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    Swiss Farms Owners Buy Coffee Chain

    Former Sunoco, Wawa exec Paul Friel will spearhead both chains.

    Philadelphia -- MVP Capital Partners, owners of the Swiss Farms chain of drive-up dairy and convenience stores based in Broomall, Pa., has reportedly agreed to purchase the Saxbys coffee shop chain for $2 million in cash and debt. Paul Friel, the former Wawa and Sunoco executive who currently runs Swiss Farms, will take over as CEO for Saxbys and supervise the expansion of both brands through franchising, according to reports in Philadelphia-based media outlets.

    MVP, run by investor Robert E. Brown, has owned Swiss Farms since 2003.

    "There's great demand for high-end coffee," Friel, a former district manager for Sunoco's retail operations, told Philly news columnist Joseph DiStephano. He'll compete with Starbucks and Wawa.

    "We franchise. That [enables us to] better reflect neighborhoods than the big chains. We're part of the community we're serving," said Friel.

    Swiss Farms has a dozen stores in Delaware County and a new one in Charlotte, N.C., under its first-ever franchisee, Mike Lang. A second will be opened by ex-Fox 29 weatherman Frank Cariello in Raleigh, N.C., this fall.

    Saxbys has 24 stores in the Philadelphia, Dallas, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Las Vegas areas, down about one-third from its peak in the late 2000s.

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