Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

storewanderer
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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by storewanderer » June 20th, 2018, 5:53 pm

pseudo3d wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 11:12 am
jamcool wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 6:50 am
Gas brands come and go in the Phoenix market, 76 and Mobil have returned, Sinclair seems to be popping up everywhere, there are still a few Diamond Shamrock and Texaco sites
There are still Diamond Shamrock stores in Phoenix?! I thought Valero had converted them all, as they had announced 10 years ago, and one by one they all eventually closed or converted to Valero (during this time, the Stop N Go name was also discontinued in favor of Corner Store).
There are still lots of Diamond Shamrocks in New Mexico and Colorado. Some are dealer sites others are CST sites. Valero never went 100% with the conversion in some markets for some reason.

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by a42887 » June 21st, 2018, 2:21 am

storewanderer wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 5:53 pm
There are still lots of Diamond Shamrocks in New Mexico and Colorado. Some are dealer sites others are CST sites. Valero never went 100% with the conversion in some markets for some reason.
They test marketed the Valero brand in Colorado right after the merger. No one knew what the hell Valero was, and they made the (smart) decision not to mess with the really good brand recognition in the market. I think the stragglers outside of Colorado are mainly dealers that won't put the money into a conversion.

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by pseudo3d » June 21st, 2018, 10:33 am

a42887 wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 2:21 am
storewanderer wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 5:53 pm
There are still lots of Diamond Shamrocks in New Mexico and Colorado. Some are dealer sites others are CST sites. Valero never went 100% with the conversion in some markets for some reason.
They test marketed the Valero brand in Colorado right after the merger. No one knew what the hell Valero was, and they made the (smart) decision not to mess with the really good brand recognition in the market. I think the stragglers outside of Colorado are mainly dealers that won't put the money into a conversion.
Problem is I don't recall seeing the Valero brand in most of Texas before the merger, either, as well as the Corner Store name, which only appeared on some stores (not even of Stop N Go) only after the Valero merger. There were Corner Stores in Waco (the red pentagon logo) where DS was a stronger brand, but I can't remember any in College Station, and I think that despite some heavy pushing elsewhere, as well as advertising, only one in College Station was actually a new-build with Corner Store (which I believe was after they officially split ways).

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by jamcool » June 21st, 2018, 10:52 pm

Apparently Fast Fuel is a private brand owned by Empire Petroleum, who bought a number of CST sites from Circle K.

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by storewanderer » June 21st, 2018, 11:16 pm

a42887 wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 2:21 am
storewanderer wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 5:53 pm
There are still lots of Diamond Shamrocks in New Mexico and Colorado. Some are dealer sites others are CST sites. Valero never went 100% with the conversion in some markets for some reason.
They test marketed the Valero brand in Colorado right after the merger. No one knew what the hell Valero was, and they made the (smart) decision not to mess with the really good brand recognition in the market. I think the stragglers outside of Colorado are mainly dealers that won't put the money into a conversion.
Valero has been a weak brand since its forced inception (back when the old Valero took over a block of Exxon Stations divested in the San Francisco Bay area and had to brand them per FTC Order very quickly after the take over- before the UDS merger- there were no "Valero" branded stations before that). They would have been better off keeping the existing Diamond Shamrock, Ultramar, and Beacon brands and just expanding those.

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by a42887 » June 21st, 2018, 11:34 pm

storewanderer wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:16 pm
Valero has been a weak brand since its forced inception (back when the old Valero took over a block of Exxon Stations divested in the San Francisco Bay area and had to brand them per FTC Order very quickly after the take over- before the UDS merger- there were no "Valero" branded stations before that). They would have been better off keeping the existing Diamond Shamrock, Ultramar, and Beacon brands and just expanding those.
This 100%. That was a major f-up on their part. DS has been around forever in most of their core markets.

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by jamcool » June 22nd, 2018, 6:43 am

Yet Valero and also Marathon are major advertisers on cable TV

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by wnetmacman » June 22nd, 2018, 6:58 am

a42887 wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:34 pm
storewanderer wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:16 pm
Valero has been a weak brand since its forced inception (back when the old Valero took over a block of Exxon Stations divested in the San Francisco Bay area and had to brand them per FTC Order very quickly after the take over- before the UDS merger- there were no "Valero" branded stations before that). They would have been better off keeping the existing Diamond Shamrock, Ultramar, and Beacon brands and just expanding those.
This 100%. That was a major f-up on their part. DS has been around forever in most of their core markets.
I could call Valero a lot of things, but weak brand isn't one of them. Valero had a problem of Standard of New Jersey proportions. They were marketing under a half dozen names across the country. Valero was long a part of the company. It was a unifying brand. Folks near oil knew and trusted it, and it was neutral enough to close the other names. I know Diamond Shamrock still appears on many stations. In most cases it was an economic reason; the station owners couldn't afford the change. Valero didn't force it. They also have the Shamrock secondary brand, though it hasn't taken off.

