A Boulder family-owned tobacco and gas company has broadened its reach in the southeast coast.
The Cigarette Store Corp., which does business as Smoker Friendly, has been operating since 1984 with nine family members actively working. On Monday, the company announced that it had acquired 22 Tobacco Road Outlet stores in North Carolina.
“My dad, when he bought the business, he encouraged all of us to go to work for someone else after finishing up school,” said Mary Szarmach, Smoker Friendly senior vice president of governmental and external affairs.
Szarmach’s father and Boulder-native Terry Gallagher Sr. is celebrating his 60th anniversary this year in the oil and gas industry. Under the Smoker Friendly brand, the company owns 20 Gasamat convenience stores in the United States.
“We’re kind of a unique Boulder-based business because we’re not high tech or we’re not natural foods, but I guess fuel and tobacco are necessities in life,” Szarmach said of the success of the company.
Szarmach and two of her brothers, executive vice president Dan Gallagher and president Terry Gallagher Jr., take care of the day-to-day operations. Terry Gallagher Sr. still manages one of the Gasamat convenience stores in Boulder.
According to Szarmach, the Tobacco Road locations bring the company to 157 retail operations, including tobacco stores, cigar lounges, liquor stores and gas stations. These fall under the banners of Smoker Friendly, Tobacco Depot, paylesscigarsandpipes.com and Gasamat. The company has about 700 employees.
Rex and Andy Whitaker, the owners of Tobacco Road, turned to Smoker Friendly after nearly 30 years of business to prepare for their retirement, according to Szarmach.
“These stores provide a great opportunity to expand our corporate store footprint with our existing company stores in the mountain states and Florida,” said Terry Jr. in a prepared statement. “We are very excited about bringing these stores and their great team into our portfolio.”
Though Tobacco Road staff will remain the same, the Smoker Friendly name and products will rebrand the acquired locations. Smoker Friendly now operates in eight states including Colorado and North C