Aug. 30, 2016 04:28 PM

Photo courtesy Cracker Barrel Convenience Stores

A Canadian gas station giant will gobble up 53 Cracker Barrel quick stop locations in Louisiana and fold them into the company’s Circle K brand, the operation’s largest American store line. Couche-Tard North America’s acquisition will leap-frog the Laval, Quebec-based corporation to the top of its market, displacing 7-Eleven as the largest operator of convenience stores and gas stations in North America.

American General Investments LLC. and North American Financial Group LLC., the partnership that together owned the Cracker Barrel enterprise, will lease six of the 53 sites to Couche-Tard rather than selling them outright. Those six sites will still be converted to Circle K's.

Most of the Cracker Barrel stores are scattered around metro Baton Rouge, where the company was founded in 1968, but the brand has a familiar presence around Acadiana with 13 stores between Lafayette and Scott.

An early leader in partnering with fast food chains like Blimpie, Subway and Church’s Chicken to bolster its service offerings, Couche-Tard’s purchase includes 12 locations with on-site restaurants, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report. Cracker Barrel locations have also sited on-the-go food brands like Hunt Brothers Pizza and Landshire Fresh Sandwiches and Snacks.

With the sell-off of its store fleet, the Cracker Barrel owning partnership will exit the convenience store and gas station business.

Couche-Tard recently added more than 1,110 sites through a $4.4 billion purchase of CST Brands, a gas station and convenience store operation based in San Antonio, Tx.

Pending regulatory approval, the Cracker Barrel deal will close in 2017. The price of the sale was not disclosed.

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