Deal completed to sell 26 Fast Lane stores

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Paperwork completing the sale of nearly half of the convenience stores and gas stations owned by the Vicksburg-based Fast Lane chain was processed last week, Fast Lane officials said. All five of the Vicksburg stores were sold.

R.R. “Bob” Morrison III, president of R.R. Morrison & Sons Inc., operators of the Fast Lane stores, said in September he and other company officials were talking with The Pantry Inc. of Sanford, N.C. The Pantry is the second-largest independent owner of convenience stores in the country, Morrison said.

He said at the time Fast Lane planned to sell 26 of the company’s 49 stores in the region to The Pantry. Most of the stores involved in the talks were in central Mississippi, the Gulf Coast and in Louisiana. The purchase of the Louisiana stores represents entry into a new state for The Pantry.

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Morrison said Friday Fast Lane and Pantry officials signed the final agreements Thursday and Friday, effecting the transfer of all 26 stores.

He also said The Pantry will keep the Fast Lane name after the company takes over the stores.

“I am happy to say that The Pantry made offers to all of our field employees and they all kept their jobs.” Morrison said. “So when our customers come into a Fast Lane, they will see the same smiling faces and receive the same courteous greeting they have become used to.”

The sale leaves the Morrisons still owning 23 stores, which Morrison said remain on the market.

“I am still constrained from talking about that,” he said, promising to make an announcement later.

The Pantry is a publicly traded company and had stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Members of the Morrison family have been in the fuel business for three generations. They pioneered a streamlined look and stocking plans that resulted in rapid growth of the blue and yellow Fast Lane stores in the region. Fast Lane originally began selling non-branded fuel, but most are now associated with specific brands, such as Shell Oil in Vicksburg.