Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Babikian Ends Career That Reshaped Industry

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Babikian Ends Career That Reshaped Industry

Article excerpt

After dismantling the credit card operations, Babikian's staff turned its attention to developing minimarkets, a concept pioneered in small, independent gas outlets.

The new retail outlets allowed the company to charge top rents for its facilities, something that rankled dealers. For example, Babikian said station rents averaged about $5,000 a year in 1975 compared with $100,000 today.

He called Arco's AM PM outlets the "most successful convenience operation in the country."

Babikian also made sure Arco in the late 1980s embraced the environmental movement by being the first company to publicly endorse the state's plan to adopt regulations for cleaner burning gasoline.

The company was the first to offer the fuel in the marketplace.

"We're a very good company, environmentally, and we're very proud of that," he said.

Again, there's no argument from the State Air Resources Board.

"They were clearly a leader in being one of the first companies to make a commitment to the gasoline and produce it," said resources board spokesman Bill Sessa. …

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