CHARLESTON, S.C. — Refuel Operating Co., a retail and wholesale fuel distribution and convenience-store business, has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Holmes Oil Inc., including the Cruizers c-store chain.
Edward Holmes founded Holmes Oil, a Chapel Hill, N.C.-based c-store and fuel distribution business, when he purchased Kenan Oil Co. in 1997. The company owns and operates 26 conveniences stores in the greater Raleigh-Durham market operating under the Cruizers brand. It also operates a wholesale distributorship for ExxonMobil and Valero motor fuels.
Cruizers stores are known for fountain drinks made with 100% filtered water and served at 34 degrees over “chewy ice.” They also offer beanZcafe coffee and iced tea and subZero frozen drinks, along with freshly baked cookies, muffins, biscuits and pastries. The roller grill features all-beef hot dogs, sausage dogs and tornados.
“Edward has built a wonderful company over the years, and we are extremely excited to welcome their employees to the Refuel family,” said Mark Jordan, CEO of Refuel. “Cruizers has an established footprint in the attractive Raleigh-Durham market and provides us with immediate density as Refuel expands into North Carolina. Cruizers has a laser focus on customer service and delivers a great shopping experience to its customers. We are thrilled to add such an exceptional business to the Refuel platform.”
The transaction represents the sixth acquisition for Charleston, S.C.-based Refuel since establishing the partnership with First Reserve in May 2019 and brings the total company operated store count to 113 stores.
- Refuel is No. 186 on CSP’s 2020 Top 202 ranking of c-store chains by number of company-owned retail outlets.
Stamford, Conn.-based First Reserve formed Refuel through the acquisition of Charleston, S.C.-based Refuel Inc. and its six c-stores. It immediately acquired West Oil Inc., Hartsville, S.C., with 25 c-stores. In June 2019, Refuel acquired Bishopville Petroleum Co. Inc., Bishopville, S.C., adding two more c-stores. Refuel completed its fourth acquisition in January when it acquired the assets of Turtle Market in Myrtle Beach, S.C., consisting of two high-volume c-stores as well as one site currently under construction and one location that is set to begin construction in 2020. In April 2020, Refuel completed the purchase of Double Quick Inc., bringing its current store count to 83.
“This transaction is a great tribute to Cruizers great people,” said Edward Holmes, CEO of Cruizers. “This company was built by the amazing store teams, great managers, an extraordinary home office staff and unbelievable senior leaders, to whom I’m profoundly grateful. Refuel is a company of great people who will take Cruizers into an even brighter, ever-changing future. Customer delight has been our mission and they will take it to a new level. Great transition for all.”
The companies did not disclose the financial details of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval. They expect the deal to close in fourth-quarter 2020.