Albertsons, which operated 300 fuel centers before selling them after the company was bought by SuperValu, is re-entering the market.
The Boise-based supermarket chain on Monday opened Albertsons Express, a combination fuel center and convenience store across the parking lot from the company’s full-size grocery store at Parkcenter Boulevard and Apple Street.
The operation includes 12 gas pumps and a 3,100-square-foot convenience store. The store, which was constructed on a pad that formerly held a Pizza Hut, sells doughnuts, fresh fruits and sandwiches brought from the grocery store, at the same prices as in the larger store.
The store has a walk-in beer cooler and a digital soda machine, offering Pepsi and Coke products as well as Gatorade. There’s hot espresso drinks and two kinds of cold-brew coffee, regular and a nitrogen-infused blend that is extra smooth and has the appearance of a Guinness beer.
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The store also has a drive-through lane, open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“We’ll get them a coffee with two creams and sugar, a fountain drink or hot dogs, whatever they want,” said Rachel Jones, fuel center sales manager for Albertsons’ Intermountain Division.
The fuel center pumps are equipped with chip readers for credit and debit cards. The station also offers ethanol-free gasoline along with other blends.
Albertsons opened its first Albertsons Express store in Eagle in 1997, Jones said. The company operated 11 gas and convenience stores in the Treasure Valley before selling them to Boise-based Stinker Stores in 2011.
When Albertsons bought Safeway in early 2015, after splitting from SuperValu, it acquired a large number of gas stations operated at Safeway stores. With the opening of the Apple Street Albertsons Express, the company now has 395 gas stations, said Mark Schumacher, Albertsons’ senior director of fuel and convenience.
Albertsons now operates three gas stations in Idaho. It obtained the other two, in Kuna and at Lake Hazel and Five Mile roads in Boise, when it purchased the Homedale-based Paul’s Market chain in early 2016.
Jones said the store has another amenity: a spectacular view of the Owyhee Mountains.
“I don’t think most convenience stores have this view,” she said. “The sunrises are spectacular.”