Alimentation Couche-Tard is Canada’s largest convenience store chain, with more than 9,400 stores in North America, including Circle K stores in the United States. The company was founded by current chairman Alain Bouchard in 1980 and opened its first store that year in Laval, Quebec. The French name “Couche-Tard” roughly translates to “night owl” in English, and the company’s logo features a winking owl. Other company banners include Couche-Tard, On the Run, 7-jours, Dairy Mart, Daisy Mart and Winks.
After 20 years of success in Canada, Couche-Tard broke into the U.S. market in 2001 with the acquisition of 172 Bigfoot convenience stores from Johnson Oil Company of Columbus, Ind. Two years later the company acquired America’s second-largest convenience chain, Circle K Corp., from ConocoPhillips and subsequently rebranded all of its American stores Circle K. Other U.S. acquisitions included The Pantry in 2015, Cracker Barrel in 2016 and Holiday Stationstores in 2017, all of which were rebranded Circle K. In 2020, Couche-Tard was in the hunt for Marathon Petroleum’s 3,800 Speedway stores before bowing out to 7-Eleven’s winning bid.
Headquarters: Laval, Quebec
CEO: Brian Hannasch (since 2014)
Number of US & Canadian Locations: 9,414
2020 Sales: $31.1B