Fuel wholesaler leaves industry after 104 years

Photo: communityservicestations.com

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — After more than a century of fuel supply gas stations, convenience stores, distributors and more, the owners of Community Service Stations Inc. (CSS) are leaving the industry after selling the company to CrossAmerica Partners LP.

CSS is a wholesale distributor of motor fuels, supplying approximately 75 million gallons annually to locations across New England.

“It was not an easy decision to sell the business we had built over the last century,” said chairman Chris Riley (pictured above left). “CrossAmerica was a natural choice as a buyer for CSS as they share our long tradition of excellence and strong commitment to their customers and employees.”

Community Service Stations was founded in Boston in 1918 by George C. Riley Sr. and his business partner Paul Strang. Riley an Strang operated a single service station which offered automotive repairs and retail fuels. During its early decades, the company expanded its home heating oil and kerosene fuel offerings, building one of the first bulk fuel oil and kerosene distribution depots in suburban western Boston, the company said. . Riley Sr.’s son, George C. Riley Jr., eventually assumed the role of chairman, a title he would hold for 66 years, during which time he tripled the company’s fuel volume.

In 1979, Chris Riley, the grandson of George Riley Sr., joined the company, becoming president. As the industry shifted to a convenience store model, CSS was among the first Mobil-branded distributors to encourage independent dealerships to rebuild outdated repair sites into convenience stores, the company said. In 2011, CSS became one of four exclusive fuel distributors authorized and licensed by ExxonMobil to distribute Mobil and Exxon branded fuels in New England.

The CrossAmerica Partners deal, first announced in August, includes wholesale fuel supply contracts to 39 dealer-owned locations, 34 contractor accounts and two commission locations (one fee-based and one lease).

“We are thrilled to acquire these attractive assets from one of the Boston area’s leading wholesale distributors,” said Charles Nifong, president and CEO of CrossAmerica Partners at the time. “This acquisition expands our fuels business in the New England market with new dealerships and strengthens our relationship with many of our key fuel partners.”

Investment Banking Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc.Richmond, Va., served as the exclusive financial advisor to community service stations in the transaction, managed by Sean Dooley, managing director; Spencer Cavalier, Co-Head of Matrix’s Downstream Retail Investment Banking Energy and Commodities Group; Nate Wah, Partner; and James Mickelinc, Principal Analyst.

“It’s not often you’re asked to advise a 100-plus-year-old company on its exit from the industry,” Dooley said. “Chris has been an excellent steward of the industry and has built CSS into a first class company; he and his team have much to be proud of.

Otto Konrad and Lauren Pennington of Williams Mullen served as legal counsel for Community Service Stations.

CrossAmerica Partners, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a wholesale motor fuels distributor, convenience store operator and owner and lessor of real estate used in the retail distribution of motor fuels.

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