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Published: Thursday, 9/28/2006

Toledo convenience-store chain sold

A Dearborn, Mich., company has bought the parent firm of the 10-store Barney's Convenience Mart chain and the 360 Fitness gym in Maumee for an undisclosed price.

Armada Oil & Gas Co. bought the stock and all operations of J-F Enterprises Inc., which has been run by co-owners Marilyn Fox and Robert Richard since they bought it in 1985 from her father, Joseph Frank Ziemianski.

The convenience store chain grew from the Big Barney Auto Wash, the area's first automated car wash, which Mr. Ziemianski had opened on Laskey Road in 1966. The company has more than 160 employees.

Asked why she's selling now, Mrs. Fox replied, "We had an offer we couldn't pass up."

Mrs. Fox said Armada plans to keep the Barney's name for the convenience stores, although the gas stations most likely will switch from Citgo to BP Oil.

She said it is her impression that the new owners plan also to continue to run the 24,000-square-foot 360 Fitness, which opened in late 2003 one block west of Reynolds Road off Dussel Drive in Maumee.

The owner of Armada Oil, which operates in southeast Michigan, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr. Richard plans to retire to Colorado, and Mrs. Fox will remain in the Toledo area and run the Mazie Foundation, which she founded in 2000 to assist battered women and children.

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