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G&B Oil sells convenience stores to Wilco Hess

September 5th, 2007 · No Comments

Elkin-based G&B Oil Company Inc. has announced the sale of five GB Express convenience stores, including one in Surry County, to WilcoHess, LLC.

The sale will be completed in early October.

“It is with mixed emotions that I must announce our decision to sell our GB Express division to WilcoHess,” Jeff Eidson, president of G&B Oil Company said. “While we are disappointed to be leaving this sector of the petroleum business, we are excited about the opportunity for the future success of these locations and employees with Wilco-Hess.”

Competitive pressures, declining gasoline margins and decreased revenue from traditional sources such as tobacco, significantly reduced the operating profit of GB Express, the company stated. These issues, coupled with reduced employee opportunities, were the deciding factors, according to Eidson.

G&B Oil Company has GB Express stores in western North Carolina. WilcoHess is buying the East Bend Citgo and the Exxon outlets at 268 Bypass in Elkin, Granite Falls, N.C. 67 in Jonesville and Kernersville.

The Mount Airy GB Express on West Lebanon Street will close at the expiration of the store’s lease.

Eidson said negotiations are under way concerning the GB Express on North Bridge Street in Elkin and the store at Lewisville.

The sale was inevitable, Eidson explained: “A small chain selling to a large multi state convenience store operation has become an industry trend. Larger chains have more buying power leading to efficiencies of scale and improved profitability. We battled this trend for years with the hopes of finding an opportunity for a reasonable return on investment while providing continued growth for the dedicated employees of GB Express.”

The sale does not affect G&B Oil Company’s home heating fuel and propane delivery division, G&B Energy, which has eight offices serving 30,000 customers throughout western Noth Carolina. LP Gas magazine ranks G&B Energy as one of the top 30 propane retailers in the nation.

“This transaction will allow us to focus our attention on our core business, delivery of heating fuels and propane to our valued customers,” said Eidson.

WilcoHess is a 330-plus convenience store operation, including 40 restaurants, in seven states. Wilco stores have served the public now for 44 years.

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