BP Moved Retail HQ

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BP Moved Retail HQ

LA PALMA, Calif. -- BP PLC recently moved the headquarters for its U.S. chain of gas stations and convenience stores from Naperville, Ill., to here, while cutting 117 jobs from the West Coast office as part of a previously announced plan to cut 5,000 jobs by mid-2009, the Orange County Business Journal reported.

The company employs about 200 people in La Palma, who now handle relations with franchises, rather than supporting company-owned and -operated locations, as BP is divesting its 700 convenience stores to franchisees, the report stated. In addition, the headquarters will be home to field operators who visit franchise stores, according to the report.

Job cuts in La Palma were mostly in marketing and sales, and there are no plans to add jobs to the office, according to the report, which cited BP. The former home to BP's retail headquarters, Naperville, Ill., is closing and saw the heaviest job cuts -- at about 350 administrative workers, the Orange County Business Journal reported, citing the company. It's unclear if any of those workers are transferring to La Palma, the report stated.

At the store level, 9,500 workers were cut from BP's payroll, and franchises are expected to hire most of them, according to the report.

In other BP news, the company's "Guitar Hero" contest in Chicago had aspiring rock stars flocking to the ampm convenience store at Caton Farm Road in Joliet, Ill., where they had a chance to be recognized as the area's best player of the musical video game, the Herald News reported.

Approximately 60 players participated in the "Guitar Hero III" tournament over the weekend, sponsored by ampm convenience stores and 93.1 WXRT-FM radio, according to the report. Winners of the tournament, along with other contests being held throughout the Chicago area at ampm stores, will compete for a grand prize -- a new guitar autographed by rock band OK Go, a new "Guitar Hero III" bundle, an XBox 360 and a basket of prizes $300 from ampm -- on April 14 at House of Blues in Chicago, according to the report.

"[I'm] getting ready to make a fool of myself," Kevin Oliver, 26, of Plainfield, Ill., told the paper at the station before he competed. Oliver has been playing "Guitar Hero" for about two years.

Mike Rodriguez, 21, of Joliet, told the paper he's been playing the game since it was released.

"I play online, playing people around the world all the time -- and I win all the time," Rodriguez said.

However, he lost his match at the store, which involved playing Guns 'n' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle."

The winner of Joliet's contest, Josh Nugnet, succeeded with a score of 229,451, according to the report.