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Monday, December 13, 2021

Startup firm with eye for growth buys Quik Mart chain in Tucson

Source: Oil Express
By Donna Harris

A startup company of investors experienced in finance and large retail operations has purchased the 17-unit Quik Mart chain in Tucson, Arizona, with the intent to snap up more convenience retailers, according to NRC Realty & Capital Advisors, which advised the seller.

Southwest Convenience SPE LLC (SWC), a newly formed Delaware limited liability company, was created to acquire the Quik Mart assets, according to an NRC announcement. The terms of the transaction were undisclosed.

Average U.S. Spot Price (in cts/gal)

"This is their first significant deal, and they have a desire to grow," Dennis Ruben, executive managing director of NRC, told OPIS.

Brett Bishov, SWC principal, said in an interview the company will look to expand through new construction and acquisitions in small to midsized markets around the country, but for now it is content with Tucson, transitioning the Quik Mart stores to new ownership and adding more stores there in the future. SWC currently has no set growth target or timetable.

The company believes c-stores are a promising business if situated on “well-located” real estate. “Regardless of fuel demand, there are still going to be people compelled to buy convenience items from well-merchandised convenience stores,” he said.

All 17 Quik Mart stores are in the Tucson area, 15 owned in fee and two subject to long-term leases. Eleven of the stores sell fuel, and all but one of the stores are branded Chevron.

The sites that have fuel will continue with the Chevron brand, but all the stores will be renamed and remodeled. A signature food service program also is likely in the future, Bishov told OPIS.

In Tucson, about 90% of the fuel is retailed through unbranded stores and Circle K dominates the market with a 45.36% market share based on store brand, according to OPIS MarketSharePro. QuikTrip (24.78%) and Speedway (10.98%) rank second and third, respectively. The branded outlets

retail fuel at an average of 9cts/gal above market, while the unbranded stores on average post prices 2.5cts/gal below market. Quik Mart ranks No. 8 in market share based on store brand at 3.21%, and it sells fuel about 4.76cts/gal above market, OPIS figures show.

Quik Mart, a second-generation, family-owned retailer, was founded in 1965 by grocer J. Wesley Little with the purchase of three stores. The stores stock a wide array of grocery items, four of them also sell made-to-order food under the Hungry's Subs and Salads proprietary offering, and three stores sell hot foods under the Hot Stuff Pizza franchise, according to the announcement.

The c-store chain was named "Best Convenience Store" by the Arizona Daily Star's Reader's Choice Awards for the past three years.

SWC is owned by Bishov, Robert Berg, Kevin Gandy and Akash Chilka. Gandy is CEO of LPT Retail Services, which manages and operates c-stores, truckstops, car washes, fast food restaurants, quick lubes for financial institutions, oil companies, independent investors, local and national wholesalers, and receiverships. LPT's website says it has operated sites for ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Valero and Texaco. Berg has a long history in the restaurant business, Bishov said.

Bishov is also managing partner of investment banking firm Capital Insight. "My partners and I have diverse complementary skill sets from a leadership, capital

markets and best-in-class operational systems and controls perspective, which will serve us well in our efforts to enhance a great business and continue to be positive contributors in the Tucson community," he said in the announcement.

To see a list of convenience stores and gas stations for sale, click here.