An online report has confirmed what anyone stopping by a Taylor Petroleum Convenience Store over the last month.  The convenience store business has apparently gotten too inconvenient for them.

Living within walking distance of the store at 34th & Coulter, Taylor has been anything but convenient over the last six weeks.  It has always been a contentious store but it's proximity to my abode and it not being a Toot 'N Totum always kept me coming back for more.

The real trouble started two months ago when they mysteriously ran out of canned Coca-Cola products.  As we've discussed before I have recently switched back to Coke after being a ten year Dr. Pepper drinker.  After the fourth time of going in and not getting a good answer from the clerk about why they didn't have canned drinks(the best answer I got was shrugged shoulders and "I dunno") I called the home office.

Which in itself was somewhat a chore.  There was no main office number listed in the phone book or online.  I began calling individual stores.  Finally the fourth store answered.  I was beginning the sense a trend.  I got a number, made a call and left a message.

The gentleman who called back was very helpful.  He said they were having a contract dispute with Coca-Cola.  They wanted Taylor to charge $10 twelve-packs.  I said that was no problem.  You kind of expect to pay exorbitant prices for the convenience.  Just get the stock, I'll pay whatever or go to a supermarket.

Within two weeks they finally got in canned colas.  All appeared to be well.  Then I stopped by to use the Happy State bank machine.

As I'm making my transaction(which I had to do over because I messed it up, meaning I was standing there for a bit), no less than five people came in looking for smokes.  No smokes.  They had some, but none anybody wanted.

A couple days after that they had placed "out of order" bags on all the gas pumps.  That was two weeks ago.  At this point you could get the clerks to admit the Taylor stores were for sale but past that they had no idea.  And an ever decreasing inventory.

My last visit on Saturday to pick up some beer saw three 30 packs total in where there are usually at least thirty in stock.  There was not enough beer in that cooler for the chess club meeting at Amarillo College.

They didn't have any lighters, fried food, candy bars, fewer drinks and the gas pumps were still closed.  All that was missing was a "going out of business" sign and some decent prices!

Apparently on Friday employees reported problems cashing their Taylor paychecks and Happy State ATM's had been pulled from stores.   The one at 34th & Coulter was still there on Saturday, however my Happy State debit card wouldn't work at the register.

The new owners are Fikes Wholesale, the owner of CEFCO(their website is pretty slick), a 123-store chain as of May, adding another 69-fast food stores in Tyler since.

In the announcement Fikes Wholesale CEO Jame Fikes said the company looks forward to serving customers in the new markets with "immediate plans to resupply depleted inventories".

So relief is coming, hang in there.  Until then don't make the mistake of WALKING to the store.  You may have to go home to get the car and you won't be in a good mood when you do it.

For more see this source article.

UPDATE: The sale includes all Taylor Petroleum stores in the Panhandle.