Mergers & Acquisitions

Par Mar Picks Up Red Rover C-Stores

And Countywide Petroleum acquires branded dealer wholesale business

Par Mar Oil Co. has acquired Santmyer Cos. Inc.’s 14 Red Rover convenience stores, and Countywide Petroleum Co. has acquired Santmyer’s branded dealer wholesale business. Par Mar and Countrywide Petroleum are both subsidiaries of Croton Holdings Co.

  • Par Mar Oil is No. 38 on CSP’s 2023 Top 202 ranking of convenience-store chains by size.

Santmyer is a privately owned and family-operated full-service distributor offering diesel, gasoline, propane, lubricants, diesel exhaust fluid and logistics services. It was founded in 1952 when Myron Santmyer opened a Gulf service station in Dalton, Ohio, and became a Gulf distributor. In 1980, Terry Santmyer, Myron’s son, purchased the business, which at the time was comprised of two tank wagons and four employees. Terry Santmyer began building the company into a leading full-service petroleum marketer that today employs more than 175 Ohioans.

Santmyer purchased a Marathon jobbership in 1999, and in 2012, Zach Santmyer, Terry’s son, became president of the company. Under his leadership, Santmyer expanded into propane, developed the Red Rover brand, became a Chevron-branded lubricants distributor, added the Sunoco and Exxon brands to offer customers a more comprehensive slate of fuels and leveraged technology to modernize the company.

In 2021, Zach engaged Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., Richmond, Virginia, to perform a strategic review of the company to assess capital allocation and the return on investment between business segments. With that analysis, the company decided to focus on the distribution of propane, commercial fuels and lubricants. In early 2023, Santmyer purchased the commercial fuels and propane assets of Cole Distributing and made the strategic decision to divest its convenience retail and branded wholesale businesses.

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Santmyer, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the sale. Andrew LoPresti, vice president; Spencer Cavalier, co-head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group; and Kyle Tipping, senior associate, managed the transaction.

“We are committed to evolving and growing our company based on our core competencies, and we engaged Matrix years ago as an advisor in that planning and evaluation process. Based on our strategic goals, we decided to divest our convenience retail and branded dealer wholesale businesses to narrow our strategic focus on commercial fuels, propane, lubricants, automated cardlocks and car washes,” Zach Santmyer said. “This transaction puts Santmyer in a great position to pursue future growth opportunities that align with these segments going forward.”

Joseph Grow of Parkersburg, West Virginia, and James L. Hollister of Marietta, Ohio, founded Par Mar Oil Co. in 1967, with “Par” standing for Parkersburg and “Mar” for Marietta. The company opened its first c-store in 1979. It operates Par Mar Stores in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Maryland.

The chain operates car washes and quick-service restaurants, including QSRs under the A&W, Fazoli's, Quiznos and Subway brands, as well as Par Mar’s proprietary foodservice. Fuel brands include BP, Exxon, Marathon and Shell.

Croton Holding Pittsburgh, purchased Par Mar Oil in 2016. Croton’s largest asset is Superior Petroleum Co.

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