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VPS Convenience Store Group Buys Virginia Oil Co.

VPS Convenience Store Group, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., acquired Virginia Oil Co., a fuel wholesaler and operator of 17 convenience stores in western Virginia. With this acquisition, VPS now operates 419 stores in seven states — Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

This latest acquisition is another step in building the VPS presence in the Mid-Atlantic region. In January, VPS acquired 22 stores in northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia that were formerly operated by APPCO Convenience Stores.

Virginia Oil, which was founded in 1967, sells premium fuels under the BP, CITGO and Liberty brands. Several stores have fast-food partnerships with McDonald's, Blimpie and Dairy Queen. In addition, Virginia Oil has its own proprietary food brand, Everyday Café, in multiple locations.

“We are pleased to add Virginia Oil Company to the VPS group of stores,” said Jared Wien, vice president at Sun Capital Partners. “VPS continues to grow through intelligent additions such as Virginia Oil. Through this transaction, we are able to successfully expand our presence in the region as we continue to build a national convenience store platform.”

The VPS Convenience Store Group, headquartered in Wilmington, N.C., operates under six brand names: Scotchman, Village Pantry, Lil Cricket, Young's, Next Door Stores and Everyday Store. It offers premium fuel brands such as Exxon, Mobil, Marathon, Valero, BP, Shell and its own proprietary brand, Carolina Petro.

VPS Convenience ranked 27th on the 2011 Convenience Store News Top 100 list (see CSNEWS, May 23 issue). It is also the 18th largest company-operated chain in the convenience store industry.

BMO acted as exclusive financial advisor to Virginia Oil Co. for the sale. The Cogent Group, a private real estate investment firm based in Dallas with offices in New York, provided sale-leaseback financing for the fee-owned properties in conjunction with this acquisition.

EPA Fines Three Companies for Illegally Mixing Gas

The Environmental Protection Agency fined Western Convenience Stores Inc., Offen Petroleum Inc. and Rocky Mountain Pipeline System LLC $2.5 million for allegedly mixing and distributing more than a million gallons of illegal gasoline, The Denver Post reported.

Court documents filed by EPA officials state the company mixed certified gasoline, ethanol and a gasoline byproduct from natural gas production. EPA regulations prohibit the refining and selling of gasoline that exceeds sulfur, benzene and volatility standards.

Officials further stated the mix was sold at dozens of Western Convenience and other fuel stations and released as much as 10 tons of excess pollutants into the air.■

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