by Mike Berger/The Griffin Report
From many leadership perspectives, the purchase of Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes of New York by CST Brands of Texas is a good match. The union between the two companies will continue the wishes of the late Nice N Easy founder and icon John MacDougall.
In early November, CST Brands Inc. and CrossAmerica Partners LP announced the official closing of the previously announced purchase of Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes. Based in Canastota, New York, Nice N Easy operates 77 corporate and franchise stores in Central New York. Nice N Easy has been at the forefront of the food service growth in convenience stores with the presence of its own Easy Street Eatery concept in many of its corporate stores.
CST Brands and CrossAmerica jointly purchased the assets of Nice N Easy, with CrossAmerica purchasing 23 fee sites as well as certain fuel distribution assets for $65 million. CST Brands purchased the retail operations at the 32 company-operated sites and certain other assets. CrossAmerica will lease the acquired real estate to CST and will provide wholesale fuel supply to 24 Nice N Easy sites under long term agreements. These 24 sites distributed approximately 40.3 million gallons in 2013.
“I want to welcome the dedicated employees of Nice N Easy to the CST organization,” said Kim Lubel, chair and CEO of CST Brands. “We have great respect for the business that Nice N Easy founder, the late John MacDougall, and his team built over the years and look forward to working with and learning from this experienced group.”
Added CrossAmerica Partners President and CEO Joe Topper, “We are excited to execute our first joint transaction with CST. The transaction provides the partnership with a stable source of wholesale fuel and rental income and illustrates the potential growth of the partnership with CST through third party acquisitions.”
CST Brands, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest independent retailers of motor fuels and convenience merchandise in North America. Based in San Antonio, CST employs nearly 12,000 team members at nearly 1,900 locations throughout the southwestern U.S. and Eastern Canada offering a broad array of convenience merchandise, beverages, snacks and fresh food. In the U.S., CST Corner Stores sell fuel and signature products such as Fresh Choices baked and packaged goods, U Force energy and sport drinks, Cibolo Mountain coffee, FC Soda and Flavors2Go fountain drinks.
Lubel says the Nice N Easy transaction provides CST and its new partner, CrossAmerica, with a well established and strong performing set of stores in a new market area.
“The sites have a strong food and grocery business that we hope to learn from and leverage across our network,” she said. “In addition to welcoming the Nice N Easy family into the CST Brands network, we think this deal will also signal to other potential sellers and brokers that CST and CrossAmerica plan to be active buyers in the consolidating convenience store industry.”