The owner of 17 central Indiana ampm convenience stores plans to rebrand the shops as Ricker's early next year.
Anderson-based Ricker Oil Co. is changing the name on the stores, which it acquired in 2008 from a division of oil giant BP, to match the remainder of its 50 Indiana stores. The ampm chain is a BP subsidiary.
Ricker will spend at least $1 million across the 17 stores on new signage, a rebranding of fountain offerings as Ricker’s Pop and new point-of-sale terminals, said CEO Jay Ricker. The changes will take place starting in mid-January and should be done by February.
“In a very competitive market, it’s better to have a cohesive brand,” Ricker said.
The local stores have carried the ampm name—more familiar to customers on the West Coast—since mid-2008, but Ricker Oil's moves suggest it has been eager for a rebranding.
Shortly after the deal with BP closed, Ricker reopened two previously shuttered BP stations at Washington and Emerson streets and at 16th Street and Tibbs Avenue, branding them as Ricker’s.
And Ricker Oil sued BP in U.S. District Court in October 2009, claiming the company charged unjustified royalty fees while delivering no boost from its national advertising, proprietary computer system or bulk-purchase pricing. Court records show Ricker agreed to drop the lawsuit in March.
Jay Ricker said his company reached an agreement with ampm after both determined "we could grow our gasoline share quicker if we had our own brand."
BP continues to supply the chain's petroleum products, he said.
The chain will need every advantage as an already competitive fuel and convenience store market gets even more crowded.
Turkey Hill Minit Markets, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co., opened its first Indianapolis store in October and plans to add at least five more by the end of 2011 in an aggressive expansion.
The largest player in the market is Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, a subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corp., which operates 57 convenience stores in the city and another 20 or so in surrounding areas. The company is based in Enon, Ohio.
Another big player in the Indianapolis convenience-store market is Village Pantry, which has more than 40 locations around town.
The chain, formerly a part of locally based Marsh Supermarkets Inc., now operates as VPS Convenience Store Group and is based in Wilmington, N.C., after a spinoff from Marsh by parent company Sun Capital Partners of Florida.