Cody's Plan of Attack

Rumor of Snak-Atak acquisition in line with retailer's growth plans

Published in CSP Daily News

By  Greg Lindenberg, Online Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Along with the acquisition of six Express Lane convenience stores from the bankrupt Waddill's Markets Inc., reported last week in a CSP Daily News Flash, Cody's Convenience Stores Inc. has been rumored to be contemplating the acquisition of some Snak-Atak convenience stores, The Springfield Business Journal said yesterday.

Curtis Jared, executive vice president for Jared Enterprises Inc., parent company of Cody's, declined to comment to the newspaper on the rumor, although he acknowledged that the chain does have additional acquisition plans.[image-nocss]

Jerry Perry, president and CEO of Carthage, Mo.-based Grace Energy Corp., which the newspaper cited as the owner of the Snak-Atak locations, told CSP Daily News that although Grace Energy does own several Snak-Ataks, it does not own the stores in question. He referred CSP Daily News to John Starrett, the owner of Simpson Oil Co., Joplin, Mo. Starrett operates 10 Snak-Atak stores in Newton and Jasper counties.

"Rumors are rumors," Starrett said. "We're still here to service the people of Joplin and are enjoying our business model. We're making payroll today and have been happy to do that for the past 25 years." He declined to comment further on any potential transaction.

With the Express Lane purchase, which closed in bankruptcy court December 28, Cody's surpassed fellow Springfield, Mo.-based chain Rapid Roberts' 23 area stores. Cody's portfolio now comprises 25 stores, second to West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go's 33 stores in southwest Missouri.

Jared has said that the company has ambitious expansion plans. He hopes to eventually have a Cody's in every town in southwest Missouri, he told The Springfield News-Ledger last year. At the time, several stores were under construction or in the planning stages, according to the report. Several are scheduled to open this year, including the chain's first truckstop, slated for a March opening.

A Snak-Atak buy, along with Cody's growth plans, could put it on track to surpass Kum & Go in 2008 in the region.

Rapid Roberts owner Rob Wilson said the growth of Cody's has not directly impacted his stores, but he acknowledged that it has had a market impact.

"Any time somebody comes in, they have an opportunity to take some of your business," Wilson told the Business Journal. "Whether it's Kum & Go or Cody's or an independent that comes in, it's always something you've got to be aware of and grow your business accordingly."