Admiral Petroleum began its business in the 1950s as one of the early participants in a trend toward convenience stores with eggs, bread and milk. It later found its niche as a discount convenience operator.

The company includes two divisions: the convenience-store sector (about 120 units), and the wholesale and retail Admiral Discount Tobacco Store division (about 50 units). The Tobacco Store division began in 1995.

While the tobacco stores are focused on the discounted sale of tobacco products along with upscale, name-brand convenience items, the main segment of Admiral convenience stores is similar to discount buy-out stores, much like a dollar store, for example. Admiral Petroleum Co.'s website says the company's main objective is "giving the customer a fair value for their dollar."

Admiral eliminates the middleman and buys in bulk, warehousing and distributing products directly to the stores. All locations are different, both in terms of store layout and products sold. Most locations have been acquired, which accounts for their difference in size. Some stores are so small that there is no room even for fountain drinks.

Headquarters:Coopersville, Mich.
No. of Stores:173
Average Store Size:1,000 sq. ft.
Rank:52
Rank Last Year:51
States of Operation: Indiana, Michigan
Website:http://www.admiralpetroleum.com/