Mergers & Acquisitions

United Refining Acquires 15 C-Stores

Refiner-marketer will rebrand Acorn Markets to Kwik Fill
united refining csp

WARREN and WELLSBORO, Pa. — United Refining Co. of Pennsylvania (URC) has completed the acquisition of 15 ExxonMobil-branded convenience stores from Acorn Markets Inc. and Putnam Co.

Founded in 1938 by G. Mason Owlett and William A. Ridge as an Esso-branded gasoline distributorship, the company is named after Putnam Township in Tioga County, Pa. Its Acorn Markets became a regional retail brand in northern Pennsylvania, known for its foodservice offerings, customer service and fuel retailing. Most of the locations feature Subway sandwich shops. They are also known for their pizza, wings and stromboli.

No wholesale, transportation or commercial fuels were involved in the sale to URC, Carl Ray Polk Jr., managing director of Corner Capital, Santa Barbara, Calif., told CSP Daily News. “URC will be debranding from ExxonMobil and taking the Acorn Markets to their unbranded platform.”

The Acorn locations have closed while making the switch to URC’s Kwik Fill brand, according to a report by the Westfield Free Press-Courier.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Putnam requested Corner Capital’s valuation and strategic advisory services to assist it in scenario planning. Putnam elected to market its 80-year-old business in a structured-sale merger-and-acquisition (M&A) process.

“This transaction represents the conclusion of a thoughtful strategic process undertaken in a tumultuous climate,” said Ed Owlett, president and CEO of Wellsboro, Pa.-based Putnam. “Our family and employees are pleased with the end result as 2020 comes to a close.”

Putnam has been a fuel distributor since 1938, and a branded marketer for ExxonMobil since the late 1980s. In the early 1980s, the company built its first Acorn Markets store, and gradually focused on convenience retailing throughout the years. The stores serve an 8-county region in northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania along with two stores in southern New York state.

URC is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products based in Warren, Pa. It operates more than 350 retail outlets in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York under the Kwik Fill, Red Apple Food Marts and Country Fair retail brands.

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