Mergers & Acquisitions

Fuel Wholesaler Exits Industry After 104 Years

Acquisition expands CrossAmerica Partner’s reach in New England
Community Service Stations
Photograph: communityservicestations.com

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — After more than a century of supplying motor fuels to service stations, convenience stores, distributors and more, the owners of Community Service Stations Inc. (CSS) are exiting the industry after selling the business to CrossAmerica Partners LP.

CSS is a wholesale motor fuels distributor, supplying approximately 75 million gallons annually to locations across New England.

“It was not an easy decision to sell the company that we had built over the past century,” said President Chris Riley (pictured above at left). “CrossAmerica was a natural fit as a buyer for CSS as they share our long tradition of excellence and strong commitment to their customers and employees.”

Community Service Stations was founded in Boston in 1918 by George C. Riley Sr. and his business partner Paul Strang. Riley an Strang operated a single service station that offered auto repairs and retailed motor fuels. During its first few decades, the company expanded its fuel offerings into home heating oil and kerosene, constructing one of the first bulk heating-oil and kerosene distribution depots in the suburbs west of Boston, the company said. Riley Sr.’s son, George C. Riley Jr., eventually assumed the role of president, a title he would hold for 66 years, during which he tripled the company’s fuel volume.

In 1979, Chris Riley, George Riley Sr.’s grandson, joined the company, rising to become president. As the industry shifted to more of a convenience-store model, CSS was among the first Mobil-branded distributors to encourage independent dealers to rebuild outdated repair bay sites into convenience stores, the company said. In 2011, CSS became one of the four exclusive fuel distributors authorized and licensed by ExxonMobil to distribute Mobil and Exxon branded motor fuels in New England.

The CrossAmerica Partners deal, first announced in August, includes wholesale fuel supply contracts to 39 dealer-owned locations, 34 subjobber accounts and two commission locations (one fee based and one lease).

“We are excited to acquire these attractive assets from one of the leading wholesale distributors in the Boston area,” Charles Nifong, president and CEO of CrossAmerica Partners, said at the time. “This acquisition expands our fuels business in the New England market with new dealers and strengthens our relationship with several of our major fuel supplier partners.”

Investment bank Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., Richmond, Va., served as the exclusive financial advisor to Community Service Stations in the transaction, managed by Sean Dooley, managing director; Spencer Cavalier, co-head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group; Nate Wah, associate; and James Mickelinc, senior analyst.

“It is not often that you are entrusted to advise a 100-plus-year-old company on its exit from the industry,” Dooley said. “Chris has been a great steward to the industry and evolved CSS into a first-class enterprise; he and his team have a lot to be proud of.”

Otto Konrad and Lauren Pennington of Williams Mullen served as legal counsel for Community Service Stations.

Allentown, Pa.-based CrossAmerica Partners is a wholesale distributor of motor fuels, convenience-store operator and owner and lessor of real estate used in the retail distribution of motor fuels. 

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