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    The Lewis Group Acquired 10 Motiva Shell Sites

    The sale of the Houston area locations build on Shell's commitment to increase minority opportunities in the retail network.

    HOUSTON -- The Lewis Group LLP (TLG), petroleum marketer and operator of 20 Shell-branded convenience stores in the Houston area, acquired 10 Shell-branded retail locations here from the major oil company's joint venture, Motiva Enterprises LLC, as an effort to increase minority opportunities in Shell's retail network, and as part of Motiva's previously announced plan to transition company-owned retail sites to wholesale-supplied locations, Motiva stated.

    "TLG is a proven partner, and has demonstrated great expertise in managing our stations and enhancing the Shell brand in Houston," Paul Stanifer, south region general manager for Motiva, said in a statement. "TLG's outstanding track record of customer service will serve to strengthen and grow our network."

    As reported first in a CSNews Online newsflash yesterday, TLG -- a family-owned company that has operated Shell-branded sites in the greater Houston area for more than four years -- will sell more than 17 million gallons annually through the stores and serve as a wholesaler for Shell-branded fuels, the company stated. All 10 sites will operate under the Shell brand, the company stated. The purchase price could not be disclosed.

    "We look forward to continuing to serve Houston-area motorists," Sherman Lewis III, president of TLG, said in a statement. "And providing them with a consistent supply of gasoline at competitive prices."

    Earlier this year, Motiva formed a partnership with the National Urban League to encourage qualified minority candidates to seek opportunities in the retail fuels industry, in an effort to achieve more diversity in the network, according to the company.

    "We are proud to be members of the Shell-branded network, and we look forward to expanding our offerings and growing our business across greater Houston," said Lewis. "As members of the National Urban League, we commend Motiva on its commitment to support minority-owned businesses and increase diversity throughout its network of Shell-branded stations."

    TLG, owned by Sherman Lewis II, his son Sherman Lewis III and daughter Orgena L. Singlton, is the parent company of TLG Properties, TLG Fuels and TNL Inc. The company is a member of the National Urban League, Greater Houston Partnership and NAACP, and was recognized as one of the largest minority-owned businesses in Houston by the Houston Business Journal. the company's stores have consistently scored strongly on customer service evaluations and enjoyed an increase in gasoline volume, company spokeswoman Anne Peebles told CSNews Online.

    The divestment is part of Motiva's plan to sell company-owned retail locations to wholesale-supplied locations, in an effort to grow the Shell brand and improve the network’s long-term sustainability, the company stated. The plan, which began in 2005, calls for the transition of Shell’s remaining 2,000 company-owned stations and 400 retail supply contracts left in its network during the next two years, CSNews Online reported in early October. There are more than 500 shell stations in the Houston market, of which Motiva owns 90, according to Peebles.

    Areas that will be transitioned during that time include Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, Fairfield, Conn., Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Portland, Alaska, Sacramento, Hawaii, Washington D.C., southeast Florida, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and remaining sites in Los Angeles, Peebles told CSNews Online in October. The transition is under way and is expected to continue into 2009, she added.

    To date, Shell has transitioned markets in Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver and Indianapolis. Meanwhile, its joint venture, Motiva, transitioned markets in Atlanta, Austin, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Orlando, southwest Florida, Tampa, Memphis and some individual sites in Connecticut, according to the company.

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