Bi-Lo creates 'fuel frenzy'

Bi-Lo creates 'fuel frenzy'

September 15th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Bi-Lo employees Kayla Abbott, left, and Ronda Hicks fill Libby Phillips' gas tank Wednesday at the Mobil station on Hixson Pike. Bi-Lo teamed with local radio stations to give clues to lead people to the station and gave away 100 gallons of gas.

Bi-Lo employees Kayla Abbott, left, and Ronda Hicks...

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Helen Jared, of Chattanooga, was one of the first of 100 people who took up Bi-Lo's offer Wednesday for up to 20 gallons of free gas.

She said her subcompact Smart Car probably would take only about three gallons, but free gas is free gas.

"I think it's pretty cool," Jared said, adding that she called her daughter, who was in line in the car behind her.

Seizing on the elevated price of gasoline - a gallon of regular unleaded is on average almost $1 more than a year ago in the Chattanooga area - Bi-Lo plans to offer its Fuel Frenzy promotion again today.

As it did Wednesday, Bi-Lo will partner with area radio stations and reveal clues every hour and a half about the location of a mystery gas station. The last clue will air at 1 p.m. and the first 100 customers to find the station will receive a Bi-Lo voucher for up to 20 gallons of free gas.

With regular unleaded selling for $3.41 at the Tigermarket at Hixson Pike and Lupton Drive, a 20-gallon fill-up equaled $68.20. If every car pumped all 20 gallons, that set Bi-Lo back about $6,820.

Stephanie Ryals, marketing manager for Bi-Lo's Bonuscard, said the program fits in with its recent Fuelperks effort. Started in August, Fuelperks offer shoppers a savings of 5 cents per gallon, up to 20 gallons, of gas for every $50 in qualifying purchases.

Ryals said about 30 percent of customers who earn Fuelperks are redeeming so far.

Elizabeth Ingram, a spokeswoman for Chattanooga's biggest grocery chain, said workers turned a few people away Wednesday at the Tigermarket after the first 100 filled up.

The fuel winners were serviced at the store's pumps in about an hour, she said.

Libby Phillips, of Chattanooga, who was the first in line at the Tigermarket, said that with the high price of fuel and her lack of employment, the no-cost gas-up of her Yukon sport utility vehicle will help.

"It will about fill it up," Phillips said.

Nick Girard, of Chattanooga, also in line, said he called his friends to tell them.

"I wish it happened all the time," he said.