Kwik King Selling Off Stores

Many Kwik King Food Stores will get a new name, new look and new gasoline provider in the coming weeks. That’s because they have new owners.

Bill Tuck, the co-owner and chief executive of Kwik King told The Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner that the convenience store company has sold 19 of its 49 stores. Sam Patidar bought 11 of them and Ocala, Fla.-based Diamond Oil bought the other eight. Neither owner wanted to give away the purchase price; the report estimated each store sold for between $750,000 and $1.5 million.

Those 19 stores will be rebranded from Shell to the Diamond Oil proprietary fuel banner. The two new owners took control of the stores last week.

"The whole climate of the convenience store industry is changing," Tuck said, explaining why his company is selling the stores. "It’s really tough today to deal with the big oil companies."

Tuck said he and business partner Ralph Pressley are in negotiations to sell the remaining 30 Kwik Kings. Neal Patel, management consultant for Diamond Oil, said his company may want to buy them.

Diamond Oil had looked for an opportunity to buy a number of convenience stores for two years. The Kwik Kings, he said, presented the perfect opportunity. "We wanted to serve our community and grow in our community," Patel said. "We’re going to see if we can get the other 30 stores."

Diamond Oil also made a deal with Patidar to be the gasoline supplier at his stores. Patidar, who owns five other convenience stores, will rename his 11 Kwik Kings "Qwik Kings."

"I’m a little guy in all this, but I’ve been in the business and knew this was a great opportunity," Patidar said. "We’re still working on a plan, but our focus will be on service."

Tuck said he expects service at his former stores to become more individualized something that was difficult to do when overseeing 49 stores across the county. "It’s hard to manage 49 stores from an office," he said. "These new owners, they’ll focus on the neighborhoods they’re in. They’ll have more intimate knowledge of their customers’ needs."

When Tuck and Pressley bought the Kwik King franchise in 1999, a gallon of gasoline sold for $1.09. Now, Tuck said, his company makes more money off a cup of coffee than 10 gallons of gas. "We don’t set the global price for gas," he said. "We were making a bigger profit selling gas for $1.09 a gallon than we are selling it for $3.15 today."

Patel said customers can expect gas prices to fall a bit when Diamond Oil takes over as the fuel provider. That switch should be completed by June. "You’ll see the Diamond logos replacing the other trademarks," he said. "Because we buy oil wholesale, we provide the cheapest fuel out there. We’re looking to bring the savings closer to home."


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