Brecksville, Ohio-based True North Energy LLC, a joint venture between the Lyden family and Shell Oil Co., has purchased the 25 convenience retailing and petroleum marketing assets from Schmuckal Oil Co. and its affiliates in the Traverse City, Mich., market.
The transaction also includes Schmuckal’s wholesale fuel and transportation businesses.
This acquisition comes as the Lyden family celebrates its 100th year anniversary in the fuel and petroleum marketing industry, now being led by third and fourth generations of the Lyden family.
The newly-acquired stores will continue to fly or be converted to the Shell Fuel Brand, according to Mark E. Lyden, True North’s president and CEO.
“True North will continue to provide area customers with quality products, exceptional service and competitive fuel prices all under the Shell brand,” said Mark Lyden. “We realize customers have a choice where they purchase gasoline and we intend to ensure the Shell brand is the brand of choice for motorists in the area while maintaining our 100-year commitment to the fuel and petroleum marketing business.” Mark Lyden complimented the Schmuckal family on the strong business they built over the past 60-plus years in Northern Michigan.
True North’s Vice President of Development and Administration Lindsay Lyden Niese said the company will be rebranding the convenience stores in the near future to the truenorth brand, which she said complements the acquisition’s geographic position.
“We are looking forward to bringing truenorth to northern Michigan and showing the area our commitment to fast, friendly and clean service,” Lyden Niese said. She added that the company will also be looking at other growth opportunities in the area while upgrading the existing store base.
“We pride ourselves on providing a premier convenience experience with a focus on the guest experience in our stores,” said D. Bailey Lyden, True North’s vice president of retail operations. “This opportunity to expand into the highly coveted Traverse City market is an exciting challenge that we look forward to undertaking.” He said after the acquisition, the company will have over 1,500 employees in the states of Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.
True North Energy now offers fuel and convenience items at 135 company operated stores, in addition to supplying fuel to approximately 200 Shell branded dealers. The company has an ever-growing foot print with stores primarily located in the Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown, Detroit and now the Traverse City market.
Schmuckal was founded in 1955 when Art Schmuckal and George Slane developed a partnership to supply fuel to service stations in and around Traverse City, Mich. In the 1980s, Art’s son, Paul Schmuckal, took control of the company and transitioned it from a wholesale supplier to a leading convenience retailer in northern Michigan.
Schmuckal Oil became a multi-branded fuels company through the acquisition of several Marathon stores in 2000 and has been consistently recognized as one of the best Shell operators in the country.
Investment banking firm Matrix Capital Markets Group provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Schmuckal, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential,structured sale process, and negotiation of the sale and lease transactions.
“While it is emotional and challenging to sell a business, we felt the time was right for the family to find another company with the culture of a family-owned-and-operated business to take our operation into the future,” said Schmuckal CEO Kevin Severt. “Matrix provided a high-level of professionalism and ran a very productive process that helped us accomplish our goal.”
Severt added the company is “genuinely excited for our customers, employees, and shareholders to be selling our business to True North Energy.”
“The Schmuckal family, led by Paul Schmuckal, built one of Michigan’s most successful petroleum marketing and convenience retailing companies, with the core of its retail operation clustered in the highly coveted Traverse City area,” said Spencer Cavalier of Matrix. “Matrix is honored to have advised the shareholders and have enjoyed working closely with Paul and the company’s CEO, Kevin Severt, to successfully close this transaction.”
Tammera Diehm of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., served as legal counsel for Schmuckal.