The signs have been changed, and many other modifications have started to appear in the three new Circle K stores in Bowling Green.
The former Barney's Convenience Marts on North Main and South Main streets, and the East Wooster Street store at Campbell Hill Road, became Circle Ks officially on Tuesday.
Brian Koenig, regional director for Circle K, is excited about the additional opportunities for Bowling Green.
"We were interested in expansion in the area," Koenig said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon. "Bowling Green is a great community, we like Bowling Green."
Koenig also oversees the two current Circle K stores in the city.
"They are great stores," he said of the new acquisitions, when asked about having so many stores in the same city.
He believes the public will like what the company is planning for the stores.
"The current store (at Wooster and Prospect streets) has been very well received," Koenig stated, adding he was confident the new Circle K stores will also find success.
Remodeling of the new Wooster Street store will start Monday; the store will be open during the six-week project.
The two Main Street stores were being fitted with new shelving and new coffee equipment on Tuesday. The regional director indicated he expected those stores to be totally remodeled as well, likely within a year. He also indicated they will be converting to the Polar Pop trademark fountain dispensers soon.
All three of the new stores will remain 24-hour operations. However, Koenig did indicate during remodeling there may be some short closures.
The regional director declined to discuss gasoline pricing; however, on Tuesday, the new stores were selling gas at a higher price than any other location in the city.
Koenig now oversees 44 stores in Northwest Ohio, which are all company-owned. While he works out of his home in Wauseon, the base of operations is in Akron.
His district encompasses Lima, Bucyrus, Toledo and everything to the Indiana and Michigan borders. Among the current stores are locations in Perrysburg and Fostoria.
Koenig said most of the employees of Barney's have stayed on to work for Circle K, including two of the three store managers.
"I think everyone will be very pleased," he summarized.
Barney's stores convert to Circle K - story from 9-22
Three Barney's Convenience Mart and BP gas stations in Bowling Green were closed this morning as they are converted to Circle K stores.
A fourth store, the one closest to Interstate 75 on East Wooster Street, remained open today and will remain a Barney's location.
According to Roy Clark, vice president of J-F Enterprises and operators of Barney's, the propane tanks from the South Main Street location have been moved to the remaining Barney's in Bowling Green.
He indicated the sale has been in the works for five months.
"It took a little bit longer than we thought, but it got done yesterday," he said.
Because of the age of some of the gas tanks, Clark said there were environmental problems before the sale was complete.
He said everything was finalized overnight and it was his understanding that Circle K had hoped to reopen the stores as of 7 this morning.
"However, they did have a lot to do," he conceded.
He stated that Circle K had also bought the Subway franchises which are located within the North Main and the second East Wooster Street location.
Calls to the three stores were unanswered this morning.
Clark said the other stores in Rossford and Perrysburg will remain as Barney's.
He said this morning they have sold five of their 37 outlets, with the other 32 remaining open.
Clark said in addition to the three Bowling Green stores, the company has sold one of two locations in Waterville and a store on Monroe Street in Toledo.
The two Waterville locations were in close proximity and Clark said they really only needed one store, noting the upcoming bypass of U.S. 24.
"We are just trying to become leaner, we want to be like GM," he said.
He indicated the remaining Bowling Green store will maintain its rewards and coffee programs.
Despite Clark's upbeat take, there have been rumors of financial problems within the organization. Last week most of the area Barney's stores stopped taking credit cards. A sign posted on each gasoline pump indicated there was some sort of computer problem.
Clark referred questions about the conversion of the stores to the Circle K operation to a spokesperson from that organization. A voice mail message was left and had not been returned as of press time.
Circle K currently operates two other locations in Bowling Green, a convenience store at 425 E. Wooster St. near the railroad tracks, and the former Sterling store and gas station at 103 N. Prospect at the intersection of East Wooster Street.