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Canadian company to buy Holiday convenience store chain

The Holiday station at the intersection of Midway Road and U.S. Highway 53 near Pike Lake Tuesday afternoon. The chain of gas stations has been sold. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)1 / 2
The Holiday Stationstore on 40th Avenue West in Duluth. Alimentation Couche-Tard, a Canadian company, has agreed to purchase the chain's Minnesota stores. (Barrett Chase / bchase@duluthnews.com)2 / 2

Canadian convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard has agreed to purchase Minnesota-based Holiday Stationstores, in a deal announced Monday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Couche-Tard expects the sale to close during the fourth quarter of 2018. Couche-Tard’s agreement with Holiday includes all of the issued and outstanding shares of Holiday Stationstores and certain affiliated companies.

“We are pleased to entrust Couche-Tard with carrying forward the Holiday brand and our highly successful programs,” Holiday CEO Ronald Erickson said in the news release. “Our 90-year history and our promising future are being placed into excellent hands.”

Quebec-based Couche-Tard — French for “night owl” — plans to keep Holiday’s operational headquarters in Bloomington, the company said in the news release.

Founded in 1928, Holiday operates 522 stores — 374 company-owned and 148 franchise locations — across 10 states, centered in the Upper Midwest, and employs nearly 6,000 people. It has a significant footprint in the Northland, with more than 40 locations across the region. It’s been competing head-to-head with newly arrived Kwik Trip in a number of those communities, including Duluth, Superior, Cloquet, Hermantown and Two Harbors.

Holiday also owns and operates a fuel terminal in Newport, Minn., that supplies one-third of the stations, as well as a food commissary that produces and provides fresh and frozen food to all

Holiday stores.

“The acquisition of Holiday is a great fit for Couche-Tard and will allow us to continue to build on our geographical growth strategy,” said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Alimentation Couche-Tard. “We believe there are tremendous synergies between the two companies and that it also gives us a great entry point into the Upper Midwest and in particular a strong position in the Greater Twin Cities metropolitan area.”

Couche-Tard operates close to 14,000 stores in Canada, the U.S. and more than 20 other countries. It has operations in 42 U.S. states, with many stores using the Circle K brand name, and employs about 94,000 people in North America alone.

Its Canadian brands include Mac’s, which has more than a dozen convenience stores in Thunder Bay.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press contributed to this report.

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