Hess gas stations are still a staple stop on morning commutes for many New Tampa and Wesley Chapel residents, despite a recent announcement of Hess’ departure from the retail market.

In a letter to investors dated March 4 from chairman and chief executive officer John B. Hess, the Hess Corporation announced some significant changes in the company’s structure, the “culmination of its multi-year strategic transformation into a pure play exploration and production company.”

As part of the transformation, Hess announced that it will be “fully exiting the company’s downstream businesses, including retail (gas stations), energy marketing and energy trading.”

Currently, there are three Hess locations in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel areas along Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., including the Oak Ramble shopping plaza (just south of Tampa Palms), in front of Steak N’ Shake in North Palms Village and at the intersection of BBD and S.R. 54 in Wesley Chapel. However, these stores, nor any of the 1,357 others in 16 states in the eastern U.S. will actually be closing.

“We have absolutely no plans to close any of our retail stores,” says a spokesman for the company. Instead, as part of its divesture from the retail market, Hess will be selling its white and green gas stations, although a buyer (or buyers) has not yet been announced.

“The process is still in the early stages,” the spokesman says. “It’s going to take some time. Until then, it’s business as usual at all of our locations. We believe the brand is strong and that it will last long into the future.”

And, that also goes for the classic Hess toy trucks, as well, which have been a Christmas favorite since 1964. — MW

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