North Atlantic, which operates 55 retail fuel sites under its corporate name, including 24 Orangestore convenience locations, in Newfoundland and Labrador, has struck a deal with Suncor Energy’s fuel retail business to combine their respective gas stations and c-stores in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The newly formed corporate entity, called North Sun Energy, is equally owned between both companies and will initially oversee 110 fuel retail sites, including three commercial cardlock fuel locations (55 in Newfoundland, 44 in Nova Scotia and 11 in P.E.I.).
The arrangement will mark the return of Suncor’s national retail gas brand, Petro-Canada, to Newfoundland, as a select number of North Atlantic sites will start rebranding to Petro-Canada in Q3 or Q4, starting in St. John’s, says Dave Button, president of North Sun Energy. The exact locations to undergo rebranding will be disclosed at a later date.
Button is an almost 20-year veteran of North Atlantic. He says it is a full-circle moment between the two brands, “as it was two decades ago, in 2003, when Petro-Canada sold its retail assets to North Atlantic.”
It is also something of a full circle moment for himself, professionally, too. In 2003, he transitioned from Petro-Canada, where he had been territory manager for Newfoundland and Labrador, to North Atlantic.
Since that time, North Atlantic has continued to accept Petro-Canada card products (including Super-Pass fleet card and branded gift cards).
READ: Suncor to keep Petro Canada retail business after comprehensive review
“With North Atlantic’s success in Newfoundland, our growth plan has inevitably included exploring opportunities to expand into other provinces in Atlantic Canada,” Button explains. “The opportunity with Petro-Canada to create this new venture is a great fit. North Sun Energy brings both sides together in a shared commitment to grow responsibly, while maintaining a customer-focused approach to the operations.”
On the Suncor website, Petro-Canada’s vice-president of sales and marketing Patrick Ritchie said of the new partnership: “We know that North Atlantic, and its convenience business, Orangestore, are brands that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians trust, and we are excited to build on this brand appreciation with Petro‑Canada to better serve our customers.”
In all the provinces, North Sun Energy is looking at adding new fuel retail locations.
“We have a very strong growth strategy, which will include new-to-market sites,” says Button. “We are also looking to tick a lot of boxes in terms of what consumers need and want, from fuel, EV charging and car wash services to QSR, in addition to growing our really strong convenience offering.”
Orangestore was launched by North Atlantic in 2008. It has distinguished itself with a bright, friendly in-store experience and operates a customer loyalty rewards program, YAY!
“We are proud with what we’ve created over the past 15 years with Orangestore,” says Button. “We believe a lot of the concepts that we developed could be transferable to the convenience offering in the other provinces.”
He adds that it is an exciting time for the fuel and convenience sector on the East Coast of Canada. “We have a lot of positive changes in store.”
This article was first published on Convenience Store News Canada