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Year in Review: The Most-Read Stories of 2023

Top headlines featured network growth and new markets.
Angela Hanson
A rendering of Buc-ee's Crossville

NATIONAL REPORT — One of the hottest topics this year was the expansion of multiple major chains into new markets. Retailers shared multiyear previews of their growth plans, with the Midwest emerging as an increasingly competitive market.

2023 was also a year of significant acquisitions. Maverik — Adventure's First Stop doubled its store count with the acquisition of Kum & Go, while bp invested in highway locations through its purchase of TravelCenters of America. Readers kept a close eye on these merger-and-acquisition deals, which could reshape the competitive landscape of the convenience channel.

These are the top 10 most-read headlines of Convenience Store News Online for 2023, based on website hits:

1. Buc-ee's Takes Steps to Enter Two New States
Texas-based Buc-ee's took steps to enter multiple new markets this year, including Virginia and Wisconsin. According to planning documents submitted by the retailer, Buc-ee's plans to open a site in Virginia's New Kent County in 2027 and in DeForest, Wis., at an unnamed date.

2. Convenience Store News Unwraps the 2023 Top Women in Convenience
Eighty-six established and emerging female leaders in the convenience store industry were chosen based on nominations received from their companies and peers that drew from achievements during the previous 12 months. The 10th class of Top Women in Convenience comprised five Women of the Year, 39 Senior-Level Leaders, 35 Rising Stars and seven Mentors from across the industry’s retailer, distributor and supplier communities.

3. MAPCO Express Network Sells to Two Buyers
Majors Management LLC and Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. split the MAPCO Express portfolio in separate transactions. Couche-Tard, the parent company of the global Circle K brand, acquired 112 convenience and fuel sites in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia, while Majors purchased the MAPCO My Rewards loyalty program, the MAPCO brand and the remaining c-store and fuel locations across the Southeast.

4. Maverik Inks Deal to Acquire Kum & Go
The Sale Lake City-based retailer doubled its c-store footprint with its purchase of Kum & Go, which operated more than 400 c-stores across 13 states, for undisclosed terms. As part of the deal, Maverik also acquired Solar Transport, a tank truck carrier and logistic provider.

5.  Applegreen C-stores Coming to New York Thruway
The Applegreen brand is replacing the McDonald's restaurants that previously served the New York State Thruway system. The change is part of a $450 million modernization project to redevelop the Thruway's 27 service areas.

6.  bp to Acquire TravelCenters of America for $1.3B
In a blockbuster acquisition, bp paid $86 per share of TA common stock, adding the travel center operator's strategically located network of highway sites to bp's existing predominantly off-highway convenience and mobility business. The deal ultimately closed after ARKO Corp. made a case for itself as an alternate buyer.

7. Buc-ee's Plans First Ohio Location
In August, details emerged Buc-ee's planned site in Huber Heights, a suburb of Dayton. The first Buc-ee's in the Buckeye State will occupy 75,000 square feet on 35 acres, surpassing the company's current largest site in Sevierville, Tenn.

8.  Convenience Store News Unveils 2023 Class of Future Leaders in Convenience
The 2023 class of Future Leaders in Convenience (FLIC) featured 36 rising stars from 29 convenience store industry retailer, distributor and supplier companies. Winners were recognized and honored at the sixth-annual FLIC Summit, held Nov. 16 in Pittsburgh.

9. Wawa Plans First Stores in Ohio & Indiana
The first of several Ohio stores is expected to open in Liberty Township in 2025. Moving further west, Wawa expects to open a store in Noblesville, Ind., as part of the Midland Pointe housing and commercial development.

10.  Circle K Launches Free Membership Program
Circle K's Inner Circle program allows customers to save on fuel and merchandise, and offers them the opportunity to join as a premium member after they spend $500 at participating Circle K locations. The program launched in more than 400 select stores in Florida, with the goal to expand to more markets over time.

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