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Vines west Ceres gas station rebranded to Flyers
Vineyard convenience store hosting Friday grand opening
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Vineyard convenience store at Whitmore and Morgan is now selling Flyers brand gasoline. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

The gas station at the Vineyard convenience store at Whitmore Avenue and Morgan Road now bears the brand of a Flyers station.

The Vineyard store is one of two owned by the Ceres-based E.R. Vine & Sons. The store was opened about eight years ago. The switchover from 76 to Flyers will be celebrated at a grand opening event between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday.

Jeff LeBeouf, president of E.R. Vine & Sons, explained that the change was needed to survive in a competitive gasoline market in the area.

"Ceres market is an extremely competitive market on fuel," said LeBeoud. "There's probably more AM/PMs in Ceres in this condensed area than frankly all of Modesto and AM/PMs basically have the cheapest gas on the market."

Coupled with all of the unbranded gas offered along Crows Landing Road, LeBeouf said his company decided to make a change to become more competitive.

Flyers has branded about 25 stores in California so far. Their goal in the next six months is to have 150 stores.

"It's a new brand launched by some friends of ours in Auburn," he said.

LeBeouf said he went with Flyers because he liked the image and they have a competitive credit card program for retailers.

Company representative Risse Keys noted that the store does not charge a transaction fee to use debit cards. AM/PM stations charge 35 cents to use their post of sale card swipe.

"Our gas is approximately 15 to 20 cents a gallon cheaper than it was with 76 on a regular basis," said LeBeouf.

E.R. Vine also remodeled the store's interior with the help of a Texas consultant which made recommendations to make it more attractive to more customers from the stream of 30,000 vehicles per day that travel by the station.

"We were tapping into a very small percentage of those 30,000 cars so they came back and said look, if you had a more competitive brand and maybe you tweaked the inside of your store somewhat store ... the site is worth keeping."

A retail design firm helped convert the store from its "utilitarian" appearance with new graphics and layout.

"It's basically brought it up to 2014 rather than 2005 and our customers are liking it."

Included in the operation is the only remaining Quizno's sandwich shops in Ceres/Modesto.

In addition to the Ceres station, E.R. Vine has a store on Kiernan in Salida. Vine also supplies gas to 20 open dealers which have their own business.

E.R. Vine & Sons recently celebrated its 80th anniversary of being in business.