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Mergers & Acquisitions

Western Alta Expands to West Coast

Acquires five Smitty’s c-stores from R.H. Smith Distributing

DENVER -- Private-equity firm Western Alta Holdings, the parent company of Pester Marketing/Alta Convenience Stores, has expanded to the West Coast, acquiring five c-stores in a joint venture with R.H. Smith Distributing Co. Inc., Yakima, Wash.

The stores—in Yakima, Ellensburg and West Richland, Wash.—will continue to operate under the Smitty’s name but will be managed by Pester Marketing/Alta Convenience Stores as of Aug. 1. The locations offer Conoco and 76 fuel.

The companies did not disclose the terms of the transaction.

This acquisition increases the size of Western Alta's retail division to 66 Alta Convenience locations throughout Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Washington.

Western Alta General Partner and CEO Phil Zaccaria and President Rich Spresser said they will continue to expand the retail network. In July, the company acquired six Loco Convenience Stores in Grand Junction, Fruita and Glenwood Springs, Colo., through a joint venture with Grand Junction, Colo.-based Loco Inc.

“We are very excited about the opportunities these five stores and our partnership with R.H. Smith Inc. bring to our company,” said Zaccaria. “The R.H. Smith management team has been in business in this area of Washington for over 70 years, and they have developed many valuable relationships that will bring other opportunities for us to evaluate. Rich Spresser’s many years in this business makes these types of growth opportunities available to Western Alta.”

R.H. Smith has three main lines of businesses: retail, wholesale and fuel transportation services. It has 60 wholesale accounts, including Phillips 66, Tesoro, Conoco and 76 branded dealers; unbranded sites; cardlocks; and commercial and farm accounts.

Pester Marketing was formerly led by Jack Pester, who founded the company in 1955. Western Alta Holdings is based in San Antonio; Pester Marketing/Alta Convenience Stores is based in Denver.

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