Gulf Oil has returned to the Twin Cities after 23-years through a partnership with Inver Grove Heights, Minn.-based Lucky Oil Co., the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reported.
Six metro-area stores are already open for business and more store openings are planned in the last few weeks of 2010.
“I think this market’s looking for a new brand, and we’re going to be the platform to deliver,” Scott Stevens, Lucky Oil’s president and chief manager told the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal.
Stevens is the former president of the now defunct Burnsville-based Twin Cities Stores Inc., which auctioned 13 metro-area Oasis Market stores last month in a bankruptcy liquidation. All of the new Gulf Oil stores were formerly part of the Oasis Market chain.
Lucky Oil has reportedly put forth about $100,000 to renovate each of the four previously closed stores it now operates in Eagan, Stillwater and Andover. The leases on those stores extend through 2030. Lucky Oil spent between $25,000 and $50,000 to update the pump areas at two Gulf Oil stores operated by independent dealers in Eden Prairie and St. Paul, the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reported.
Stevens told the paper he expects to close on the purchase of two more former Oasis Markets, in Minnetonka and Cannon Falls, and bring them under the Gulf Oil brand this month.
The 10-year deal with Lucky Oil isn’t exclusive, and Gulf Oil reportedly is looking into other branding opportunities with about a dozen Minnesota c-store operators.
Gulf Oil supplies fuel to about 2,300 service stations nationwide, but aims to double that number within five years.
Unlike most other markets, Twin Cities consumers are more aware of convenience store retail brands such as Kwik Trip, Holiday and SuperAmerica than Shell, BP or other fuel brands, Lance Klatt, the executive director of the Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association told the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Independent operators competing on price are looking to alternative brands, opening the door for a new one like Gulf Oil, he said.