“First, it was opportunity; they were for sale. Secondly, we had looked at the Kwik Stops for many years. It was a family-owned business located in the middle of where we operate. We’ve had an interest in them for several years. They were a well-run company. When that opportunity came along, that was something we had been looking at for a long time,” he explained.
The Western Convenience acquisition was a bit different. The Colorado-based chain filed for Chapter 11 in late 2015, exiting from bankruptcy in September 2016. Pester Marketing received word of what Spresser termed “a little bit of a distressed sale” in October 2017 and closed on the deal this January.
“The turnover was relatively quick. We were very familiar with the company and familiar with their stores. They, again, fit us regionally,” he said. “The majority of the stores are located in Colorado, and really located in towns and areas where we already operate.”
Pester Marketing continues to operate all eight Kwik Stop locations, according to Spresser, who calls the stores “really good assets.” Upon closing the Western Convenience transaction, Pester Marketing decided to sell one location and not reopen another.
From year to year, Spresser said the company does not lay out an acquisition game plan; rather, it lets opportunity dictate how many stores it adds in a particular year.
“We’ve never sat down at the end of the year and said, ‘OK, next year, we want to have this many stores,'” he said. “It’s always been growth through acquisitions, but we want to be smart about our growth and target the right acquisitions.”
Often, a few deals will trigger others to materialize. Once you get the reputation of being an acquirer, Spresser said the calls start coming in from those interested in selling.
“The opportunities are still out there — mainly from smaller chains,” he explained. “There are still a lot opportunities, but they have to fit regionally.”