O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
February 2020

Columnist — Joyce Trent

DENVER — A crackdown on nicotine sales aimed at ending teenage vaping, which has reached a crisis point in Colorado, is at the forefront of state legislators' coming agenda. A convenience store representative says he hopes it won't have an onerous effect on his industry, which has tried hard to keep teens safe.

At the top of the newly released list of House Democrat priority legislation is HB20-101, which would raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy nicotine products, require every nicotine seller to have a state license for it, increase the rate of enforcement, and create tough penalties for violations. It also would bar new retailers from operating within 500 feet of schools.

Several cities in the state already have raised the age limit, but health officials believe it must be applied statewide to be effective. Indications are that the bill will have bi-partisan support.

Colorado flag

Surveys show that more than one in four teens in the state use e-cigarettes, double the national average.

"I understand where they're trying to go with that," said Grier Bailey, executive director of the Colorado/Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Assn, "but it needs work."

So far retailers have been given credit for good faith efforts to prevent under-age sales, he told a reporter. And the convenience store industry has put many measures into place toward that goal, including employee training and ID card scanners, he said.

Under the new proposal their efforts are not given that credit, he said. Their input has not even been sought as to the wording of the bill.

The CWPMA represents most of the state's 2,000 convenience stores. He says many, especially small store owners, worry if the bill is enacted into law, they would face over-burdening regulations.

DENVER — The Denver City Council has passed an ordinance requiring convenience stores and other retail outlets to charge a fee to customers who want a plastic or paper bag.

The ordinance has the backing of the Colorado/Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association.

Stores must levy a ten-cent fee on plastic and paper of which they will be allowed to keep four cents. The fees will be used, in part, to provide free bags that meet the requirements of the ordinance, said Grier Bailey, executive director of the CWPMA.

The permissible material includes cloth and fiber that can be cleaned and used multiple times. The bags must be capable of carrying a minimum 22-pound load.

The city estimates 250 million bags are taken home from stores by Denver residents every year.

DENVER — Kum & Go is revving up its effort to become the leading convenience store chain in Colorado.

The highest Kum & Go concentration so far is in the Denver metro area where six new stores opened in 2019. The corporation expects to have a total of thirteen up and running by the end of 2020.

That will bring to 75 the number of Kum & Go stores in Colorado along the I-25 and I-70 corridors from Wellington to Fountain and throughout the Western Slope.

"Personally and professionally have been coming to Denver my entire life. I love the state and the energy and personality of Denver," said Kum & Go President Tanner Krause.

Kum & Go still trails 7-Eleven in Colorado but is pushing hard to change that statistic. Its latest stores try to gain customers by featuring an open and expanded food preparation area as part of its GO Fresh Market. It offers fresh pizza by the slice or whole pie, sandwiches, salads, coffee drinks and microbrews.

Indoor amenities include seating with charging stations and complimentary WiFi.

BERTHOUD — That doesn't mean that 7-Eleven is sitting back on its heels. It, too, is expanding.

A new store opened in this city last month and another is scheduled for a June opening in north Loveland, also with big improvements over the old model.

The Berthoud location has a 4,200-square-foot building with twelve fueling stations selling 7-Eleven branded gasoline. It features an enhanced assortment of fresh foods and a walk-in beer cave with an extensive craft beer selection.

The store planned for Loveland will be smaller but still will offer the enhanced food section.

"We've really started expanding our fresh food and proprietary brands," noted Alex Thie, the corporation's real estate representative. "We have a commissary at Denver International Airport where fresh food gets shipped out daily to each store."

Both new stores will have expanded drink choices, including "bean to cup" coffee. The beans are ground in the machine and brewed right into the cup.

Thie said the stores will operate as franchises.

BRIGHTON — It's happened again. A fuel distributor mistakenly put diesel fuel in unleaded regular tanks at a gasoline station.

Last May, dozens of motorists in Colorado Springs unknowingly pumped diesel into their vehicles from pumps that should have contained unleaded, causing hundreds of dollars worth of damage. It was later determined that it was the fault of the distributor.

Now a gasoline station in Brighton has faced the same barrage of complaints as they work to clean out diesel from unleaded pumps that left customers' cars undriveable. Again it was a distributor error.

