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Published: Saturday, 12/23/2006

Barney's taking NW Ohio lead

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Owners of Barney's Convenience Mart say they will become the largest retailer of gasoline in northwest Ohio with the addition of 24 BP stations.

Armada Oil & Gas Co., of Dearborn, Mich., finalized the purchase of the BP stations in Lucas and Wood counties on Dec. 16 and will convert the convenience stores to Barney's, said Allie Berry, vice president. The gas will continue to carry the BP name.

The purchase price wasn't disclosed.

When combined with the 10 existing Barney's marts, the company will have 34 service stations dispensing 70 million gallons of gasoline a year, said Roy Clark vice president of operations in Toledo. Before the deal, Barney's sold 17 million gallons a year.

In contrast, Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, the next largest retailer, has 27 locations in metro Toledo, according to that firm's Web site.

As part of Armada's deal with BP, existing Barney's stations will convert to BP/Amoco gas from Citgo on Feb. 1, Mr. Clark said.

Signs will be changed by spring, Mr. Berry said.

"There was an opportunity for Armada to buy these stores, and they picked them up," Mr. Clark said. "Their plan is to expand and build more or buy more in this area."

When it negotiated the deal to buy the BP stations early in the fall, Armada committed to adding up to 21 convenience marts in northwest Ohio that will get gas from BP, said Valerie Corr, a BP spokesman in Chicago.

Armada Oil is the largest BP marketer in Michigan and the third largest in the United States, according to the industry publication Convenience Store News.

It entered the Toledo market with the purchase this year of J-F Enterprises Inc., which was owned by a local family that founded the Barney's chain in the 1960s. Besides the gas station, J-F owns and operates 360 Fitness, a 24,000-square-foot gym and day spa in Maumee.

Contact Gary T. Pakulski at:

gpakulski@theblade.com

or 419-724-6082.



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