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by storewanderer » June 22nd, 2018, 10:21 am

wnetmacman wrote:
June 22nd, 2018, 6:58 am
a42887 wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:34 pm
storewanderer wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:16 pm
Valero has been a weak brand since its forced inception (back when the old Valero took over a block of Exxon Stations divested in the San Francisco Bay area and had to brand them per FTC Order very quickly after the take over- before the UDS merger- there were no "Valero" branded stations before that). They would have been better off keeping the existing Diamond Shamrock, Ultramar, and Beacon brands and just expanding those.
This 100%. That was a major f-up on their part. DS has been around forever in most of their core markets.
I could call Valero a lot of things, but weak brand isn't one of them. Valero had a problem of Standard of New Jersey proportions. They were marketing under a half dozen names across the country. Valero was long a part of the company. It was a unifying brand. Folks near oil knew and trusted it, and it was neutral enough to close the other names. I know Diamond Shamrock still appears on many stations. In most cases it was an economic reason; the station owners couldn't afford the change. Valero didn't force it. They also have the Shamrock secondary brand, though it hasn't taken off.
From a motorist perception, Valero is a weak brand. They have not upheld strong branding standards (like, say, Chevron on the west coast, which is quite different from Chevron in the South) for their stations at all. The majority of decent Valero sites were the CST sites which were generally in great shape, clean, and provided a good motorist experience. Take those out of the network and you have what is a really poor network of sites.

Valero brand had less than 200 stations and all of those were in northern California in the early 00's when it was announced Valero would be the new brand they would fly throughout the southwest and mountain states where it was previously never used before on a gas station... I don't know how unifying it was. More of a steamroller maybe. They kept Beacon and Shamrock brands as "low end brands for stations that could not meet the standards for the Valero brand." I think those standards were bathroom and pay at the pump. So they did not really unify anything. All they did was change Diamond Shamrock to Valero for ego purposes.

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Re: Circle K acquiring "Corner Store"

Post by pseudo3d » June 22nd, 2018, 12:23 pm

wnetmacman wrote:
June 22nd, 2018, 6:58 am
I could call Valero a lot of things, but weak brand isn't one of them. Valero had a problem of Standard of New Jersey proportions. They were marketing under a half dozen names across the country. Valero was long a part of the company. It was a unifying brand. Folks near oil knew and trusted it, and it was neutral enough to close the other names. I know Diamond Shamrock still appears on many stations. In most cases it was an economic reason; the station owners couldn't afford the change. Valero didn't force it. They also have the Shamrock secondary brand, though it hasn't taken off.
The Shamrock name in Texas, even as a budget name, has largely disappeared just like Diamond Shamrock did. There were only a small handful that I remember seeing, and all are now gone, including one in Cedar Creek (went independent), Hempstead Road in Houston (modern design, with yellow on green instead of green on white, still around until a few years ago but now a Chevron), and in New Braunfels (Sac-N-Pac was the convenience store, and changed names and stopped selling gas after Stripes took over SNP). The Diamond Shamrocks that I remember in College Station were one of two times, very old 1980s-style stores (or earlier), only a few survived into Corner Store/Valero (they were the small "convenience store under the canopy" variety), these were the types that were often in rural areas, and have closed down or rebranded. A few (I believe they were all Circle K stores at one time) were of the modern variety after Conoco left, and those are all Texaco stores now, all of them operating under different names now, but one of them ended up as a Speedy Stop and got sold to TETCO, meaning its actually a 7-Eleven now and might switch names if/when the Stripes stores in the area convert.

The Valero brand first reared its head in my area around the mid-2000s when it took over a local Exxon. Most of the Houston Valero stores nowadays are Corner Store, as Stop N Go was based in Houston, and Diamond Shamrock took over (ironically, Stop N Go went with Diamond Shamrock to avoid a merger with Circle K soon after buying it out of the market). Between tons of urban stores in places like Houston (where Stop N Go got discarded in favor of Corner Store) and out in the sticks (usually mom and pop country stores), DS was a popular Texas brand and it made little sense to change it. Valero also must have had some sort of contract with CST when it spun off, as most (but not all) Corner Stores built after that date were Valero stations. That was the era when Corner Store (which started out as Diamond Shamrock's "generic" food mart name) was at its best, and I'm surprised that Circle K is converting the stores to the gas name as well, with no sort of "contract" deal (like how the Sunoco Stripes are staying as Sunoco even after they get converted to 7-Eleven).

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