HASTINGS, MN-Tom Thumb Food Markets Inc. confirmed it has ceased operations, and has closed the last of what were once 164 convenience stores in Minnesota under its banner. A message to those calling in says that Tom Thumb Food Markets has discontinued operations, and tells creditors they will be notified shortly regarding the procedure to receive payment.

Lyle Raveling, the locally based company’s chief financial officer, says the stores will be sold either as a whole or piecemeal to the highest bidder and will likely no longer operate under the Tom Thumb name.

As of 2003, the company had 164 Tom Thumb convenience stores, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. The convenience store sector has faced heightened competition from other retailers as well as tough economic conditions.

Some of the Tom Thumb stores suffered a disadvantage in that they did not sell gasoline.

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