O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
April 2017

Columnist — Joyce Trent

DENVER — A petroleum company that has operated in Colorado for more than one hundred years is exiting the retail convenience store business.

Bradley Petroleum and Sav-O-Mat Inc., has sold its 40 stores in this state and one in Wyoming to Boise, Idaho-based Stinker Stores Inc.

For Stinker, it was an excellent opportunity to expand into a state where it has never done business but, for Brad Calkins whose family operated the first Denver-based gasoline station in 1912, the sale represented a "bittersweet moment."

Four generations of the family have run the firm. Under the late George Calkins and his son Brad the company grew to encompass many high volume fuel sites in high traffic areas with easy entrance and exit areas, which was very appealing to Stinker.

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Idaho has been profitable but there is little room to grow, according to Charley Jones, president of Stinker Stores.

He was looking for expansion opportunities elsewhere and has had a good relationship with Sinclair Oil so when an executive of Sinclair informed him that Bradley wanted to sell he jumped at the opportunity. He is not, however, buying the five c-stores Bradley has in New Mexico. He did not feel it was a good enough market for his company.

As a hands-on person, he came to Colorado to check out all the stores Bradley owned before signing the deal.

Eventually he might rebrand the former Bradley stations to Sinclair, but for now the stores will remain under the Bradley and Sav-O-Mat names. Stinker bought the trademark and marketing rights for both names.

Brad Calkins said the time was right to let go. The family will pursue other opportunities. The Calkins family has been involved in many enterprises. George Calkins was instrumental in establishing the Vail Ski Resort. He founded a petroleum association and served in many important posts in the petroleum industry.

ASPEN — The Aspen City Council is expected to adopt an ordinance designed to restrict convenience store chains from over-populating the business district.

All members approved taking the first step, passing a policy resolution. Two readings and a public hearing are required before the code amendment is adopted.

The proposal, targeting "formula retail establishments" has generated a wide expression of approval in the community. A citizens group came up with the plan in an effort to combat what it sees as potential destruction of the character of the mountain town as chain stores proliferate. Local business owners say it will level the playing field in acquiring property in competition with better-financed chains.

It would establish a conditional use category where chains could undergo a special city review to determine whether the chain meets retail diversity and good design criteria.

It defines formula retail as any business with 11 other locations and which exhibits two of eight common characteristics, including standardized merchandise, services, trademarks, decor, facades, and staff uniforms.

Within the review criteria are four categories of objectives: maintaining a balanced and diversified retail experience; welcoming innovation and allowing new ideas to flourish; providing needed goods and services in a limited area; and complementing the "artistically and culturally enriching entertainment opportunities for which Aspen is known." In turn, each category contains three to four specific standards. The chain would have to meet at least one in each category, plus an additional standard.

If the criteria are not met the city would have the power to deny a business license. The business would have the right to appeal.

Existing buildings would be exempt unless demolished or significantly remodeled or expanded. Projects already in the pipeline would not be affected.

Although Mayor Steve Skadron voted with the majority he had concerns. Large chains generate large amounts of tax revenue that support open space, affordable housing, and transportation programs, he pointed out.

Some in the community wondered what would happen if a chain was turned down for placement in a new development and no local business wanted to move in.

But Community Development Director Jessica Garrow said the restrictions are necessary and better done sooner than later. "It's about the vitality of the city," she said.

COLORADO SPRINGS — A convenience store clerk was bored so he decided to liven things up a bit — and now he is paying the price.

Samuel Yates, a clerk at a Diamond Shamrock station, passed a note to a customer, saying there was a robbery in process, but to stay cool.

When the customer got into her vehicle and read the note she immediately called 911. She also gave a description of a male customer in the store she thought might be the robber.

Officers descended on the store only to be told by the clerk that there was no robbery, he had written the note as a prank because he was bored.

Not now. Not only does he face the loss of his job, he has been charged with false reporting.

GRAND JUNCTION — An appellate court agreed that a Mesa County prosecutor had the right to charge a man with robbery of a convenience store, but said the state went a bit too far by adding kidnapping.

The Colorado Court of Appeals overturned the kidnapping conviction of Michael Stepp, 43, while upholding other convictions of aggravated robbery and menacing.

Requiring a clerk to get behind the counter, put her hands on top, and move from register to register did not constitute kidnapping, the Court stated in its ruling.

BOULDER — The Cigarette Store Corp., dba Smoker Friendly, is expanding again.

The Colorado corporation has acquired Cigars on Sixth, a long-established firm in Denver, and is looking for other opportunities to expand nationally.

TCSC has 103 retail outlets consisting of tobacco stores, Gasamat convenience stores/gas stations, cigar lounges and liquor stores in six states.

LITTLETON — Living Water Express Car Wash will open here this spring.

"This car wash isn't just another place to wash cars," said Chad Roach, one of the owners of the business.

The express interior tunnel wash can clean a car in less than three minutes, all without the driver stepping out of the car.

An important feature is an account customers can establish allowing unlimited washes for one low monthly price. With RFID technology, the system will automatically recognize the customers without them getting out of the vehicle and direct them straight to the tunnel entrance.

A new STI belt system, the first of its kind in the country, according to management, guides the vehicle onto a belt conveyor in a manner as simple as stepping onto a moving walkway. It was developed by a Canadian company to counter the difficult, gritty road conditions in that country.

COLORADO SPRINGS — Kum & Go has partnered with Care and Share Food Bank in an experimental program here to rescue food that would otherwise be dumped, and donate it to agencies that serve the poor.

Among the excess food to be saved are breakfast sandwiches, hot and cold lunch sandwiches, salads and produce, fresh packaged breakfast and mini bakery items.

"As we continue to look for ways to reduce waste, help our communities, and tackle hunger close to home, we are excited to get the program up and running," said Sustainability Manager Derek Nelson.

Starting at the newest store in Colorado Springs, the program will be expanded later this year to pick up food from all the Kum & Go stores in the city.

Kum & Go now has 14 stores in Colorado Springs and 55 in Colorado.

Originally published in the April 2017 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2017 by KAL Publications Inc.

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