TORONTO - Sunoco signs have mingled with the Marathon signs above the area's Kwik King gasoline plazas.
John Riley, owner of the eight-store convenience store chain, said the Sunoco brand is now featured at the Fourth Street store in Toronto, the Kwik King on Main Street in Wintersville and the newest location off the Colliers Way exit of U.S. Route 22 in Weirton.
Riley explained that the adding of the Sunoco brand reflects Riley Petroleum servicing of stations owned by other companies.
SIGN OF SUNOCO — Three of the eight-store Kwik King chain of regional convenience food stores have switched fuel brand from Marathon to Sunoco. Owner John Riley said it has to do with his Riley Petroleum continuing to grow as a supplier.
-- Paul Giannamore
"We looked to expand our offerings of petroleum brands and we only had Marathon," Riley explained. "Sometimes, not regarding my stores, but those whom we sell to, we have a conflict in that there might be a Marathon store within a couple miles, so you can't brand it up."
He said to make the expansion of the customers of Riley Petroleum, most major petroleum companies
have a minimum level of volume to meet.
"We had to provide some of our volume to make it happen" with Sunoco, he said.
Riley said the minimum commitment is about 5 million gallons a month for a major oil company to recognize a firm as a "jobber" who can buy directly from the oil company.
Riley said having the second brand available also makes it easier to weather any supply issues that could arise, such as catastrophic events that impact production like Hurricane Katrina did in 2005.
Riley Petroleum was established in 2003, first supplying the Kwik King stores through a freight hauling company doing the delivery. In 2004, Riley bought his first oil tanker truck and has added a truck annually to the fleet, now moving about 2 million gallons of gasoline and diesel a month.
"We're excited to bring Sunoco on. It's a hundred-plus-year-old company that began in Ohio. Marathon is an Ohio oil company also," he said..
He said since bringing on Sunoco, Riley Petroleum has been able to add three stations in the region for its supply deliveries, including stations in Akron, Canton and Cadiz.
"It's opened some new doors for us," Riley said.
Riley Petroleum delivers product within about a 75-mile radius of Toronto, Riley said.
His family's Kwik King stores were established in the mid-1980s with the Fourth Street store in Toronto. It has expanded to eight locations including Weirton, Toronto, Steubenville, Wintersville, Follansbee, East Liverpool and Wellsville.
(Giannamore's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.)