DAYTON, Tenn. - After four decades of operation, a pair of staple Jiffy 7 Till 11 stores here have been sold to Knoxville's H.T. Hackney Co., a national brand that distributes a myriad of products around the eastern part of the country.
Dayton's Jiffy stores will now operate under Aztex Petroleum, a chain of Hackney-owned convenience stores and gas stations with locations across Tennessee and North Carolina.
Hackney Chairman and CEO Bill Sansom said the Knoxville company wasn't on the prowl for gas stations to buy in Dayton, rather that Bill and Tony Robinson -- founders and owners of the Jiffy 7 Till 11 franchise -- contacted Hackney saying they were ready to sell their Dayton stores and prepare for retirement.
"We've known them for a long time," said Sansom. "They kind of got to talking to some of our people."
Hackney has purchased other area stores from the Robinson brothers, whose Robinson Enterprises Inc. is based in Athens, Tenn.
Hackney is the 109th largest privately held company in the U.S., according to Forbes, with $3.95 billion in 2013 revenue. Hackney also owns companies that make and sell their own products, including Uncle Ray's, Holland House Furniture and Natural Springs Water Group. Hackney also recently purchased Ooltewah-based Great American Deli.
"We do a lot of business in that area," said Sansom.
He said Dayton's two stores will eventually change over to the Aztex name and offer a wider variety of hot, prepared foods like doughnuts, pizza and soups.
"We'll gradually do that," Sansom said.
Other Hackney-acquired stores in the area will keep the Jiffy name, and many will carry BP fuel.
For Dayton, meanwhile, the arrival and now sale of its Jiffy stores have slightly wider implications, maybe a sign of things to come.
Jiffy carries the distinction of being one of the first non-locally-owned service and fuel stations to move into the Dayton market back in the early 1970s.
Before Jiffy arrived, most of Dayton's fuel stops were owned and operated exclusively by local residents. And unlike now, there were once a handful of gas stations downtown.
These days, only the Jiffy stores remain in the downtown district. Barring a few exceptions, Dayton's convenience stores are primarily located along Highway 27, which sees more traffic and offers greater visibility.
Vaughn Berger, president of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, wonders if the sale of Jiffy's number four and number eight stores is a sign of things to come.
"Dayton's getting a lot more attention right now," said Berger. "I think it's something that's potentially going to continue."
Contact staff writer Alex Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6480.