Village Pantry Adds Nine Stores

Village Pantry Inc. has acquired nine convenience stores in central Ohio from Petro Acquisitions, Inc. The stores, formerly operated by AmeriStop Market, will be rebranded under the Village Pantry banner. Each store averages 2,700 square feet and, like most traditional convenience stores, offers quick snack items, lottery tickets, money orders, prepaid cellular and gift cards and sells branded fuel. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

In October, Village Pantry bought 33 convenience stores in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio from Imperial Co. Inc. of Mount Pleasant, Mich. The company now operates 188 stores in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Village Pantry was part of locally based Marsh Supermarkets until owner Sun Capital Partners of Boca Raton, Fla., separated it into its own business last May. Sun bought Marsh in the fall of 2006 for $88 million, plus the assumption of $237 million in debt.

"We are delighted to add this important Ohio market to our growing Midwest footprint," said Mick Parker, president and CEO of Village Pantry. "We expect to take advantage of the economies of scale offered by this transaction and be better positioned to enhance the value proposition for our loyal customers as we continue to introduce new merchandising concepts."



Huff’s Calling It Quits

Huffman Oil Co. Inc., the Burlington, N.C.-based motor fuels distributor and operator of Huff’s Neighborhood Stores, is divesting all 35 of its stores in central North Carolina and Virginia.

Huff’s Neighborhood Stores are well positioned and have significant customer loyalty, said James Barnwell, owner of Huffman Oil. But facing increased competition and tough retail fuel margins, the company decided it was in its best interest to divest its retail assets in order to focus on its dealer and fuel distribution business.

In order to maximize the value of the company, hired Matrix Capital. Matrix was able to execute on a competitive sale process that resulted in the chain’s acceptance of offers on 32 of the stores to date: Quality Oil Co. contracted to acquire 16 of the stores and has already closed on 14 of them. In addition, Boulous Properties LLC contracted to acquire four stores; Krisha Inc., three stores; and other buyers include M.M. Fowler Inc. and Rose Oil Co.

The stores sold approximately 45 million gallons of motor fuels per year, with the majority of that volume being sold at its 30 Shell branded locations. In addition, the stores sold approximately $23 million of convenience merchandise items per year. The company owned 29 of the properties and leased the other 6 from third parties.

"Having made the decision to divest our retail operations, we knew it was imperative that we seek the best organization to maximize our return and make the process as simple as possible," Barnwell said.


7-Eleven Adds Texas Stores

7-Eleven Inc. continues to be surprisingly active in the acquisition business after reaching a deal to lease 27 stores in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market from Quik Way Retail Associates LLC. The stores will be rebranded 7-Eleven and will continue to sell gasoline under the Shell brand. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

These locations are part of 88 Shell-branded retail stores Motiva Enterprises LLC (Motiva) of Houston sold to Quik Way. Motiva markets Shell-branded gasoline in the eastern U.S.

"Adding these 27 locations to a strong market like DFW will complement our current operation and add more convenient access for local consumers," said Allen Pack, a division vice president for 7-Eleven. "Over the course of the next several months, we will remodel these stores and add equipment for our signature products, like fresh food and grill items, coffee, Slurpee and Big Gulp beverages."

Initially, the stores will be company-operated and then franchised to qualified business people in the area.

Pack, who is responsible for 878 stores in the five-state area of Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah, said, the deal gives 7-Eleven 252 stores in the DFW market. The chain operates approximately 7,500 stores in North America. "These store additions support our goals of growing our operation in key markets and increasing economies of scale to our infrastructure and advertising," he added.


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