Founded as one store in 1975 by CEO John Jackson, a Shell and Chevron/Texaco marketer, Jacksons Food Stores Inc. has more than 200 owned and operated stores in five states, most recently adding the 13 stores and car washes acquired from Danny's Family Cos., based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jacksons is the third-largest privately held corporation in Idaho, including the chain of stores, Jackson Oil Co. and Capitol Distributing. The range of communities hosting Jacksons Food Stores spans major urban areas, such as Portland, Ore., and Seattle, to rural areas such as Ashton, Idaho. In February 2013, the company purchased Pettit Oil's branded dealer business in the Pacific Northwest, bringing the number of its branded retail sites to more than 700 in eight states.

The company's growth strategy is acquisition, but Jackson says the chain is careful to select stores that fit its geographic footprint. Jacksons Food Stores also has its own grocery distribution and therefore avoids markets where it doesn’t yet have critical mass.

Key categories for Jacksons are tobacco and packaged beverages. Shell is the dominant fuel brand, available at more than 100 Jacksons Food Stores. Jacksons also has several travel-stop locations that stock trucker supplies and more general merchandise.

Foodservice is available at some locations. Newer stores feature 2,500 square feet or more of retail space and offer a wide selection of ready-to-eat meals and extensive beer and wine options.

Skylights, tile floors, upscale wood/black counters, shorter shelves rather than long gondolas and even a seating area with televisions and a fish tank welcome guests. Fountain drinks are popular, and stores typically have 16- to 24-head fountains in a store. The fountain area is located in front of windows looking into the car wash.

Headquarters:Meridian, Idaho
No. of Stores:215
Average Store Size:2,500-4,000 sq. ft.
Rank Last Year:43
States of Operation: Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington
Family Business:Yes