Acquisition allows the former owner of the Uppy’s convenience store chain in Virginia to reenter the c-store business, this time in South Florida.
By John Lofstock, Editor
Dion’s Quik Marts, the family-owned South Florida convenience store founded by Larry and Florence Dion in 1948, is has been sold to Chester, Va.-based Uphoff Ventures, Convenience Store Decisions has learned.
The deal, sources tell CSD, closed late Monday afternoon, which means the chain, for the first time in nearly 70 years, has new ownership.
Representatives from Dion’s and Uphoff Ventures were unavailable to comment late Monday. Sources also told CSD that Uphoff and Dion’s had first engage in acquisition talks about five years ago, but the proposed deal fell through over tank compliance issues.
The move isn’t entirely unexpected. Dion’s currently operates 12 sites and leases four additional properties to dealers across the Florida Keys, but Larry Dion passed away in 2013. Florence Dion died back in 2003. The move allows the remaining family members to explore other business ventures. At one time, Dion’s operated nearly 30 stores across South Florida.
Dion’s Quik Mart’s are known for their convenient locations and remain a popular stop in the idyllic Florida Keys. It currently markets fuel under the CITGO and Mobil brands.
Inside, the chain is known for everything from its popular Quik Chik fried chicken program, which was once voted the most popular chicken program in the Keys, to its gourmet coffee offering, fresh cut meats, fruits and vegetables.
For Uphoff Ventures, it’s back to the future, albeit a little more south. Steve Uphoff, the CEO of Uphoff Ventures, has strong ties to the convenience store industry. He founded Uppy’s Convenience Stores Inc. in 1995 and served as its chief executive until selling the 68-store chain to Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores LLC (MACS) in 2010. The acquisition included Southside Oil, Uppy’s wholesale and distribution arm that served more than 250 independently-operated retail fuel locations in the Mid-Atlantic Region and Southern U.S.
Uphoff briefly served as CEO of MACS before stepping down in 2011, ceding the position to industry veteran Dan Pastor. He remains a member of the MACS Board. From 1980 to 1995, Uphoff worked for Amoco Oil Co.
Today, Uphoff Ventures is a partner in Uptown Alley, which is co-owned with Trifecta Management Group. The company currently owns two 60,000 square-foot entertainment and restaurant venues in Arizona and Virginia with plans to open three more in 2016.
The move continues a trend of family-owned business exiting the convenience store business, in part, due to the high valuation multiples being offered by larger conglomerates looking to expand operations in the thriving convenience store industry. Many industry observers are predicting other companies could follow, especially if double-digit multiple offers continue to be on the table.
CST Brands, for example, just last week closed on its deal to acquire Flash Foods. The chain had been owned by the Jones family since 1952. CST brands had previously acquired family-owned Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes in 2014. 7-Eleven similarly has been acquiring strong family-owned chains for the better part of a decade including Tedeschi Food Shops in 2015 and many others, such as Open Pantry Food Marts and TETCO Inc. in the years prior.
Stay tuned to Convenience Store Decisions for additional information on this announcement.