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Jacksons owner files to take control of Tobacco Connection & Big Smoke stores

The owners of Jacksons Food Stores appear poised to add scores of new stores to their control.

Last month, Jackson BevCo of Meridian filed with the State of Idaho for assumed business names for Big Smoke and Tobacco Connection.

Jackson BevCo lists the same address in Boise as HFO, LLC – the controlling entity for Big Smoke and Tobacco Connection. The company lists Jacksons president and founder John D. Jackson, his sister Andrea Jackson and Tasha Walker as managers. Andrea Jackson is listed as president of Tobacco Beverage Company while Walker lists herself as CFO.

[Jacksons will grow number of stores through deal with 7-Eleven]

Growing chain of stores

The chain dates to 1994, when Keith Weeks opened the first Tobacco Connection store in Nampa in 1994. Separately, siblings Hal and Dixie Baird opened Big Smoke in Caldwell in 1997. After 15 years of growth and competition, the two chains merged under the formal name “HFO,” for “Hell Froze Over. The stores now spread across Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.

The Big Smoke and Tobacco Connection locations differ from the Jacksons Food Stores and ExtraMile stores in a number of key ways. Only adults are allowed inside, and the selection is centered primarily centered on vice products – including beer and cigarettes. The specialty convenience stores also do not offer gas, although many of them operate at former gas station sites.

[Idaho AG, local gas stations reach settlement. It could save you at the pump]

We hoped to learn from the Jacksons folks what the future plans for the Tobacco Connection and Big Smoke might be, as well as what, if any branding changes customers might see.

A spokesperson for Jacksons Food Stores declined to comment, or answer our specific questions. However, the spokesperson did clarify that there are 64 stores in the Big Smoke/Tobacco Connection chain.

The Jackson family owns a collection of businesses, including Jackson Jet Center, Jackson Energy, Jacksons Food Stores, Capitol Distributing, and ExtraMile, a joint venture with Chevron. John Jackson launched his first Texaco convenience store in Caldwell in 1975 – which has expanded to more than 325 stores.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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