Atlas Oil announced that it has transitioned operations of its Earth Market convenience stores to dealers at the end of January.
The Earth Market c-store chain debuted less than a year ago—on Earth Day, April 22, 2013, and expanded to include five locations in Illinois, including in Frankfort, Mokena, Hickory Hills, Alsip and Oswego.
“We had several of our existing operators that approached us to run the sites,” Mary Zaleski, director of marketing for Atlas Oil told CSD. “As a company, Atlas Oil supplies nearly 400 retail stations in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, but historically only a handful have been company operated. The growth in Earth Market was going to be in the dealer channel and this provides an opportunity for us to test that.”
For now, Earth Market plans to continue ownership of the sites and is continuing to supply fuel to the stores, Zaleski noted. “We have been in the business of buying and selling stores for over 20 years, so we always are open to selling stations for the right deal,” she added.
But the company hasn’t ruled out growing the brand either. “We own the Earth Market brand and if we identify other sites or locations where the Earth Market brand would make sense, we are certainly open to pursuing expansion. We will be getting feedback from the operators to determine how we can continue to grow the brand,” she said, adding, “Atlas remains committed to the growth of its fuel distribution and supply management businesses.”
For more on Earth Market stores, check out the article CSD wrote on the launch of the chain: http://www.cstoredecisions.com/2013/04/16/atlas-oil-launches-earth-market-stores/