SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Big Y Foods here said Thursday it was partnering with local petroleum marketer F.L. Roberts & Co. to open convenience stores with fuel under the Big Y Express banner.

The first outlet is scheduled to open in the fall in Lee, Mass., at Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike, several hundred feet from Big Y’s new World Class Market on Housatonic Street in Lee, which will provide product support for the new venture, Big Y said. It will feature the traditional F.L. Roberts product mix along with many Big Y private-brand products, such as Big Y milk and fresh-baked breads. It will be Big Y’s first venture into the vehicle fueling arena.


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Big Y also said the new partnership will enable both Big Y Savings Card customers and F.L. Roberts RewardsPlus customers to each save money on gas purchases as well as earn discounts toward other store merchandise.

F. L. Roberts has been supplying fuel to the previous operator of this service station site, which will now feature Big Y-brand gasoline and diesel fuel. F.L. Roberts will be the operating partner and fuel supplier of the new convenience stores, while Big Y will provide its expertise marketing snack, grocery, prepared foods and other products.

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“This new partnership gives us the best of both worlds," said Charles L. D’Amour, Big Y’s president and chief operating officer, in a statement. "On the one hand, we can learn about gas stations and convenience stores. On the other, we are able to provide our expertise in food coupled with a strong private brand to enhance the experience for our customers."

Big Y currently operates 60 stores throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. F.L. Roberts & Co. — a family-owned company like Big Y — operates a network of automotive service companies that includes 26 convenience stores, 19 car washes, nine Jiffy Lubes, two truck refueling centers and the Whately Diner.

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