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Circle K to be new Speed Street sponsor

Pedestrians walk along Tryon Street while attending Coca-Cola Speed Street on May 22, 2014. Circle K replaces Food Lion as the new sponsor, and company and event officials say the arrangement is currently a one-year partnership that could eventually turn into something longer term.
Pedestrians walk along Tryon Street while attending Coca-Cola Speed Street on May 22, 2014. Circle K replaces Food Lion as the new sponsor, and company and event officials say the arrangement is currently a one-year partnership that could eventually turn into something longer term. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Speed Street kicks off next month with a new sponsorship with Circle K, the Texas-based convenience store chain that’s merging with the parent company of Kangaroo Express.

Circle K replaces Food Lion as the new sponsor, and company and event officials say the arrangement is currently a one-year partnership that could eventually turn into something longer term.

“There’s going to be a lot of energy and growth opportunity with Speed Street that we can relate straight back to the Circle K and Kangaroo partnership and the strength that they bring not only with their brand, but with their vendors. It is the absolute perfect partner for an event like this,” said Jay Howard, president of the 600 Festival Association, the nonprofit that produces Speed Street.

This is the first time Circle K is sponsoring an event of this magnitude, said Meredith Hull, a Circle K advertising manager, and the partnership is made possible in part because of Circle K’s pending merger.

In December, Canadian convenience store chain Alimentation Couche-Tard, which operates in the U.S. mostly under the Circle K brand, announced its $860 million purchase of Cary-based The Pantry, which operates primarily under the Kangaroo Express brand. There are just under 200 Circle K and Kangaroo stores in the greater Charlotte area.

Hull said the company is in the process of working out details regarding special offerings for Speed Street attendees, which will include contests and giveaways.

In addition to the new partnership, this year’s Speed Street will offer a few other updates.

“Soon you’ll see our talent lineup announced, which I think is a great improvement over what we had to offer last year. You’ll also see more driver appearances this year,” Howard said. The talent lineup will be announced next week.

Last year, Speed Street attracted about 400,000 visitors and had an overall economic impact of more than $58 million, according to a survey from the International Festivals and Events Association. Each visitor spent an average of about $237 in 2014.

Speed Street, which is presented by Coca Cola, is now in its 21st year running in Charlotte. The uptown event is free and runs from May 21 through May 23.

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Twitter: @katieperalta

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