Par Mar Convenience Stores has reached a deal to acquire Mountaineer Marts, a 17-store chain based in Buckhannon, W.Va., CStore Decisions has learned. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal brings Par Mar’s store count to 137 units in four states — West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania — and 81 total in West Virginia.
Brian Waugh, president of Par Mar Stores, said the company has been working on the deal for about five months and called the acquisition a strong strategic alignment.
“Strategically, the Mountaineer Mart stores fall right in the middle of our operating area so they are a great fit,” Waugh said. “But they also fill a few gaps in the market for our company and take us to a couple of new areas.”
There are no immediate plans to rebrand the stores, and all current store employees will be retained.
“Right now we will hold on to the Mountaineer Mart brand and evaluate each unit over the winter,” Waugh said. “If we do decide to rebrand anything, it won’t be until spring of 2020.”
Since April 2016, Par Mar has increased its chain size from 49 stores to its current store count of 117. Waugh credited his strong team and his partnership with H.T. Hackney for its rapid growth.
“At a time when many family-owned business are getting out of the industry, it’s a good time to be in buying mode,” Waugh said. “We are fortunate to have a great team and business partners that are focused on growing the business.”
Long Retail History
Par Mar Oil Co. was established in 1967 as a full-line petroleum jobber by Joseph Grow of Parkersburg, W.Va. and James Hollister of Marietta, Ohio. In search of a name, Grow and Hollister decided on Par Mar — Par, an abbreviation connecting to the city of Parkersburg and Mar—for Marietta.
Waugh said there’s no mistake that the roots from which the c-store company sprung have grown stronger throughout the years.
“The Parkersburg and Marietta communities are very important to us, as that’s where our name comes from and where a lot of our employees live as well,” Waugh said. “At the same time, all of the communities in which we operate are important to us as we look to make a difference and support our local schools and communities every day.”
Not only is Par Mar Stores growing its operational footprint, the chain is intent in growing its connection to customers. One way has been through its Par Mar Rewards Card. The c-store uses the loyalty program to encourage its customers to buy items that they are loyal to throughout the calendar year.
“We also have monitors at the front of our locations that are constantly showing the customers the monthly promotions that we have,” Waugh said. “We team up with (area) grocery stores to reward both their and our customers.”
The retailer also introduced a mobile app earler this year that allows users to quickly see daily promotions and special offerings, and enable the c-store to better engage with customers.
Increasingly, Par Mar Stores is relying on social media to connect more with its customer base, as well as gaining additional insights on consumer preferences.
“Facebook, Twitter and all of the review sites allow us to show what we have and also to change what needs to be changed based off the feedback that we receive,” Waugh said. “Our goal is to provide what our customers are looking for; we base what our offerings are on the feedback that we receive on what we offer, or what we need to offer.”
As Par Mar Stores continues to cultivate a stronger following on both sides of the Ohio River and beyond, the future appears to be bright indeed.
“If we grow the next five years, like we have the last two-and-a-half years, then it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Waugh said.