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    Spartan to Open Gas Stations

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grocer and wholesaler Spartan Stores, Inc., based here, wants to sell gas and will put convenience stores and pumps at an unspecified number of its 54 Family Fare Supermarkets and Glen's Markets, the company said last week.

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grocer and wholesaler Spartan Stores, Inc., based here, wants to sell gas and will put convenience stores and pumps at an unspecified number of its 54 Family Fare Supermarkets and Glen's Markets, the company said last week.

    Ground will be broken on the first Glen's Quick Stop station Aug. 26 in Harrison, Mich., and another site is expected be selected later this year, the company said. Spartan's gas stations will be branded Quick Stop, and thus will be known as Family Fare Quick Stop in the West Michigan market and Glen's Quick Stop in northern Michigan.
    Two of the company's primary competitors, Meijer and Wal-Mart, already offer gasoline.

    "This move is part of our commitment to being a neighborhood market," Spartan spokeswoman Jeanne Norcross told Progressive Grocer. "We believe convenience, access, and service are important to our customers -- that's what they've told us. Making this service available is part of the range of products we want to offer to make it easier for consumers today to meet their time-starved needs.

    "We're in the process of evaluating each site to see if it lends itself to space and mobile zoning requirements," she added.

    The 1,000-square-foot convenience stores will offer ATM machines, lottery tickets, bread, milk, and other food items, including deli sandwiches and doughnuts made in the adjacent grocery store.

    Norcross said the company plans to pursue some cross-marketing opportunities, as well as promotions and discounts.

    Spartan Stores, Inc. is the nation's eighth-largest grocery distributor, with warehouse facilities in Grand Rapids and Plymouth, Mich. The company distributes more than 40,000 private label and national brand products to 330 independent grocery stores in Michigan. Spartan Stores also owns and operates 54 retail supermarkets and 21 deep-discount food and drug stores in Michigan and Ohio, including Family Fare Supermarkets, Glen's Markets, and the Pharm.

    --Jenny McTaggart

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