Southwest Georgia Oil returning to Bainbridge convenience store market

Southwest Georgia Oil Company, known locally for its former operation of “Inland SunStop” convenience stores, is returning to the Bainbridge market.

While The Pantry of Cary, North Carolina acquired the operation of four convenience stores from Southwest Georgia Oil in December 2006, the Bainbridge company retained its ownership of the properties the stores were located on.

Now, Southwest Georgia Oil is preparing to re-open a store it will manage itself at 401 Colquitt Highway (U.S. 27 North), after The Pantry decided not to renew its lease there, according to Glennie Bench, the chief financial officer for Southwest Georgia Oil.

The store on Colquitt Highway is temporarily closed while renovations are done both inside and outside the store. Bench said she expected the store to re-open around June of this year.

The Bainbridge City Council recently approved a new alcoholic beverage license for the store at 401 Colquitt Highway. Bench, who serves on the Bainbridge City Council, recused herself from the vote.

Meanwhile, The Pantry will continue its operation of its “Kangaroo Express” stores on U.S. 84 West, U.S. 84 East and U.S. 27 South in Bainbridge.

While it focused its consumer efforts on a chain of “SunValley” branded stores in Alabama, Southwest Georgia Oil has continued to provide its Inland fuels to gas stations in Bainbridge and the surrounding area. For example, there is an independently-owned gas station on Shotwell Street that is a dealer of Inland-branded fuels, and another in Tallahassee, Fla.

Once re-opened, the store at 401 Colquitt Highway will use the “Sunny Saver” brand that Southwest Georgia Oil has been using at some of its Alabama stores, Bench said.

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