MAPCO’s New Direction

Great stores, outstanding service and a commitment to its people helped MAPCO Express garner Chain of the Year honors in 1996. The company has changed quite a bit since then, but the focus on convenience store operations remains stronger than ever.

MAPCO Express, as it exists today, was formed with Delek US Holdings’ acquisition of 198 MAPCO Express stores from The William Cos. in 2001. Since 2001, it has made six additional acquisitions. It currently operates multiple c-store brands, including the MAPCO Express, MAPCO Mart, East Coast, Discount Food Mart, Fast Food and Fuel and Favorite Markets banners.

Today, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company operates more than 450 stores in eight states throughout the Southeast, though primarily in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. As it has done throughout its nearly 30-year history, the chain is firmly committed to reinventing itself and its commitment to convenience retailing.

MAPCO launched a prototype design about five years after benchmarking against top, next-generation c-store concepts for more than a year. The MAPCO Mart design is 5,000 square feet and features a host of amenities including up to 10 fuel dispensers, state-of-the-art lighting, 16-18 cooler doors, beer caves, fresh foods and foodservice, in addition to ordering touchscreens inside and out.

“Our prototype can compete head-to-head with virtually any c-store concept in the market today,” said Lynwood Gregory, chief operating officer for MAPCO Express, who was onhand to receive the Chain of the Year award 13 years ago. “We took the best of the best and started sticking them on our best corners. About 70% of our properties are on prime corners, so this design is a good fit.”

Since 2005, MAPCO has developed 118 of these MAPCO Marts, the majority through redesigns and 14 were complete raze and rebuilds. It takes about eight weeks to reimage a store, said Kim O’Dell, MAPCO’s vice president of marketing. The redesign is typically supported with a one-year advertising campaign to attract new customers.

For 2009, MAPCO planned one raze and rebuild and 35-40 reimages. Through the first half of the year, the company reimaged 21 stores in several of its core Southeastern markets.

“Over the long-term, our objective is to concentrate our various convenience store brands into a single identifiable brand identity: “MAPCO Mart.” This brand consolidation initiative continues to progress, particularly as we move forward with our store reimaging program,” O’Dell said.

Dedicated to Convenience
MAPCO was founded in 1981 with the acquisition of 255 Delta gasoline stations in Tennessee. Throughout the early 1980s, MAPCO continued to make strategic acquisitions, while divesting underperforming stores.

“In the early 90s, MAPCO introduced what, at the time, were some of the most cutting edge convenience store concepts of the day,” Gregory said. “By 1995, MAPCO was a leading champion of the co-branded c-store/QSR concept, culminating in the chain being named Convenience Store Chain of the Year by Convenience Store Decisions a year later.”

Gregory added the company is prepared to grow the business, but only in those scenarios where there is an opportunity to generate long-term, sustainable value.

“We have acquired more than 500 convenience stores since 2001. We strive to reengineer the business we acquire to achieve improved economies of scale, operational efficiency and profitability. Although much of our growth has been from acquisitions, we place considerable emphasis on organic growth,” Gregory said. “Our long-term strategy includes targeted expansion in our core markets, and we remain poised to make one or more strategic acquisitions, should a good opportunity present itself.”

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