Mergers & Acquisitions

3 Grocery Chains Investing in C-Stores, Gas

Initiatives moving forward in North Carolina, Texas, Missouri

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. -- Supermarkets have long flirted with their smaller-format cousins, convenience stores. Three grocery chains that have launched c-store initiatives recently include Harris Teeter, H-E-B and Niemann Foods.

Heymakers

Harris Teeter

A subsidiary of the Harris Teeter grocery store chain has purchased three potential convenience-store and fuel-center sites in Wake and Durham counties in North Carolina, signaling that "The Triangle" could be the company's next big push with gasoline retailing, reported The Triangle Business Journal.

HT Fuel NC LLC in December paid $1.05 million for a land parcel next to a Harris Teeter grocery store in south Durham, N.C., said the report, citing county deed records.

The same entity paid $750,000 in January for the existing Sunoco Food Mart between south Raleigh and Fuquay-Varina, N.C., and it paid $635,000 for a lot in a shopping center in Wake Forest, N.C., both near existing Harris Teeter grocery stores.

Harris Teeter spokesperson Lea Ramsey declined to comment to the newspaper on the transactions.

The Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter--now owned by supermarket and c-store retailer The Kroger Co., Cincinnati--has approximately 230 locations. It opened its first gas station in November next to a new grocery store in Fort Mill, S.C. The chain opened two more gas stations in December and January, one in Harrisburg, N.C., and another next to a new Harris Teeter store in Pinehurst, N.C.

H-E-B

With its eye on the convenience-store market, supermarket and gasoline retailer H-E-B is moving forward with plans to construct a 7,416-square-foot convenience store and gas station in its home base of San Antonio, The San Antonio Business Journal said recently, citing a Virtual Builders Exchange report.

Including the store and fuel-pump area, the site’s total floor plan will cover 10,296 square feet, with 2,880 square feet dedicated to a Wendy’s fast-food location.

It is common for H-E-B stores to have a fuel center with a kiosk occupied by an attendant who handles gas for cash transactions and snack sales; however, this convenience store is a block away from the supermarket, making it the company’s first full-sized, standalone convenience store, Virtual Builders Exchange said.

H-E-B has approximately 350 stores.

Niemann Foods

West Quincy, Mo.-based grocery store chain Niemann Foods Inc., which already operates County Market Express and Pick a Dilly convenience stores, is investing in its c-store operation with the opening of Haymakers, a new convenience-store brand, reported The Herald-Whig.

The first Haymakers opened in December in West Quincy, Mo., with more planned. Haymakers puts a major focus on freshly prepared foods.

Niemann Foods, based in Quincy, Ill., operates more than 100 retail locations, including County Market supermarkets, Save-A-Lot grocery stores, Harvest Market, County Market Express & Pick a Dilly convenience stores, Pet Supplies Plus and Ace Hardware stores.

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