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Thursday, March 10, 2022

As MAPCO Divests Sites, The Wills Group Picks Up Locations
The company acquires six convenience stores in Virginia from MAPCO

Source: Convenience Store News

LA PLATA, Md. — The Wills Group is adding six convenience store and gas station sites to its company network.

According to the La Plata-based company, its subsidiary SMO Inc. picked up the six sites from MAPCO. The deal, which closed on March 3, comprises c-stores along the Virginia I-95 corridor and in Warrenton, Va.

SMO will operate the six stores with the fuel locations becoming a part of the Wills Group's fuel network. With this acquisition, the Wills Group and SMO will now operate 277 locations across the Mid-Atlantic region and expand its presence in the truck diesel market.

"We're excited about the addition of these six locations to the Wills Group's strong family of brands across our retail business, which also include Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash and SMO Motor Fuels," said Joe Wills, executive vice president of fuels marketing and real estate for the Wills Group.

"These locations support our efforts to strengthen our presence along the I-95 corridor north and south of Richmond, Va., and also allow the Wills Group to expand our footprint with the addition of the Warrenton, Va., location. We look forward to working across these communities to demonstrate the Wills Group's commitment to serving our customers and their communities," he said.

The Wills Group is working to complete the process of transitioning supplier and vendor agreements to SMO and is also working to integrate the MAPCO locations into its retail fuels and c-store operations.

Divestitures are part of MAPCO's 2022 agenda. Last month, the Franklin, Tenn.-based company announced it was exiting the Louisville, Ky., market as it turns its focus to innovation in its main markets.

"We have been making significant investments into improving our guest experience at existing stores as well as growing the MAPCO brand in new locations," the company said in early February. "During 2022, we expect to execute 20-plus projects between refreshes and new-to-industry locations."

Recently, MAPCO targeted Tennessee and Alabama as growth areas. In early 2021, it entered the Birmingham, Ala., metropolitan market, and it opened a 5,600-square-foot flagship store in Nashville this past September.

Opportunities for Smaller Operators to Grow

This is a good time for small- and mid-sized companies to expand their presence in the industry because MAPCO is not the only convenience retailer shedding sites lately.

Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has also been making moves to optimize its portfolio. In March 2021, Couche-Tard tapped NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC to coordinate and manage the sale of 269 sites across 25 states in the United States, as well as 37 sites across six provinces in Canada.

Its latest deals included selling 25 Circle K, Kangaroo Express or Flash Food branded sites in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina to AS Capital LLC, a new company established by the principals of Gas Express LLC (GX) and Synergy Capital Investments. In addition, Majors Management LLC and its affiliates took ownership of 69 c-stores from Circle K Stores Inc. in a fourth-quarter 2021 deal. The c-stores are located in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

Couche-Tard is the parent company of the global Circle K banner.

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