DUXBURY, Mass. — Leo Vercollone is leaving the convenience-store industry after 44 years—the last of which was the most difficult due to COVID-19, he said.
“The main factor is I’m 67, and the company has had a great run,” Vercollone, CEO of VERC Enterprises, told CSP Daily News. “Our industry is so vibrant and successful that the stars just lined up and it was the best time to do it.”
The business started in 1975 with a car wash in Marshfield, Mass. That’s one of the two locations staying with the Vercollone family to be run by Leo Vercollone’s brother and his sons. Leo Vercollone joined the company two years later.
Vercollone said to get the best valuation, the deal ended up being among three buyers—he wouldn’t name the third yet or say how many went to each company due to a non-disclosure agreement. Atlanta-based Raymond James & Co. Inc. provided merger and acquisition advisory services to VERC.
Energy North Group gained 11 sites from VERC Enterprises, it said in a press release. The acquisition also included 12 tenants that were previously under contract at those sites, including Dunkin’ and Subway. Global Partners Vice President of Communications Catie Kerns said the company did not have a comment on the acquisition at this time.
Keeping the stores together wasn’t a priority for Vercollone, but selling to highly reputable companies was, he said.
“I did not sell to a second-rate company,” Vercollone said. “These companies operate in New England and they are highly successful and very prominent in the marketplace. My [employees] landed in a great situation with companies that are all bigger than me and are all growing at a much faster pace.”
The c-store industry faces many changes, he said. The last mile of convenience is still being defined, prompted by COVID-19, as businesses decide whether to add drive-thrus, curbside pickup, home delivery and more. The way companies view office buildings in metropolitan areas is changing. And foodservice is changing, as customers now expect a higher level of quality.
“There’s just a lot of things that are happening and evolving,” Vercollone said. “But, if you look at it, our industry survives recessions, natural disasters and COVID—and we excel at it.”
The past year was still extremely successful for VERC Enterprises, despite the challenges of the pandemic, because c-store products and service are in such high demand, he said.
Vercollone said after his decades in the business, what he takes away most from the experience is his relationship with his employees and partnerships within the community.
One of the highlights for Vercollone is VERC Enterprises’ commitment to having 20% of its c-store workforce staffed by associates from the intellectually and developmentally disabled (IDD) community. He said that has much to do with his stores’ high employee retention rate because the IDD associates help the team bond.
While Vercollone is not retiring—he’s still figuring out his “next adventure”—he said if he were 40 or 50 years old, he might’ve stayed in the industry.
The sale process, which lasted about a year, was complex and complicated, he said. Vercollone would advise any other family c-store chain interested in selling to find honest advisors and to talk to others who have been through the process.
“I think it’s the right thing to do, and I’m happy to have done it,” Vercollone said. “I feel really good about my people and what we’ve accomplished, and I feel really good about our industry. I look forward to seeing how our industry evolves and grows in the years to come.”