CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolina convenience store chain Refuel is about to expand sixfold under a new business partnership.
Refuel entered into an agreement with First Reserve, a Texas-based private equity firm, in which the latter would acquire the five-store chain from owner Mark Jordan, in addition to more than two dozen stores in the Pee Dee region from Hartsville, S.C.'s West Oil Inc., reported Post and Courier.
The northeastern South Carolina stores, operating under the Markette and West Oil labels, will be rebranded and upgraded as Refuel shops. Jordan will lead the new 31-store venture along with business partner Travis Smith.
Jordan, CEO of Refuel, called the partnership with First Reserve and acquisition of West Oil "an opportunity to increase our scale and density in the attractive South Carolina market" and "accelerate our growth strategy."
First Reserve termed the retail fuel distribution sector "highly fragmented" and believes the combination of Refuel and West Oil “creates an opportunity for further expansion in "an attractive regional market," according to the news outlet.
"First Reserve has a history of backing experienced management teams with strong middle-market platforms to drive growth and create value for our stakeholders," said Managing Directors Gary Reaves and Neil Wizel.
Jordan opened the first Refuel in 2008. Today, there are five locations in Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, West Ashley and Goose Creek.
"[The stores] are designed so you know it’s not an oil company running them," Jordan said. "They have an identity to them."
The transactions are expected to close in the first half of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial details were not disclosed.