Best Oil and Little Stores, a Cloquet-based operator of convenience stores in northern Minnesota, sold 18 stores to TravelCenters of America, according to published accounts.

In a statement, TravelCenters of America that it bought 18 Minnesota stores as part of three transactions involving 26 stores that was completed on Tuesday. The firm, based in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake, Ohio, will rebrand the stores with its Minit Mart brand.

While some of these stores already feature restaurants like Subway, White Castle and Arby’s, TravelCenters said it plans to add similar eating options to most of the stations that don’t have them.

A call to a Best Oil and Little Stores executives Wednesday wasn’t returned.

The Cloquet Pine Journal reported that leaders of the firm, run by the same family for three generations, decided to sell because there was no clear successor to lead it and market conditions were favorable for a deal. Owners also plan to sell portions of the Best Oil wholesale oil distribution business, it said. They will retain a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed gas station, the only one of its kind, in Cloquet, the Pine Journal said.

The firm has Little Store units in Cloquet, Duluth, Esko, Carlton, Barnum, Sturgeon Lake, Floodwood, Proctor, Superior, Hinckley, Moose Lake, Two Harbors, Grand Rapids and Iron River.

TravelCenters also operates the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands, and runs 254 full-service locations off interstate highway exits. Its holdings include 60 convenience stores and gas stations like the recent purchases, and its business touches 43 states and Canada.


Tyler Gieseke is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.