O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
April 2022

Columnist — Joyce Trent

JOHNSTOWN — Yet another convenience store chain is entering the Colorado market.

Buc-ee's, based in Pearland, TX., plans to open a store in Johnstown in 2024.

It is part of an expansion undertaken in 2019 and will be the first location outside the South. It features a smiling beaver, a logo that led to the nicknaming of founder Arch Aplin as Arch "Beaver" Aplin. Buc-ee's is famous for offering more of everything — from the size of its pumps and stores to the food it sells.

Colorado flag

In-house barbecue, homemade fudge and Beaver Nuggets (puffed corn coated in brown sugar and caramel) are among the customer favorites.

Unlike most gasoline stations, its restrooms are spacious and feature private stalls. Employees start at $15 an hour.

DENVER — A bill to ban flavored tobacco and nicotine products has been introduced into the Colorado Legislature.

If it passes, it would include a ban on sale of flavored vaping products, e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, hookahs, chewing tobacco and cigars. It would take effect in July.

State Senator Kevin Priola said it was his experience with his 14-year-old son's vaping that led him to join forces with the promoters of the bill. He believes manufacturers use flavored products to hook teens into smoking and he cites federal studies showing teens started by using them.

The City of Denver passed a ban in December that was less restrictive, but the mayor vetoed it.

The proposed legislation penalizes any retailer who sells flavored tobacco/nicotine products in the same manner as those who sell to minors.

Opponents said it would put many small retailers out of business and was un-necessary because the problem is fading.

DENVER — Governor Jared Polis has backed off an immediate increase in the gasoline tax he had promoted, which was set to take effect this summer.

He wants to delay the two-cent hike until January. He needs the support of both parties to do so, but Republicans had already balked at the increase and Democrats are expected to go along with the delay. "When families are struggling to keep up with costs, now is not the time for the gas tax to keep up with inflation," its intended purpose, the Governor said.

The increased gas tax is an integral part of transportation funding legislation passed last year in an effort to tackle the state's crumbling roads and bridges. There has been no increase in decades. The legislation provided for two cents rise this year and one cent more per year until 2028. Previous efforts to get voter approval for additional road funding have failed.

Democrats are on board with the proposal to delay. They say it won't compromise efforts to address climate change and takes into account the fact people are still struggling to meet the high cost of inflation.

"Over time the gas tax will be adjusted for inflation," said Polis. "But now is not the time. Let's show people relief at the pump."

Also figuring into the decision is a new infrastructure spending package passed by Congress which will send billions of dollars to Colorado.

DENVER — The Colorado Retail Council is working on an initiative to put to the voters in November to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine.

The state requires 124,000 signatures to get an initiative on the ballot.

The move follows the 2019 voter approval to allow the sale of full-strength beer in those outlets. It is already facing opposition from the liquor store lobby, which successfully blocked the beer sale for years before losing the battle.

One liquor store owner said he lost fifty percent of his business when the beer measure took effect and he predicted he would have to go out of business if this one is approved.

COLORADO SPRINGS — "Smash and Grab" which has hit retailers hard across the country, is now trending at Colorado gas stations.

In one weekend three convenience stores here were hit, causing thousands of dollars of damage.

During a ninety-minute spree on a Saturday night, starting at Sam's Smoke Shop in the southwest part of the city, thieves shattered storefront windows and stole items.

Half an hour after the first break-in thieves broke windows and stole merchandise from a Valero gasoline station on the north side of the city.

And twenty minutes after that another Valero on the east central side was robbed in the same manner.

No one has been arrested.

DENVER — Choice Market has a new ground-breaking project in the works — the first autonomous convenience store on a health care campus.

Expected to launch in late 2022 on the Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, it will use artificial intelligence and cameras to enable customers to self check-out. The project is a joint venture between Choice Market and Health Hospitality Partners of St. Louis.

The format will allow health professionals, patients, and their families to eat high quality, nutritious food while on the campus.

Plans call for a Pan-American kitchen, producing custom bowls, tacos, burritos, salads and sandwiches from healthy ingredients that will be purchased from local vendors.

The partnership hopes to expand the idea nationwide.

Choice Market was founded in 2017 by Mike Fogarty and from the start dealt in revolutionary formats. Currently there are three Choice Market locations in Denver.

DENVER — Griffin Fast Lube, a Jiffy Lube franchisee, has donated $10,000 to families whose homes were destroyed in a wildfire in December in Boulder County. A thousand families were displaced.

LONGMONT — A developer has been given the green light to build a convenience store and restaurant but faces unusual hurdles.

The City Council agreed to re-zone an eleven-acre tract to allow a 7-Eleven convenience store and a taco joint on the site where a farmhouse and buildings that are part of the old Dickens Farm Homestead have stood since 1885.

Developer United Properties Inc., must work with the Historic Preservation Commission to establish some form of recognition of the history once the structures are torn down.

Other problems to be overcome are the need to dedicate five acres to protect a greenway, and a 150-foot riparian setback. The council was assured the fuel tanks would be more than 200 feet from the edge of the riparian area, for a total of 350 feet from the gulch. A portion of the area is also within a 100-year floodplain and the land is an oddly shaped parcel.

DENVER — Gasoline prices in Colorado in March averaged $3.96 a gallon, remaining below the national average of $4.33, but up from $2.81 a year ago. In Colorado Springs the average was $3.92, three cents higher than the day before, nearly sixty cents from the previous month, and $1.35 over the same period last year. If, as expected, it hits $4 it will set an all-time record. The previous high was $3.983 on July 17 2008. Pueblo stood at $3.91; Denver, at $3.94. The highest was $4.35 in Durango, followed by $4.23 in Vail.

Originally published in the April 2022 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2022 by KAL Publications Inc.

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