Go Mart Purchases Three Stores

Buys out Kompak chain in West Virginia

PARKERSBURG -- A Parkersburg, W.Va.-based chain of convenience stores is being sold to Go Mart.

The deal will be finalized Dec. 18 with the Kompak location on Staunton Avenue becoming a Go Mart location while the other two locations at St. Marys Avenue and Camden Avenue will close on that date, owner Gary Traugh, who purchased Kompak in 1985, told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Terms were not disclosed.

"It's going to be kind of hard," Traugh said. "I've done this for more than 35 years."

In its prime during the 1990s with four locations, Kompak had done a $25,000-a-day deposit.

"It was incredible to grow that much in just 10 years," Traugh said.

The thing that established Kompak locally was when it became the first to bring in Amish cheeses and deli meats to the area around the mid-1980s. The business regularly advertised those items and saw considerable business at the time.

By the late 1980s, the stores found a niche with tobacco sales that they advertised a lot in the local newspaper, according to the newspaper report.

"We were told at the trade shows that we were one of the biggest independent tobacco retailers," Traugh said.

Kompak was one of the first to bring Rave cigarettes to the East Coast and was a big seller for Montclair Cigarettes and Mail Pouch Tobacco. Through the years, government regulations curtailed what the business could do with tobacco sales.

Go Mart is one of the largest independent chains still owned by a West Virginia family, and Traugh said it was an honor for him that it wanted to purchase his business, despite the fact he has never sold gasoline at any of his locations.

"I have beat the odds," Traugh said of conventional wisdom that said he would need gasoline sales in order to make it.

Talks began around two years ago to purchase the businesses.

"It is bittersweet," he said. "I have probably cried 10 times. I have been thinking about all of these people in the past who have helped me and all of my super employees."

Some employees have been with him a number of years and have a very close relationship with him, Traugh said. Kompak has 24 employees at its three locations.

Traugh said the purchase deal involves Go Mart, Gassaway, W.Va.,  offering positions to all of his current employees.

Traugh will retain ownership of the real estate and the buildings. Go Mart is buying the name and the business, he said.