Blueox Corp. Sells Off C-store Chain Citing the Plight of the Midsize Operator

The 11-store Neighborhood Market chain will be picked up by Stewart's Shops.

OXFORD, N.Y. — Blueox Corp. is saying goodbye to the convenience retailing business after 35 years, citing increased difficulty to remain competitive as a midsize operator in today's convenience store landscape.

The Neighborhood Market chain of 11 c-stores will be picked up by fellow New York operator Stewart's Shops.

On its Facebook page, Blueox said that midsize c-store operators can no longer remain competitive, and that it has become increasingly difficult to find continued success in the industry. In convenience, the models of success are built by either single-store operators who can keep expenses low, or by larger chains with strong buying power and increased support through vertical integration, according to the operator.

Blueox, based in Oxford, will continue to operate its growing energy business, delivering fuel oil, kerosene and propane, as well as continue to offer heating and cooling services.

"Our stores have been a valuable part of our organization and complemented our retail fuel distribution and HVAC operations. As the industry shifts away from the midsized chains, we wanted to find a company with dedication to its employees and the communities they serve," said Blueox Corp. President Jared Bartle. "The decision to sell did not come easily. Our stores, and especially the people in our stores, are deeply embedded into our corporate culture and it’s for that reason we sought a buyer whose priorities most closely aligned with ours. We believe most of our employees will not only continue employment with Stewart's Shops but they will also be provided additional growth opportunities and ownership. This was very important to Blueox.

"As we realign our long-term goals and continue to reinvest in the delivery and service divisions of our company, I’m excited at the opportunities to come," he added.

The sale of the Neighborhood Market chain is expected to close in September.

"This acquisition will increase Stewart's Shops footprint further into the central New York market," noted Stewart's Shops President Gary Dake. "We look forward to this opportunity to further serve the Blueox market that they have served so well for the past three plus decades and we look forward to welcoming Blueox employees to the Stewart’s family."

Saratoga Springs-based Stewart's Shops operates more than 335 c-stores across New York and in southern Vermont.