Sun Capital Chains Regroup

Village Pantry, Worsley leadership realigned to drive savings, synergies

Published in CSP Daily News

By  Steve Holtz, Online News Director & Beverage Editor

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The quartet of convenience store chains owned by private-equity group Sun Capital Partners--Li'l Cricket, Scotchman, Village Pantry and Young's--is undergoing a reorganization that company leaders hope will bring cost savings, administrative synergies and increased buying power.

The c-store group will now be led by chairman and CEO Jeff Turpin, formerly president and CFO of Scotchman and Young's parent company Worsley Operating Corp. Mick Parker, formerly president and CEO of Village Pantry, will now serve as chief operating officer for the group.

"[image-nocss] The decision was made to consolidate the accounting and administration to Wilmington, N.C., which is the location of Worlsey," Turpin told CSP Daily News in an exclusive interview. "There will be an office maintained in Indianapolis for operational support, marketing support and HR support, but accounting and administration will move to Wilmington."

Turpin did not say if or how many employees may be laid off by the move, which began this spring and should be complete by the end of this month.

"Having one [accounting and administration] group will provide synergies and cost savings. It also will increase our buying power and provide better coordination of purchasing," Turpin said.

He added that the individual store brands are expected to be maintained. "We have a loyal following with our brand names, and we'll continue that," Turpin said. "We'll continue to offer the same customer service and product offerings under the existing brand names."

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sun Capital Partners bought the Village Pantry c-store chain as part of its purchase of Indianapolis-based March Supermarkets in late 2006. In May 2007, Village Pantry was spun off from Marsh, and Parker was brought in from Circle K to lead the company.

Soon after, Sun picked up 33 Next Door Store locations from Imperial Co., Mt. Pleasant, Mich., and nine AmeriStop Markets from Petro Acquisitions Inc., West Chester, Ohio. In early 2008, Sun purchased Worsley and its 122 stores based in Wilmington, and Li'l Cricket Food Stores, an 88-store chain based in Spartanburg, S.C.

Initially, the two regions operated independently of one another. "Michigan is different than South Carolina," said Turpin. But with cost savings to be had, the two regions will now work more closely together.

"In Mick's new role as chief operating officer, he will be in charge of store operations for the five-state region: North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana," Turpin said. "Synergies will come about in the accounting and administration because that's very similar between the two organizations."

Click herefor previous CSP Daily News coverage, including a CSPTV segment on Sun's strategy (see "Bright Investment").

By Steve Holtz, Online News Director & Beverage Editor
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