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ST. PAUL - Hastings, Minn.-based convenience store operator Tom Thumb Food Markets Inc. confirmed that it has ceased operations, closing the last of more than 100 stores in Minnesota under its banner, according to The Associated Press.
"All of our corporate-owned stores are closing. They will not be reopened," c.f.o. Lyle Raveling told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in a voicemail message. The stores will be sold either as a whole or piecemeal to the highest bidder "and are not likely to operate under the Tom Thumb name," he said.
The newspaper said Raveling and other Tom Thumb officials could not be reached for further comment on why the chain was closing.
As of 2003, the company had 164 Tom Thumb convenience stores, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
It was unclear how many Tom Thumbs have closed or changed hands within the last few months.
In a recorded telephone message Monday from his office, Raveling said he had left the company, then added, "Tom Thumb Food Markets has discontinued operations. If you are a creditor, you will be notified shortly regarding the procedure to receive payment."
Jean Kinsey, co-director of the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota, noted that some Tom Thumbs did not sell gasoline, a competitive drawback considering nearly 80 percent of all convenience stores in Minnesota do sell gas.