C-store Chains Among Arkansas' Largest Private Cos.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Convenience stores are big business in Arkansas, topping the list of the state's largest private companies in the energy sector.

According to a ranking by Arkansas Business, Flash Market Inc. of West Memphis remains at the top of the list. Flash Market supplies fuels to approximately 150 locations and operates 70 retail locations in five states.

The company reported revenue of $1.05 billion in 2013, down from $1.15 billion the prior year, but enough to put it closer to the No. 2 company on the list, E-Z Mart Stores Inc. of Texarkana, Texas. E-Z Mart owns 302 c-stores in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Flash Market and E-Z Mart remain the only energy companies with more than $1 billion in revenue, Arkansas Business reported.

Fellow convenience store operator, Summerwood Partners LLC of Bryant, also made an appearance on this year's list with $196 million in revenue. The company owns and operates Big Red convenience stores throughout central Arkansas and is a wholesale fuel distributor for brands including Valero and Fina.

Summerwood Partners also owns three grocery stores under the Family Market banner.

Other c-store retailers appearing on the list are Coulson Oil Co. Inc. of North Little Rock, and Mid-South Sales Inc. of Jonesboro.

Arkansas Business began publishing the list of the state's largest private companies in 1988. In the early  years, the list recognized 50 companies; it was expanded to 75 in 1996. Some 120 companies were surveyed for this year's list. Of the 75 that made the final cut, 61 volunteered revenue data. The rest are estimates, often from other companies and publications that undertake similar research projects, according to the news outlet. 

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