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Catch the Spirit

ARLINGTON, Va. - Responding to the wave of oil mergers that has halved the number of major brands over the past five years, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) unveiled its "Spirit" brand at its conference last week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

While details remain sketchy, including securing supply agreements, PMAA, an umbrella group to 42 state associations, told CSNews Online that it will tap its state organizations to recruit marketers looking to convert existing locations or to build Spirit stations.

In addition, PMAA has contracted Trademark Graphics of Baton Route, La., to design a branding image that features an eagle and the traditional patriotic colors of red, white and blue.

"We had looked at a retro, art deco look to play off the older sites that will be rebranded to Spirit. But there was an interest in playing to a patriotic theme," said PMAA Vice President Holly Tuminello.

PMAA is the first trade organization to launch its own petroleum line. Based on the success of Virginia-based Liberty Petroleum LLC -- a venture by three petroleum marketers who created a franchised brand -- PMAA stands favorably to grow an alternative brand to the Major Oil lines.

"There aren?t any brands out there any more," said Tuminello. "There are many markets where the number of brands available to our jobbers is getting fewer and fewer. We had twice the number of brands just a few years ago."

PMAA formed Petroleum Marketers Oil Co. (PMOCO) as a limited liability outfit to administer the program. Franchisees will pay a $1,000 fee for the first station to be branded and $500 per subsequent unit. Franchises will run for a 3-year term followed by four 5-year terms.
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