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MACS Founder Re-Enters the C-store Business


CHESTERFIELD, Va. — Florida is once again the site of convenience store activity and this time, it brings industry veteran Steven Uphoff back to the channel.

Uphoff Ventures, based in Chesterfield, closed on its acquisition of Dion Oil Co., of Key West and Homestead, Fla. Uphoff is founder and owner of Uphoff Ventures.

"First and foremost, Dion Oil is a first-rate, efficiently run company, with a strong family tradition. The quality of their assets and their attractive locations are also something that made a lot of sense to us in an industry we are very familiar with," Uphoff told CSNews Online in an interview Tuesday.

Through the Dion Oil acquisition, Uphoff Ventures adds 11 operating convenience stores, including one new site currently under construction in Key West, to its portfolio. The locations are branded Dion Quik Mart convenience stores and one Dion grocery store. 

The convenience stores and the oil company will remain under the Dion brand, according to Uphoff.

The deal also includes the acquisition of various dealer-served fuel sites, and a CITGO bulk oil and lubes business. Uphoff Ventures also assumes the wholesale fuel supply contracts with ExxonMobil, CITGO, Marathon and Chevron from Dion Oil.

"Dion Oil Co. fits perfectly into one of Uphoff Ventures' core businesses. We have a lot of experience in the oil and gas industry and it has been the focus of my entire professional life," Uphoff told CSNews Online.

Uphoff was the founder and former CEO of Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores (MACS). The company was ExxonMobil's largest U.S. branded fuel distributor in 2010. 

Uphoff in 1998 originally founded Southside Oil, which operated 78 Uppy's convenience stores and served 229 ExxonMobil and BP dealer gas stations in Virginia and Maryland. Uppy's was acquired by the newly formed investment platform MACS in June 2010. MACS, which was backed by private equity firm Catterton Partners, was then sold to Sunoco in October 2013.  

"We are extremely pleased that Uphoff Ventures is moving forward with this transaction, which continues the legacy of my parents," said Suzanne Dion Banks, CEO of Dion Oil. "Customers of Dion retail sites will be pleased to know that our world-famous 'Quik Chik' fried chicken will become more widely available through Uphoff Ventures beyond the Florida Keys and South Miami-Dade." 

Banks will serve as an advisor during the Dion Oil transition to Uphoff Ventures. 

Dion Oil was founded in 1948 when Lawrence "Larry" Dion and his wife Florence "Flo" secured a deal to distribute petroleum products for Sinclair Refining Co. in the Florida Keys. The company grew to include multiple convenience stores under the Quik Mart banner and in 1984, added Quik Chik, a fried chicken foodservice offering. 

Uphoff Ventures owns other c-store properties, but does not currently operate any of the sites except for the newly acquired Dion locations.

Asked if he considers this his re-entry into the convenience channel, Uphoff told CSNews Online: "Yes, the business is in our blood and we think we're good at it."

Uphoff Ventures has a growing portfolio of family-owned and -operated companies spanning seven states and three countries.

In addition to the core oil and convenience store businesses, Uphoff Ventures diversified its business interest in 2012 by building large, upscale bowling and entertainment venues operated by its partner Trifecta Management Group. Today, Uphoff Ventures owns six Uptown Alley facilities that are either open, under construction or in development, including one now being built in Changzhou, China. It will be the largest bowling facility in China. 

The businesses are all co-owned by Linda Uphoff, Uphoff's business partner and wife of 40 years; and his daughter Cassandra Moore and son-in-law Steven Moore, partners at Uptown Alley.

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