ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. — Minuteman Food Mart entered into an agreement to acquire the Friendly Mart Food Stores chain, home of the Friendly Dog.
Based in Mt. Olive, N.C., Friendly Mart Food Stores operates 18 convenience stores throughout eastern North Carolina.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Once the transaction closes, Minuteman Food Mart will grow its total store count to 63 locations.
"We are all very excited about this addition to our family," said Chris Postlewaite, senior director of retail operations at Campbell Oil, parent company to Minuteman Food Mart. "All 18 of these locations have a great food program in the Friendly Dog."
Friendly Mart Food Stores was founded by owners Michael Price and Guy Mckee in 1977. Its first store is still in operation in Faison, N.C. Neil Price joined the company in 1998 as vice president and general manager, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience operating a family wholesale business.
"Neil and Mike have done a great job building this brand and we are proud to continue their legacy," Postlewaite concluded.
Friendly Mart Food Stores currently operates across in North Carolina's Duplin, Lenoir, Onslow, Sampson and Wayne counties, employing approximately 150 people. It is an Exxon distributor with 10 Exxon locations, two Sunoco locations and six Friendly Mart-branded stores.
"Our name says it all: 'friendly', clean, well-stocked stores," the company wrote on its website. "Whether it's food or fuel, we have quality name brands at competitive prices! Our stores are packed with quality snacks, cold beverages, hot coffee and of course, everyone loves Friendly Dogs."
The company has 10 locations with full delis that also feature Picadilly Pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. Its most recent deli location is located in Surf City, N.C. The company is also a regular sponsor of the minor league baseball team DownEast Wood Ducks, based in Kinston, N.C.
After the acquisition is complete, Minuteman will add the Friendly Mart Food Stores program to its stable of foodservice offerings, which include brand partners Little Caesars Express, Arby's and Burney's Sweets Express as well as the proprietary Minuteman Kitchen, which features a wide array of selections for all three main meals plus snack time.
The transaction continues a consolidation trend among small operators in the industry. In January, Columbia, S.C.-based Winnsboro Petroleum Co. sold its 24-store Pops Mart chain to industry veterans Don Draughon and JD Dykstra, who formed Pops Mart Fuel LLC as a new entity. Corsicana, Texas-based W.G. Johnson Oil Co. announced the same month that it was selling its Tiger Totes retail locations, Exxon and Shell branded fuel distribution, and commercial business assets to Cole Distributing Co.
In addition, Norfolk, Va.-based Miller Oil Co. Inc. dba Miller's Energy sold its 21 company-operated Miller's Neighborhood Market stores, two company-owned, dealer-operated stores and more than 70 wholesale dealer accounts to Global Partners LP in February.
Elizabethtown, N.C.-based Campbell Oil is a third-generation, family-owned and -operated company that has been in business since 1946. It launched Minuteman Food Mart in 1976 as its convenience store division.