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By Mehgan Belanger
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Kum & Go L.C., operator of more than 400 convenience stores based here, signed an agreement to purchase the 37-unit Cody’s Convenience Stores chain in southwest Missouri from Springfield, Mo.-based Cody Ventures LLC, the company stated.
The purchase of Cody’s will make Kum & Go the largest c-store operator in southwest Missouri. Currently, Kum & Go boasts 34 stores in southwest Missouri, the company reported.
"We've been in the Springfield community for a while, and have identified it as a market where we can concentrate our growth," Meggan Kring, spokeswoman for Kum & Go, told CSNews Online "In 2009 we have plans to build stores here, and Cody's saw we are strong player and when they decided to get out of the arena, they looked to us as an opportunity."
Kring added that the chain's strong presence in the Springfield market was one of the most attractive elements to Kum & Go. "It's ideal because it fits our footprint. We were growing in the area and this allows us to grow and have an even stronger base in the community," she told CSNews Online.
The acquisition is subject to the completion of due diligence and customary closing conditions, and Kum & Go anticipates the closing will take place within the next month.
If due diligence is completed as expected, Kum & Go plans to rebrand Cody's stores in March to the Kum & Go banner and add its proprietary offerings such as its Java Ridge coffee and Highland Water products, Kring said.
In addition to the convenience stores, Kum & Go will also take over Cody’s eight car washes.
"Southwest Missouri is a great place to expand and bring the latest store conveniences Kum & Go has to offer," Kyle Krause, Kum & Go president and CEO said in a statement. "We look forward to building upon the excellent relationship the Jared family has developed with Springfield, Joplin and surrounding communities."
Cody's President and CEO Curtis Jared told the Springfield Business Journal his company was approached by another potential buyer last summer, but the deal didn't work out. It did, however, spark Jared's interest in the opportunities available.
"We decided to see what else was out there," Jared said. "We feel that Kum & Go could take it to the next level."
Jared added he wants to focus his attention on his commercial real estate firm, Jared Enterprises, which owns area big-box buildings and shopping centers, and also will retain ownership of the Cody's stores real estate. In addition, Jared told the paper it's likely the company's approximately 15-member corporate staff will be laid off as a result of the purchase.
"This business transaction is a win for Southwest Missouri," Jared said in a statement. "In today’s uncertain economy, our community and associates will benefit from Kum & Go’s strong position in the convenience retail market. Their 50 years in business speaks volumes. … We wish Kum & Go the best and look forward to working with them on future real estate transactions."
Cody’s currently operates locations in Battlefield, Bolivar, Clever, Fair Grove, Hollister, Joplin, Monett, Neosho, Nixa, Republic, Rogersville, Springfield, Waynesville, and Webb City, Mo.
In other Kum & Go news, eight stores in Billings, Mont., will soon be changing names. The stores, owned by Cenex Harvest States, will be called Cenex Zip Trip stores by the end of June, according to a report by BillingsGazette.com.
The Billings stores are part of a large-scale name change as the result of Cenex Harvest States’ acquisition of 33 Zip Trip stores last March. According to the report, most of the Cenex stores -- 1,600 retail operations, including 800 convenience stores -- will be adopting the new identity.
CHS director of energy advertising, Ann Mann stated the process of changing the stores’ names and facades "will allow us to work more closely with employees and to deliver more on the Cenex Zip Trip brands."