey Hill also has plans to build one store each in Heath and Whitehall, near Columbus, that should open by the end of the year, Dimitriou Smith told the newspaper.

In addition to selling fuel, the Turkey Hill stores sell deli sandwiches, lottery tickets, gift cards, ice cream and other food and drink products. The stores will accept Kroger's gasoline rewards program.

Turkey Hill has 248 stores in its home state and one in Indiana. Dimitriou Smith declined to say if the company is ready to expand further in Central Ohio or move into other Ohio markets. "We're looking to grow but don't have any definite plans," she told the paper. "We're always looking for growth opportunities."

In other news, Turkey Hill opened a new store in Hazle Township, Pa., on October 2, and a new store in Womelsdorf, Pa., on September 25, the retailer said on its website.

Gilligan Oil Co. operates Gilligan Oil Services distribution and transportation division, Gills Car Washes and is the regional franchise developer for the ExxonMobil On the Run convenience store franchise. In addition, Gilligan Oil is southwestern Ohio's largest distributor of Shell-branded gasoline and also operates Sunoco and Exxon gas stations. It also has Dunkin Donuts, TCBY, Subway and Popeyes franchises.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, also based in Cincinnati, has approximately 2,500 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two-dozen banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Fry's, King Soopers, Smith's, Dillons, QFC and City Market. It also has more than 750 c-stores, nearly 800 supermarket fuel centers and other retail offerings.

The company's c-stores are in 16 states: Loaf 'N Jug in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming; Turkey Hill Minit Markets in Pennsylvania; Tom Thumb Food Stores in Florida and Alabama; Kwik Shop in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska; and Quik Stop Markets in California and Nevada.