Dalton-based Fast Petroleum Inc. has signed a letter of intent to sell its 43 convenience stores to Mapco Express for $46 million, plus the value of inventory. If the deal goes through, some 350 store-level employees will be retained by Mapco, but approximately 10 employees in Fast Petroleum’s office will lose their jobs, officials said.

The deal is expected to close in 30 days. Mapco (www.mapcoexpress.com) would own 30 of the stores and take over leases for the others.

Tommy Thompson, Fast Petroleum’s owner since its inception in 1983, said the company will continue in the wholesale business.

“We will continue to deliver to dealers, commercial accounts, municipalities, things of that sort,” Thompson said. “We’ll be out of retail.”

Thompson said several companies approached him about buying the convenience stores that are located in northwest Georgia and southeast Tennessee. Mapco currently has one store in that area.

“I dealt with Mapco because they were willing to take all of our store-level employees, supervisors, operations director, security director, everything but the office staff, which they’ll handle that out of Nashville,” Thompson said. Mapco is based in Franklin, Tenn., near Nashville.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the employees,” Thompson said. “We feel like it’s a win-win for the employees and Mapco and for us.”

The employees whose jobs would be eliminated are “people that work in the office directly involved with the retail stores,” Thompson said.

“There’s always the right time, and this seemed like the right time and the right company to deal with,” he said. The convenience stores will continue to be called Fast Food and Fuel.

Fast Petroleum came into existence in 1983 when it purchased Broadrick Oil Co. Thompson has been the owner since that time.

Mapco is a subsidiary of Delek US Holdings (www.delekus.com), which refines petroleum and sells gas through its subsidiaries. Delek currently has 349 convenience stores.

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