Circle K is an international chain of convenience stores, founded in 1951, in El Paso, Texas, United States. It is owned and operated by the Canadian-based Alimentation Couche-Tard. Since the 1980s, Circle K has been the largest company-owned convenience-store chain (i.e. of non-franchised stores) in the U.S. It was second in overall number of U.S. stores to 7-Eleven. However by 1989, it faced strong competition from convenience stores owned by oil companies, and Circle K declared bankruptcy in 1990. By July 2010, Circle K had dropped to fourth rank in number of stores (3,455), then behind BP (4,730 stores) and Shell (4,630 convenience stores). Some Circle K stores operate gasoline pumps selling Union 76-branded motor fuels; others sell Mobil, Marathon, ConocoPhillips, Irving, BP, Sunoco or Shell-branded fuel. Until mid-2006, nearly all Circle K stores in South Texas sold Citgo-branded fuel; however, those stores have dropped the Circle K name and now operate as Stripes Convenience Stores and are served by Valero-branded fuel. Circle K stores in northeast Ohio vary depending upon what stores they used to be: the majority are former Citgo/Holland Oil, whose gas is branded as Circle
Contributions by OlEnglish, Azumanga1, and THEunique.