JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- In a deal that has been in the works for several years, GF Convenience LLC, a subsidiary of Gier Oil Co. Inc. that operates the Eagle Stop chain of convenience stores in Missouri, has added 11 more stores through the purchase of Mertens Oil, Jefferson City, Mo.
As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News flash on Monday, the acquisition included stores in Jefferson City, Eugene, Eldon, Versailles, Tuscumbia, Freeburg, Russellville, California, St. Elizabeth, Sedalia, three in Eugene and two in Russellville, according to a report by The News Tribune.
Roger Mertens, who died several years ago, started Mertens Oil, said the report. After his wife died more recently, the company went to their five children, who sold it to GF Convenience for an undisclosed price.
Kurt Fisher and Tony Gier own Gier Oil and GF Convenience. They started with c-stores in Eugene, Sedalia and California, Mo., and now operate 36 locations across mid-Missouri, the report said.
Gier, president of the Eldon, Mo.-based companies, told CSP Daily News that the stores "are strategically in the same areas that we operate. I've known the Mertens family for years; in fact, we were working on a buyout before Mrs. Mertens passed away five years ago, but we've just now been able to put the deal together. It has not been an overnight thing. We've worked on it for a long time."
He added that of the 11 Mertens Oil stores, Gier Oil has sold one to one of its dealers, and it has leased one of them.
The company will convert four of the newly acquires stores to Eagle Stops, he said. Also, three locations with very small, 600-square-foot stores will become unattended fueling sites. "The other four are third-party operators, but will remain convenience stores; however, all 11 will be rebranded Cenex," he said.
Gier is a multi-branded company also offering Phillips 66, Sinclair and unbranded fuel.
"We'll be remodeling those four that we will continue to operate to bring them up to our Eagle Stop standards," said Gier.
"The things we pride ourselves in are the cleanliness and the lighting," Fisher told the newspaper. "The majority of people in the household who get fuel are women, and you want extremely clean operations and well-lit during the evenings so they feel safe."
He said customer service is also a staple at Eagle Stop stores. "It still boils down to the customer is always right," he said. "And if it's not convenient, it's not much of a store."
Eagle Stops feature 99-cent fountain drinks , any size, said the report, and Fisher said the company hopes to co-brand more of the stores with restaurants, such as the one in Jefferson City that is paired with Lutz’s Famous BBQ.
He said the company could look to add restaurants such as McDonald's, Taco Bell or more Lutz's locations.