Petroleum Marketing Group Adds Short Stop to Its Portfolio

The acquisition expands the company's presence into the Fayetteville, N.C., area.
Logos for PMG and Short Stop c-stores

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.  Petroleum Marketing Group Inc. (PMG) acquired 43 petroleum marketing and convenience retail stores from Fayetteville-based Li'l Thrift Food Marts Inc. and its affiliates dba Short Stop.

This is the second c-store portfolio bought by PMG within the last year. In November, the company purchased 19 c-stores and gas stations from Holt Oil Co., precipitating the latter's exit from the c-store channel.

Li'l Thrift was founded in 1971 by Vance B. Neal with a single store in Burlington, N.C.  The company nearly doubled in size in 1985 with the acquisition of E-Z Shop, a 23-store North Carolina convenience retailer before adding an additional seven Exxon-branded locations to its portfolio in 2004.  

In 2010, Vance Neal's son, Chris, took over as president of the company, and along with his sister, Mary Morketter, continued to build upon their father's legacy, including the successful implementation of a program to modernize Li'l Thrift's IT systems by integrating scanning and fuel equipment software. 

All stores operate under the Short Stop backcourt branding and offer a variety of fuel options, including 19 locations that market Exxon-branded fuel, five sites that feature the Marathon banner, 18 sites that offer unbranded fuel and one location that does not offer fuel. A related entity owned by Chris Neal, Ace Fueling LLC, will continue to serve as a common carrier hauler for the Short Stop stores.

Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Li'l Thrift, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process and negotiation of the transaction. 

"Matrix was instrumental in shaping the way we went to market, how we evaluated bids and eventually choosing PMG as the successful bidder," said Chris Neal. "My family is extremely grateful to Matrix for guiding us through the whole process. We believe that PMG will continue the same family traditions that have guided us over the years."

Larry Parker and Rakesh Parikh of Williams Mullen served as legal counsel for Li'l Thrift.

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