Yesway joined the convenience-store industry in 2015 with the purchase of 10 Country Store sites and plans for explosive growth. And it has lived up to the challenge.
The chain, an affiliate of Beverly, Mass.-based Brookwood Financial Partners, quickly followed that first purchase with 21 stores from Kum & Go. By autumn 2019, after another series of acquisitions, the chain hit about 150 locations. With the November 2019 acquisition of 304 stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma via Allsup’s Convenience Stores, Clovis, N.M., Yesway’s store count will more than double.
CEO Tom Trkla says the company is looking for something specific with each purchase. “Geography obviously plays a big portion because when you have stores that are more proximate geographically, it’s much easier to manage,” Trkla says. Yesway owns and manages stores in in Iowa, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Yesway “slow-walked” its expansion strategy while negotiating the acquisition of Allsup’s to focus on properly integrating the chain into Yesway’s operations, Trkla says. The chain plans to keep the Allsup’s branding. “We’re going to take this integration very seriously, and it’s going to take us probably about a year to integrate it the way I want,” he says.
Ultimately, the company’s current goal is to reach about 600 locations in the next three years. But Yesway’s ambition might not stop there. “Our objective is to someday take it public,” Trkla says. “If you do it very, very well, then you go to 1,000 stores.”