Single Store Owner

APR 2016

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the hub 18 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / APRIL 2016 into the Eby-Brown culture. This combination of two great family businesses will yield excellent re- sults for our customers, team members and trading partners," McGuirk Jr. said. Reaching New Markets Currently, Eby-Brown maintains distribution centers in Eau Claire, Wis.; Montgomery, Ill.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; Springfield, Ohio; Plainfield, Ind.; and Rockmart, Ga. Eby-Brown reaches the greater Pittsburgh market out of its Ohio facility, but it's a four-hour stretch. The Liberty acquisi- tion will change that. In addition to opening up new markets, and hence new customers, the deal is expected to spread Eby-Brown's reach across all-sized retailers. "We're unique in that we can take care of the na- tional convenience retailers and provide them with the services they need, and [we] have customized solutions for the mid-sized and large chains also. We also have a very special focus on the independents," explained Thomas Wake. Liberty's focus, based on the company's size and geographical limitations, historically has been on the mid-size to smaller chains and the independents. Eby-Brown built its business a generation ago on the needs of the independent retailer. As chains be- gan to form, the company developed that expertise. "As chains became greater in size, complexity and the services they required changed, we adapted to that as well, without turning our backs on anything historically," Thomas Wake noted. Open to More Acquisitions With today's convenience store industry active in merger-and-acquisition activity on both sides of the supply chain, Eby-Brown is always looking to expand, its owners told Single Store Owner. In regards to expansion, the company leaders revealed Eby-Brown is interested in moving toward the northeast, east or south, with possibly the excep- tion of Florida. "We never say never, but that's probably not in our plans. Just about every other place in the eastern half of the country, except Florida, would prob- ably be in our plans. There are a large number of distribution companies, all great family businesses, in Eby-Brown's existing marketing areas," Thomas Wake said. Goal Oriented Growing its service footprint is not the only strat- egy Eby-Brown has for future growth. The company's "long-term goal is to maintain its focus on delivering superior customer service, while continuing to invest in solutions that will provide opportunities for our customers to be more profit- able," according to the executives. To date, the company has made sizeable invest- ments in technology and infrastructure to provide "best-in-class," industry-leading differentiators for its customers over the long term. Foodservice will also continue to be a primary focus for Eby-Brown over the long term. The com- pany said it will continue to invest heavily in both the physical asset and the human asset components of foodservice. As part of this focus, Eby-Brown created a Food Lab at its corporate office. It is headed by a chef who conducts research into new foodservice opportuni- ties, while providing food tasting and training for its customers. In addition, the company has invested in dedi- cated foodservice experts in each of its plants, who work directly with customers to identify and develop foodservice opportunities. SSO Eau ClairE montgomEry ypsilanti springfield plainfield rockmart Co-owners and co-presidents Dick and Thomas Wake. Eby-Brown currently maintains six distribution centers:

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