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ATLANTA-Home Depot is opening a Home Depot Fuel unit in front of its retail store at 3355 Cobb Parkway in Acworth, GA. It is a 2,700-sf combination convenience store, filling station and car wash.

This follows the openings of Home Depot Fuel units in Brentwood and Hermitage, TN earlier this year and is a test of the concept. The units are targeted to attracting business from contractors as well as do-it-yourselfers and commuters, according to a Home Depot statement.

Toward that end, the Acworth location will include a separate diesel island to allow professionals to fill up large vehicles with high-speed dispensers and pay with fleet cards. The car wash will handle large pickups and vans. As an additional benefit, the store offers larger containers of coffee and bigger sizes of snacks for contractors to take to job sites.

As the locally based giant home improvement retailer evaluates the success of the test fuel locations it will decide whether or not to expand the concept to new markets. It currently projects that each fuel location will generate revenues of between $5 million and $7 million a year.

“It’s no secret that the same contractors who spend a lot of time in our stores are also heavy customers of convenience stores,” says Jim Stoddart, SVP of growth initiatives for Home Depot, in a statement. The fuel strategy, he continues, “complements our recently announced plans to reinvest $350 million in our retail stores in the second half of 2006.

“It’s another way for us to continue to grow store revenue by delivering innovation, great value and one-stop-shop convenience for our customers.” The Acworth location was chosen because of its location along a major corridor and its proximity to the existing Home Depot unit. It will be open from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Home Depot is not the only big retailer adding fuel to the mix. Costco and Wal-Mart have also added some gas stations, and grocers are also gassing up. Among the latter are Meijer and Kroger. Spartan Stores has also announced plans to add gas stations at some of its D&W locations.

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