Refuel Grows Its Texas Footprint via New Acquisition

The deal includes 11 company-owned and -operated convenience stores in the greater Austin market.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Refuel Operating Co. LLC is expanding its footprint in the Lonestar State.

The retail and wholesale fuel distribution and convenience store operator acquired certain assets of Austin, Texas-based Embark Energy LLC. The transaction includes 11 company-owned and -operated c-stores in the greater Austin market operating under the Fast Break brand, in addition to four company-owned, dealer-operated locations.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The Ali family has built a wonderful company in an incredible market over the past 26 years. We are extremely excited to expand our current footprint in the high-growth central Texas market and look forward to welcoming Embark's employees to the Refuel family," said Refuel CEO Mark Jordan.

Embark Energy, a wholesale and retail fuel distribution and c-store chain, was founded in 1996 by current owners Ismail Ali, Iqbal Ali and Mohammed Ali.

"We are grateful to our loyal customers and team members for their support and dedication for over two decades. Our family and business partners are excited for our team members to join a dynamic organization like Refuel to continue their personal and professional growth," Mohammed Ali and Iqbal Ali said in a joint statement. "Embark was purposeful in choosing Refuel as a steward of our family assets and we have been impressed by the care exhibited during each step of our journey. We cannot imagine a better partner as Refuel has similar operating values and commitment to our dedicated employees and loyal customers."

Refuel entered the Texas market with the purchase of Round Rock-based Wag-A-Bag LLC in May 2021. The deal included 16 c-stores located in the greater Austin market. Then, in September 2021, it entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of San Antonio, Texas-based Action Fuels LP. The deal included nine Buck's Food and Fuel c-stores situated in the greater San Antonio and south Texas market. 

The purchase of Embark Energy marks the 11th acquisition for Refuel since establishing a partnership with First Reserve, a global private equity investment firm with a focus on the energy and industrial value chains, in May 2019.

Earlier this year, Refuel received a $511 million capital infusion through the First Reserve Refuel Fund. The fund also provides additional "dry powder" for Refuel to continue pursuing its acquisition-driven growth strategy, according to the company.

Refuel is also growing its executive leadership team. Effective April 25, Tim Rupp stepped into the role of chief operating officer. Rupp spent 31 years at Speedway LLC, previously Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s c-store segment. Speedway was acquired by 7-Eleven Inc. in May 2021.

While at Speedway, Rupp held a variety of leadership roles including his most recent role as senior vice president of merchandise and marketing, and spent the past year assisting 7-Eleven with the integration of the Speedway acquisition.

"I am incredibly pleased that Tim has joined our senior leadership team," said Jordan. "He is a talented executive who has spent his career operating in the convenience industry at one of the largest chains in the United States. As we continue to execute our growth strategy, Tim will be instrumental in ensuring that we continue to deliver strong performance and a high-quality experience for our customers."

Headquartered in Charleston, Refuel's total store count is 185 company operated locations across Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Carolina, and North Carolina.