O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
April 2014

Columnist — Joyce Trent

DENVER — Denverites who live in Capitol Hill, a charming old neighborhood surrounding the statehouse, have a wide choice of convenience stores and they love them and aren't shy about sharing why in their blogs.

"It happens every other week about 2 a.m. I've run out of toilet paper again so I put on my shoes and head over to the A-1 convenience store," wrote one resident.

Colorado flag

Of a 7-Eleven in the area a woman writes, "I stop there every time I have a hangover and need some Vitamin Water."

A man who went convenience store hopping in the area to locate the perfect place found it in the same 7-Eleven. A Slurpee fan, he found "that rare treasure, a What-A-Melon flavor. That was the kind of Slurpee I had been looking for all day."

Friendliness and diversity of products were more important to many bloggers than a modern layout. Several people preferred a shabby little store near them even though there was little parking. But it had everything from toasters to pizza on its shelves.

One person liked his store so much he settled in for the night but complained, "Is there anything ruder than a 7-Eleven clerk consistently knocking on the bathroom door when all you're trying to do is get some sleep?"

Guess he had to sack out in the library or coffee house where he must have made use of the computer to voice his discontent.

DENVER — Jack Pester, who has left a giant footprint in the independent petroleum marketing industry, has received the Distinguished Marketer Award from the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.

Currently, Pester is chairman of the board of Pester Marketing. In his sixty years in the industry he built one of the most diversified convenience retail and petroleum marketing companies in the country, SIGMA stated.

Starting in the 1960s, he turned a small family-owned business in Iowa into a regional marketing and refining company that operates 220 stations in 11 Midwest and Rocky Mountain states and a refinery in El Dorado, Kan. that puts out 35,000 barrels of oil per day.

In 1987 he sold Pester Marketing to Coastal Corporation of Houston but was asked to stay on as a member of the senior management. He later became senior vice-president of international refining and marketing for the corporation.

Pester Marketing expanded in Colorado to include 58 convenience stores now marketing under the Alta name as well as a wholesale fuels division that is a major supplier of transportation fuels and bio-fuels such as E-85 and biodiesel.

Pester Marketing also owns and operates its own fuel transportation company, Alta Transportation, and has a full line of ExxonMobil lubes through Alta Lubricants. Pester Marketing is active in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and New Mexico. The company recently rewarded its 500 employees by establishing an employee stock ownership plan. Employees now own 11 percent of the company.

Among his many extra-curricular activities Jack Pester has held leadership positions in numerous industry trade associations and even served on the board of a Russian-owned products pipeline and terminal company.

DENVER — After a brief respite when prices dipped below three dollars, the cost of a gallon of gasoline has zipped back up to $3.15.

Colorado Springs was averaging $3.13. The mountain resort towns of Vail and Glenwood Springs recorded the highest prices as usual, averaging $3.61 and $3.57, respectively.

COLORADO SPRINGS — The "convenience" in the convenience store label took on a new meaning here when a man used its outside payphone to call police and complain that no one responded when he attempted to rob a store nearby.

Paul Harrill, 36, had demanded cash from an employee at a bowling alley but left in disgust when the employee was unable to open the register.

He told police in his call he tried to rob the bowling alley because police did not show up to talk to him about a disturbance he had reported earlier. He wanted to see what they would do about a robbery.

When nothing happened there he called the cops to vent his dissatisfaction with the service law enforcement provides.

His test of police procedures finally netted him some action but probably not what he wanted. He was booked into jail on suspicion of attempted robbery.

DENVER — Attorney General John Suthers has filed a lawsuit against Paymon Market, Inc., an Aurora convenience store, alleging the store sold spice, promoted as a synthetic form of marijuana, and containing ingredients dangerous and illegal to dispense under Colorado law.

The synthetic cannabinoids, commonly referred to as "spice," carried labels such as "No Banned Chemicals," "It's Legal," "100 Percent Cannabinoid Free," and "DEA Compliant," which in itself is a violation of the law, the A.G.'s office said.

Rhamatollah Ghamari and Paymon Elliott Ghamari owned and operated the store which has shut down. A joint undercover investigation was conducted by the Aurora Police Department and the Colorado Department of Revenue in July 2013. The law enforcement officers confiscated 1,181 packages of spice some of which were sold under a variety of names, including "Crazy Monkey," "Mad Monkey," and "Iblown." Others were unlabeled.

An analysis by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation showed all the spice products contained illegal synthetic cannabinoids, the suit states. Two of the products contained AB-PINACA, a chemical analog of APINACA. The APINACA analogs are the latest types of synthetic cannabinoids being used in spice. Forensic labs have only recently been able to identify them.

"Nationally, eight percent of high school seniors say they have used some type of so-called synthetic marijuana in the last year," said Suthers. "Paymon marketed these spice products as safe and legal when in fact they are very dangerous as well as illegal."

The suit was filed under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. Although the store has closed the owners could be fined $2,000 each for each package of spice if the suit prevails.

DENVER — Convenience stores and other businesses would not be allowed to sell cigarettes to anyone under 21 if a bill introduced in the Colorado Legislature passes.

The current age limit is 18. The ban would extend to electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and tobacco vaporizers and has bipartisan support.

Those currently between the ages of 18 and 20 would be grandfathered in, sponsors said. "We don't want to cut 'em off cold turkey," explained Beth McCann, co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill would ban sale to minors of any product that contains nicotine and clearly defines a product that delivers nicotine.

The Colorado-Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association has backed the measure, saying it would help prevent confusion on the part of convenience store owners.The association has warned its members to be vigilant to avoid accidentally breaking the law.

"It's very easy to determine what a tobacco product is," said Grier Bailey of the Colorado-Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association. "It's a lot harder to determine what a nicotine delivery product is."

No statistics exist on how many Coloradoans who smoke are under 21, but the legislators cited a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that states nine out of ten daily smokers had their first cigarettes by the age 18.

Originally published in the April 2014 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2014 by KAL Publications Inc.

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