Employees Take Over Buddy's Chain

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Employees Take Over Buddy's Chain

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Buddy's Food Marts convenience store chain, headquartered here, is soon to be run by two longtime company employees, the Tuscaloosa News reported.

The chain of six convenience stores, which are currently being run by Kuykendall & Powell Oil Co., will be operated by Brayco Inc., a company owned by Buddy's employees James Smith and Brian Harvell, the report stated.

While the business changes hands, there will be no change to the operations, according to the report.

"If there could be a seamless changeover, this is as seamless as it could be," Tripp Powell, president of Kuykendall & Powell, told the paper.

Brayco will continue to operate the stores under the Buddy's Food Mart name with Parade-brand gas, the report stated. As part of the arrangement, Kuykendall & Powell will supply the stores with gas and continue to own the property, which it will then lease to Brayco, the newspaper reported.

Kuykendall & Powell CEO Buddy Powell, Tripp's father, founded the original Buddy's Food Mart in 1978, in an effort to give his oil-jobbing business an additional retail outlet, the report stated.

"When you go into the stores, you were just as likely to see dad or me in the store as our employees," Tripp Powell told the paper. The chain saw success, and expanded.

"Dad just slowly began accruing stores," Tripp Powell told the paper. "It's because Dad was born and raised in Tuscaloosa. Parade is a Tuscaloosa brand. His personal stamp is on every aspect of the business. It's that way because he couldn't help but do it that way."

At its largest, the Buddy's chain included 12 stores, according to the report. While Kuykendall & Powell still own all 12 buildings, six of the stores no longer operate under the Buddy's name, the report stated.

"Dad's been doing it for 30 years and kind of got tired of it," Tripp Powell said.