Mergers & Acquisitions

Love’s Travel Stops Acquires EZ GO

Chain adds its 1st turnpike locations, increases c-store footprint
ez go
Photograph courtesy of EZ GO

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has completed the acquisition of EZ GO from Carey Johnson Oil Co., Lawton, Oklahoma. The acquisition includes six truckstops located on Oklahoma turnpikes, five on the Kansas turnpike and 11 convenience stores in Oklahoma and Nebraska, for a total of 22 stores. This is the first time Love’s footprint will include locations on a turnpike, and the purchase is part of the company’s commitment to add stores in areas of high demand.

The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal.

“We are excited to add locations in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska and welcome nearly 400 new team members to the Love’s family of companies,” said Shane Wharton, president of Love’s. “The opportunity to expand into serving commercial and casual customers on the two state turnpikes supports our strategic priority of pursuing adjacent acquisition opportunities. In addition to being family-owned, we share a similar culture with the seller in that we operate on a customer-centric model focused on an extensive assortment of products, superior customer experience and inviting environment.”

Love’s expects to rebrand the EZ GO turnpike locations in the next 12 months. For professional drivers, the EZ GO turnpike locations include amenities such as parking, diesel and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), the company said. The stores offer groceries, beverages, snacks, tobacco, gifts, fresh food, dispensed beverages and other consumer goods. EZ GO is co-located with several franchise food concepts and owns and operates the restaurant concept Back Forty Barbecue at two locations.

About 60 years ago, Carey and Mary Lou Johnson founded a petroleum distribution business in Lawton. They developed the EZ GO convenience-store concept in 1981.

Chicago-based Downstream Energy Group (DEG) provided exclusive merger and acquisition advisory services to Carey Johnson Oil during the transaction.

Earlier this week, Love’s launched its Strategic Remodel Initiative, in which it will invest more than $1 billion in updating 200 locations over the next five years. The retailer will invest between $2 million and $7 million per location on average by 2028, it said.

  • Love's is No. 14 on CSP's 2023 Top 40 update to the 2022 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by size. Watch for the full 2023 list in the June issue ofCSPmagazine and online at CSP Daily News.

Oklahoma City-based Love’s has more than 610 locations in 42 states. It provides professional truck drivers and motorists with 24-hour access to purchase gasoline, diesel fuel, coffee, restaurant offerings and more. Love’s has more than 430 truck service centers, which include Speedco and Love’s Truck Care locations. Love’s and Speedco combined is the largest oil change, preventive maintenance and total truck care nationwide network with more than 1,500 maintenance bays and 1,200 emergency roadside vehicles available for customers.

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