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GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- The convenience store and fuel retailing industry may be in a period of transition, with legislative and economic changes posing new challenges to retailers, but that doesn't have to be a negative thing. According to Empire Petroleum Partners, which announced yesterday its merger with the Quik-Way Group, such a period has its advantages.
"The major oil companies are getting out of the downstream platform," Empire's General Counsel Travis Booth told CSNews Online. "That lends itself to great opportunities to companies such as Empire to continue to grow our platforms."
Booth went on to note that while much of the "older generation" in the industry owns fuel distributorships, Empire is starting to see that the younger generation does not want to get into this business. "There's opportunity there as well," he said.
Following the merger with Quik-Way, which comes after nearly a year of preparatory groundwork, the new combined company is continuing to operate under the name Empire Petroleum Partners, with the main corporate office located in Maryland. Through the Quik-Way Group, which distributes fuel to more than 230 customers and controls the real estate interests of 87 properties, Empire’s reach now extends to Texas and Louisiana. Previously, Empire distributed fuel products to gas stations in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, and North and South Carolina.
"The Texas and Louisiana markets were markets we were trying to penetrate for the last 18 months," said Booth. "This transition allows us to penetrate those markets pretty heavily, so we're happy."
Now part of Empire, Rick and Alan Golman, managing members of Quik-Way, will still participate in the business. Rick Golman will serve as an executive vice president and manage the Southwest division of Louisiana and Texas, while Alan Golman will serve as senior vice president in charge of corporate development. "They will still have a very active role in the company going forward," Booth said.
Current customers and employees of Quik-Way Group's properties shouldn't expect major changes right away. "Their group has operated a very successful business over the years and we will let it run its course and continue," Booth explained. Instead, Empire plans to take the best practices of the combined company and implement them across its portfolio.
To capitalize on existing successes, Empire plans to make use of Quik-Way's existing personal relationships and other resources in Texas and Louisiana. Alan Golman especially will continue to foster relationships with oil companies and landlords.
According to Booth, Empire isn't content to rest on its laurels; its goals are to "grow current markets and expand into additional neighboring areas as well," he said. "Empire, as a combined entity, is very excited about these opportunities."