Beside the inconvenience repairs can cost up to a thousand dollars, mechanics say.

Cammie Price is one of the latest victims. She was headed to the mountains after filling up. "We hadn't even made it fifteen miles down the road before my check engine light came on," she said. Instead of a mountain getaway she was waiting for the tow truck.

One man thought it was his car's age until learning of the mixup. "My car is forty years old," said Jay Svanda. "I thought it was time to send it to the graveyard."

Although no precise number is available as to total cars affected one car rental agency reported it had rented out at least thirty cars to people who got the wrong gasoline.

In 2017 there was a twist. Diesel owners in Denver found that the fuel they put in their pumps was regular unleaded, causing major damage. A state official said then about five hundred gallons of gasoline were dropped into the diesel tank.

Gas station owners say the underground tanks are clearly marked and that lack of concentration likely caused the mishap by delivery drivers.

DENVER — Last year Phoenix Tears, a CBD marketer, caused an uproar at corporate 7-Eleven when it promised its CBD products would be in 7,000 7-Eleven stores within three years and 4,500 hundred by the end of the year.

At that time 7-Eleven spokesperson Stephanie Shaw responded, "Oh, no, that product is not going to be in our stores."

While there has been no update from Phoenix Tears, CBD is indeed at some 7-Eleven stores — in the form of vending machines.

Greenbox Robotics has installed machines offering CBD outside two 7-Eleven stores — one in Denver, the other in Boulder.

Both stores operate as franchises which can pretty much decide what they sell under the 7-Eleven banner.

The chain has not commented on this development.

Kenneth Monfort, director of development for the family Monfort Companies, which owns the Boulder 7-Eleven, contracted with Greenbox. Greenbox will select, supply and manage the product line in the vending machines.

Monfort said he is always looking for new ways to offer what the public wants. He said Greenbox plans to try out small and upcoming brands in their machines. The company promises a sophisticated age and ID verification system will ensure that only those of legal age can access the product.

Greenbox founder Zack Johnson hopes this will just be the beginning. He said there are several advantages to convenience stores having the machines. No additional employees are needed, the product can be safely stored, and its presence should increase foot traffic to the store.

"What we're looking for is to generate sales and show 7-Eleven corporate that this is a value add that will generate sales," he said.

DENVER — A man who robbed a gasoline station had his two-year-old daughter waiting in the car, putting her and a police officer's toddler in the midst of the gun battle that ensued.

The children were not injured, but the off-duty cop who was pumping gasoline into his vehicle took a bullet in both arms when he intervened. He survived.

The officer was alerted to the crime when a customer escaped from the store and contacted him. The detective who had his own young child in his car tried to fire his gun when the robber emerged, but it first jammed, then sent bullets into the assailant's car.

The robber, identified as Samuel McConnell, got away but was later arrested walking his dog after police received a tip as to his whereabouts. He confessed to that crime and to another gasoline station and Donut House robbery, saying he needed the money to buy oxycodone.

DENVER — A 7-Eleven store owner was fatally stabbed by his manager in an apparent dispute over money, authorities said.

Bereket Cholo, 35, is being held on a first-degree murder charge.

A witness told police she overheard Cholo screaming that money had been "taken from him" and saw him stab the owner several times.

Surveillance video backed that up, showing Cholo stabbing the owner in the neck with a very large hunting knife. Cholo had a minor laceration on his hand after being arrested at his Aurora home, authorities said.

SALIDA — A car wash has taken advantage of its location on a major truck route by installing equipment to attract those truck drivers.

Colorado Car Wash offers the big riggers a bay tailored to Class A trucks.

The bay's features include a high pressure volume apparatus cutting through the tough dirt and grease and a six-foot brush handle to reach the top of high profile vehicles.

The business uses premium brands of cleaner.

AURORA — Living Water Car Wash opened its second location here in December.

With state-of-the-art STl Belt technology, its conveyor system has extra-wide flat belts that make loading and unloading simpler and safer than a traditional system, management said. More than sixty percent of the water used is recycled.

The first Living Water Car Wash was established in Littleton.

Originally published in the February 2020 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2020 by KAL Publications Inc.

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