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    Atlas Oil Buys Four from Fusion Oil

    On the heels of a five-store purchase, the Michigan-based retailer is poised for growth.

    Mehgan Belanger

    TAYLOR, Mich. -- Atlas Oil Co., fuel distributor and operator of more than 40 convenience stores based here, will finalize agreements on Jan. 28 to purchase four convenience stores from the now-bankrupt Fusion Oil in Romulus, Mich.

    The four Detroit area locations -- all but one of which are currently closed -- are good pieces of property with opportunities, Mike Evans, Atlas Oil's executive vice president of business development, told CSNews Online.

    "They were very good sites. There were quite a few locations available, and we really tried to pick better locations," he said. "The Michigan market and economy is fairly tough and operations are kind of difficult, so we wanted to focus on real good pieces of real estate with long-term viable assets."

    Fusion Oil's 41 stores in Michigan and Ohio were sold as part of a bankruptcy proceeding against the oil marketer by Comerica Bank, according to a Monroenews.com report in late July. The Georgia-based auction firm, Tranzon LLC, handled the sale of the properties, the report stated.

    The Sunoco-branded sites will be rebranded to BP, Marathon and Clark following the purchase, according to Evans, who added that the one open location will continue under the current independent operator.

    This acquisition follows another five-location purchase by Atlas Oil from R & J Inc., which was completed earlier this month. Those Battle Creek, Mich., area stores will switch from the CITGO banner to BP, CSNews Online reported at the time. All remaining employees at the five stores were merged into Atlas' operations.

    These acquisitions are part of the company's two-pronged growth strategy.

    "There will be two to three new-to-industry stores we look to build this year. There will be a couple of remodels going on at sites, some are old Clark locations, some are old Shell sites," Evans told CSNews Online. "Some we'll buy through acquisitions."

    Atlas does not have a set model for store acquisitions, according to Evans, and instead, the company will look at where the seller is positioned and "if we think it can perform better or in a different business model than what is being operated in today," he said, noting that there is a possibility to acquire 20 to 30 locations at one time.

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