Kelsey Bishop, Community Editor

Oxford resident Kevin Wilson reaps the benefits of his Kroger Plus Card fuel perks Thursday afternoon. Customers can now get 10 cents off per gallon at Shell stations when they earn 100 points at their local store. (SCOTT ALLISON | The Miami Student)

Kroger partnered with 135 Shell stations in the Dayton and Cincinnati area so that Kroger Plus Card holders can receive fuel discounts at participating Shell stations in addition to Kroger fuel centers. The promotion began Feb. 15.

For every 100 points Plus Card holders accumulate from their spending at Kroger, they will receive 10 cents off every gallon of gasoline at select Shell stations. One point is the equivalent to spending $1.

“We have almost tripled the number of (fuel) locations that customers can get to,” Rachael Betzler, public relations manager for Kroger, said. “More people can easily find a fuel center close to them if they don’t have a Kroger (fuel center) nearby.”

Plus Card holders can only get 10 cents off per gallon per visit at Shell stations. However, the number of points they acquire will be cumulative for getting discounts at Kroger fuel centers, Oxford Kroger Manager Ed Begely said. For example, if cardholders get 200 points, they will be able to get 20 cents off per gallon at Kroger fuel centers only.

Betzler said Plus Card holders can redeem their discount in three ways: by scanning their wallet-sized Kroger card, entering the 14-digit number on the back of their card or entering an alternative identification number, which is normally the cardholder’s phone number.

“We did a small market feedback of 12 (Shell) stores in Cincinnati a while ago,” Betzler said. “We got positive feedback from customers so we decided this (partnership) would be a good thing to do.”

Other cities participating in the partnership are Knoxville, Nashville and San Diego.

“We are the largest tradition grocery store partnering with the number one provider of fuel,” Betzler said. “Everyone needs gas and groceries, so I think it’s a good partnership.”

Begely said that though he doesn’t know how long the partnership will last, he thinks the promotion is going well thus far.

“I think, for the most part, people are happy with it,” Begely said. “Now Kroger customers can drop into a participating Shell station if they’re not near a Kroger with a fuel center.”

Diane Brown, a frequent Kroger shopper and Plus Card holder, believes the partnership is definitely beneficial for Kroger customers.

“I will probably use the Oxford Kroger fuel center more often than Shell stations just because it’s closer to me, but I think it’s great that other people have the opportunity to get the same fuel perks at Shell stations near them,” Brown said.

Currently there are 51 fuel centers in the Dayton and Cincinnati division, Betzler said.

“Many negotiations take place in the city,” Betzler said. “We were happy to open up more gas stations to the public.”

In 2009, the Oxford Kroger was denied having its own fuel center. Begely said the Oxford City Council wanted to implement a Kroger fuel center after denying it last year as part of the updates and expansion of Kroger.

“Part of the expansion of Kroger was to bring in the fuel center in order to compete and keep up with customers,” Begely said. “The city planning commissioners wanted to keep the business district thriving in this area.”

For those who shop at Kroger regularly, the fuel discounts are an added bonus.

“Even though there are so many gas stations in the area, I like that Kroger has a fuel center now because I can save a lot more on gas since I already shop at Kroger,” Miami University junior Erica Beekman said.