Indiana-based Ricker’s plans to open more convenience store/gas station operations, including expanding in and near Columbus.

The company opened a Ricker’s north of Taylorsville, plans another that will open this month near Ogilville and is negotiating to build two more in the Columbus area.

The company is building four to five stores per year and opening them in communities reached by their marketing campaigns across the central part of the state, said Jay Ricker, who founded the company with his wife, Nancy, a co-owner.

The company took a look at Columbus and liked it a lot, Jay Ricker said, adding, “We think it will be a good drawing place.”

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Previously, the closest Ricker’s was near Indianapolis.

Ricker’s opened a store across from the Edinburgh Premium Outlets mall last month and is completing construction of another at Interstate 65 and State Road 58. The Ogilville location is set to open Aug. 27, Ricker said. A manager, assistant manager, food manager and some cashiers have been hired and are in training, he said.

The Ricker’s near Edinburgh is a 4,700-square-foot convenience store and gas station, according to the site plan approved Jan. 15 by the Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department, planning director Jeff Bergman said. The one near Ogilville is slightly smaller, at 4,500 square feet, according to site plans approved Jan. 20, he said.

Ricker said the Edinburgh store has special offerings such as made-to-order Tex-Mex food, freshly ground coffee by the cup and frozen yogurt. The Ogilville store will have the same offerings, except for the frozen yogurt. When it opens, it will offer a promotion of free fountain drinks for all employees of nearby commercial businesses until Sept. 1.

The company is negotiating to buy two properties in the Columbus area and hopes to open one of them next year and the other in 2017, Ricker said. When the company announced plans for the first two stores last fall, it had in mind to open two more to strategically cover the area with locations on each side of town, he said.

“We think we need to have enough brand presence,” Ricker said.

New stores

Ricker’s opened a convenience store across from the Edinburgh Premium Outlets mall and will have one open by Aug. 27 at Ogilville. Here are some details.

Edinburgh: Address is 11940 U.S. 31 North. Site planned approved Jan. 15 by the Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department said it is a 4,700-square-foot convenience store and gas station. Store opened in July. Special offerings include made-to-order Tex-Mex food, freshly ground coffee by the cup and frozen yogurt.

Ogilville: Address is 3534 W. County Road 450S. Site plan approved Jan. 20 by the Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department said it will be a 4,500-square-foot convenience store and gas station. Special offerings will include made-to-order Tex-Mex food and freshly ground coffee by the cup. Employees of the surrounding commercial businesses can receive free fountain drinks until Sept. 1 by showing their work IDs.

Sources: Columbus-Bartholomew County Plannings Department; Jay Ricker, founder and co-owner of Ricker’s.

About the company

Ricker Oil Co. was founded in 1979 by Jay and Nancy Ricker in Middletown, Indiana. He previously worked for Shell Oil Co. for seven years. The first convenience store was purchased in 1989 in Middletown. The company’s headquarters is in Anderson. Ricker’s employs more than 700 people and will have 56 stores by the end of the year.

Sources: rickersrewards.com; Jay Ricker.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.