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EZ Mart Operator Acquires Louie’s Fresh Markets

Alpena Oil sells assets to Blarney Castle Oil
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EZ Mart operator Blarney Castle Oil Co. acquired the assets of Michigan-based Alpena Oil Co. The transaction includes six Louie's Fresh Market full-service grocery stores and 14 traditional convenience stores, plus a cardlock.

Alpena Oil dates back to 1849, when Jeremiah Douville, the great-grandfather of the company's current ownership, opened a single bakery in Alpena. The second generation of the Douville family expanded into grocery wholesaling, which remained the primary business until they acquired their first gas station portfolio in 1996. Jere Johnston, Alpena's president, focused on growing the chain through larger format stores and shortly thereafter opened the first Louie's Fresh Market in Alanson, Mich. The original market spurred an expansion into five additional large format grocery stores.

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Matrix Capital Markets provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Alpena Oil, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process and sale negotiations. Tammera Diehm, Noreen Sedgeman and Beth Harper of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. served as Alpena's legal counsel.

"Jere and Sharon built and operated a very successful retail chain that offered customers high-value products in a clean and friendly environment," said Spencer Cavalier, co-head of Matrix's Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group. "We thank Jere and Sharon for trusting Matrix to advise them on the sale of their company in which they invested so much time and energy to create, build and grow."

Founded in 1933 by Dennis E. McCarthy and now run by his sons and grandsons, Blarney Castle Oil currently runs 139 EZ Mart locations and employs more than 800 people in Michigan.

EnsembleIQ-owned Convenience Store News is a sister publication of Progressive Grocer.

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