Gasoline pumps at convenience stores have long since transformed the image of what were once called "service stations" -- those places where uniformed attendants dashed out to pump your gas, wash your windows and check your oil -- but Albertson's is taking it to the next level.
The Boise-based grocery chain is currently adding gas stations to three of its existing supermarkets and two new stores currently under construction along the Wasatch Front."It's an attempt to further add convenience and value to customers' shopping trips," said Albertson's spokeswoman Jenny Enochson.
All five of the new fueling stations, to be called "Albertson's Express," are scheduled to open later this year.
Albertson's has proven the concept works. It first added gas pumps in November 1997 at its store in Eagle, Idaho. Since then, pumps have gone in at Albertson's in Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas.
Enochson said the stations typically include six to 12 fueling stations and a kiosk or convenience store ranging in size from 400 to 2,000 square feet with drinks, snacks and automotive products for sale. An attendant is on hand during store business hours, and customers may pay for gas with cash, debit or credit cards.
Gasoline for the new Utah fuel centers will be obtained from the "major oil companies," she said, "to ensure high-quality fuel at reasonable prices."
The first five Utah stores to get the new fuel centers are located at:
Salt Lake City, 140 N. 900 West, including a 1,200-square-foot convenience store and eight fueling positions. Opening is scheduled for fall.
Draper, southeast corner of 11400 S. State, a new Albertson's store currently under construction, which will include a 2,000-square-foot convenience store and 12 fueling positions. Grand opening is set for fall.
Spanish Fork, 652 N. 800 East, including a 90-square-foot kiosk and six fueling positions. Opening is currently set for May or June.
South Ogden, 5691 S. Harrison Blvd., including a 2,000-square-foot kiosk and eight fueling positions. Grand opening is scheduled for fall.
Clinton, 2000 W. 1800 North, a new Albertson's currently under construction, which will include a 2,000-square-foot convenience store and 12 fueling positions. Opening is scheduled for fall.
Albertson's is nearing the end of a complex $11.7 billion acquisition of Salt Lake-based American Stores Co. began last August that will make it the largest grocery chain in the United States -- at least until the proposed merger of Kroger and Fred Meyer goes through.
Albertson's says it expects the deal to be completed during the next seven weeks pending approvals from the Federal Trade Commission and three states in which Albertson's stores compete directly with American Stores' supermarkets -- California, Nevada and New Mexico -- thus raising antitrust concerns.