Gate Petroleum swings in many directions. The company runs a chain of about 225 Gate Food Post stores in six Southeastern states, including Florida and the Carolinas, that sell gas and groceries and offer fleet management services. The firm is also a wholesale fuel distributor to customers throughout the Southeast. The company is also active in the real estate and construction materials businesses. In Florida Gate owns several private clubs, office buildings, and business parks. Subsidiary Gate Concrete has plants in about half a dozen states that make and sell concrete and building materials. CEO Herbert Peyton, who founded the company in 1960, owns the majority of Gate Petroleum.
Gate Petroleum has been active in real estate development in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, but the ailing US economy and real estate crisis in Florida forced the company to halt construction on a 100,000-sq.-ft. retail complex in late 2009. Because the unfinished development's sister property has lost several tenants in recent years, Gate Petroleum said it is taking a wait-and-see approach on how to proceed.
To better serve customers of its construction materials group, Gate Petroleum in 2008 acquired two concrete manufacturing plants from Arkansas Precast. The plants, located in Arkansas and Texas, complement the company's existing network of facilities, which operate in the South and serve clients on both sides of the Mississippi. Looking to stay competitive, Gate Petroleum closed two of its concrete plants in Florida later that year and shifted production to its Texas facility, closer to the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The company has likewise been right-sizing its petroleum marketing operations. In early 2009 Gate Petroleum sold about 10 stores in North Carolina to Canada's Couche-Tard, which operates the Circle K chain of convenience stores in the US. The petroleum dealer is banking on biofuel to take its business forward. It is building a 55 million-gallon ethanol and biodiesel terminal in Jacksonville, slated to open in 2010. Gate Petroleum said once construction on the $90 million facility is complete, its Jacksonville stores will begin selling E10, a blend of gasoline and ethanol. – less