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"There have been a lot of transactions; acquisitions in the industry, especially with the big oil companies like ExxonMobil [Corp.] divesting," explained Brad Wynn, founder of Buyandsellgasstations.com.
He added that those divestures spur additional sell-off activity down the road. "The divestures are usually picked up by a smaller chain; they operate [the properties] then they usually hold the optimal sites and sell the other stations," he said.
Wynn launched buyandsellgasstations.com five years ago on July 7, 2007 after noticing there was no single go-to platform to buy and sell gas stations and convenience stores. "I was with a division of Citigroup and I was financing gas stations at the time. I always talked with other people on the team about how there really wasn't a consistent way to sell your gas station or convenience store," he explained. "You can take out a local ad, you can put an ad in the USA Today, you can do one of the other online sites. But what I wanted to do was create one go-to place, whether you are a broker, a buyer or a seller."
And since the launch, the site has grown to 1,200-plus registered users including chains, single-store owners and brokers spanning every region of the country, he added.
"You see chain operators. You have a lot of single operators and a lot of commercial brokers too. It's really a mix," Wynn noted. "It is really designed for the dealers, the jobbers, the convenience store owners to be able to go on and see what is out there."
To that note, every new listing is sent out in an e-mail blast so registered users are alerted to the latest properties coming to market.
"The industry in a down economy is sort of recession proof -- not completely but gas stations and convenience stores still do well because people still buy fuel, they are still stopping in for a few things, and they are still buying cigarettes if they are smokers," he said.