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True North Energy Expands C-store Network in Ohio

The Ohio-based operator will pick up four sites from Free Enterprises Inc.
Danielle Romano
True North Energy logo

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — True North Energy LLC is growing its presence in the Buckeye State.

Headquartered in Brecksville, the company will pick up the assets of fellow Ohio-based Free Enterprises Inc., which includes four convenience stores, and its wholesale fuel and dealer businesses.

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Medina-based Free Enterprises was established in 1992 by James H. Patneau, Sr. as a c-store, wholesale fuel, and oil and lube business. He was joined by his son, James H. Patneau, Jr., and later by his daughter, Tonia Fisher, in 1996. 

Upon James H. Patneau, Sr.'s, retirement, James H. Patneau, Jr. and Tonia Fisher took the reins of the company. Subsequently, the oil and lube sales division was sold in 2013. Soon after, Brian Fisher joined as chief financial officer following an 11-year stint with FirstMerit Bank as senior vice president, commercial banking.

Tonia Fisher, president of Free Enterprises, said she will miss the excitement, challenges and fast pace of the convenience store industry, but after 27 years in the business she felt the time was right to step back and focus on other endeavors.

Recently, True North expanded into the Wisconsin market with the purchase of 19 fee-owned convenience store and gas locations and three unattended fueling locations from Titletown Oil Corp.

American Business Brokers & Advisors, based in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Free Enterprises, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential process, and negotiation of the transaction. The transaction was managed by President Terry Monroe.

True North Energy, a joint venture of the Lyden Family and Shell Oil US, encompasses multiple businesses, including convenience stores, car washes, a transportation business and a dealer supply business. The company has operations throughout Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.

True North Energy celebrated 100 years in business in 2019.

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