Mergers & Acquisitions

Blarney Castle Acquires Alpena Oil Co.

Deal includes 14 convenience stores, 6 grocery stores and 1 cardlock site
Blarney Castle EZ Mart store
Photograph courtesy of Blarney Castle Oil

Blarney Castle Oil Co. has acquired Alpena Oil Co. Alpena is a northern Michigan grocery and convenience retailer known for offering a selection of high quality, fresh products at a fair value to its customers. The company’s retail chain includes six Louie’s Fresh Market full-service grocery stores, 14 traditional convenience stores and one cardlock.

Alpena Oil dates back to 1849, when Jeremiah Douville, the great-grandfather of the company’s current ownership, opened a single bakery in Alpena, Michigan. The second generation of the Douville family expanded into grocery wholesaling, which remained the primary business until the family acquired its first gas-station portfolio in 1996.

From there, company President Jere Johnston focused on growing the chain through larger-format stores and shortly thereafter opened the first Louie’s Fresh Market in Alanson, Michigan. The success of that first store was the catalyst for the five additional large-format grocery stores that followed. 

The Blarney Castle Oil Co. is family-owned and operates convenience stores in Michigan under the EZ Mart brand. It ranks No. 52 on CSP's Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the United States.

Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Alpena Oil, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the sale. The transaction was managed by Spencer Cavalier, CFA, co-head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group; Andrew LoPresti, CPA, CFA, vice president; Nathan Wah, CPA, associate; and Jared de Perio, analyst.

“The Matrix team was extremely professional and competent, and worked tirelessly to generate a result that exceeded our expectations," Johnson said.

Cavalier added, “Jere and (wife) Sharon built and operated a very successful retail chain that offered customers high value products in a clean and friendly environment. Their creation of the Louie’s Fresh Market brand showcases how they adapted their retail offerings to meet the needs of consumers across different markets. We thank Jere and Sharon for trusting Matrix to advise them on the sale of their company in which they invested so much time and energy to create, build and grow.”

Tammera Diehm, Noreen Sedgeman, and Beth Harper of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. served as legal counsel for Alpena Oil.

Matrix's Richmond, Va.-based Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group provides transactional advisory services to companies in the downstream energy and multi-site retail sectors including convenience retailing, petroleum marketing and distribution, propane distribution, heating oil distribution, lubricants distribution, petroleum logistics, terminals and car washes.

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