Cox Oil Exits C-store Industry With Sale to Tri Star Energy
The operator of Little General and Maverick Quick Shop c-stores began operations in 1970.
UNION CITY, Tenn. — After more than half a century in business, Cox Oil Co. Inc. will leave the convenience store business after selling its 54 stores to Nashville, Tenn.-based Tri Star Energy LLC and certain other companies.
Cox, based in Union City, operates c-stores under the Little General Convenience Stores and Maverick Quick Shop brands. Of these sites, 52 are company operated and two are dealer operated. The majority offer one or more foodservice programs, primarily Cox's proprietary Clucker's Tennessee Fried Chicken program.
Twenty-one of the sites sell fuel under the Marathon brand, 13 sell Shell branded fuel and 20 are unbranded.
Michael Cox founded Cox Oil in 1970, building upon his family's industry roots that began with the involvement of his father and grandfather in running a small fuel station in Mt. Vernon, Ill., soon after his father returned from serving as a Marine during World War II. After Cox's own naval career ended honorably in 1970, he and his family returned to Tennessee, where he purchased three bankrupt gas station and c-store sites in Memphis.
As Cox expanded over the years, it deeply involved itself in fresh food by creating, growing and diversifying its foodservice operation while becoming a leader in on-site prepared food.
"Although it was a difficult decision for Mr. Cox to decide to exit the industry he has loved for the past 53 years, all of us at the company couldn't be more pleased than to be able to turn our business over to our good friends at Tri Star Energy," said Mark McBride, president and CEO of Cox Oil. "We have known Steve Hostetter and his partners in Tri Star for decades, and it was a very easy and comfortable decision for us to agree to sell to Tri Star. We know that our stores will be in good hands with them."
Tri Star Energy owns and operates the Twice Daily, Sudden Service and Southern Traders convenience store brands, and supplies fuel to wholesale trade channels in 17 states. Twice Daily has been serving middle Tennessee communities since 2011 and expanded to the north Alabama market in 2019.
The Tennessee-based retailer also owns premium coffee brand White Bison Coffee, with locations throughout middle Tennessee and north Alabama.
"Cox Oil is a well-established company whose reputation and core values align nicely with ours," said Steve Hostetter, CEO of Tri Star Energy. "They have great locations, many in areas where we do not currently operate. Our combined companies will feature some of the best programs and operators in our region, allowing us to continue to grow and build the brand in the future."
NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to Cox Oil and its affiliates in the sale.
"It was an extreme pleasure and honor to represent Mr. Cox, Mark McBride and Ryan Higginbotham, as well as the rest of the Cox Oil team, in bringing this transaction to a successful conclusion," said Dennis Ruben, executive managing director at NRC. "Everyone at the company was a delight to work with and was highly organized, efficient and professional. They all made our job much easier. We extend our best wishes to the Cox team and our congratulations to our good friends at Tri Star Energy."