ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Michigan-based Blarney Castle Oil Company has acquired northern Michigan grocery and convenience retailer Alpena Oil Company. Alpena’s retail chain includes 14 traditional convenience stores, six Louie’s Fresh Market full-service grocery stores and 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, Michigan. The second generation of the Douville family expanded into grocery wholesaling, which remained the primary business until the family acquired its first gas station portfolio in 1996.
Jere Johnston, the company’s president, focused on growing the chain through larger format stores, opening the first Louie’s Fresh Market in Alanson, Michigan. The original Louie’s Fresh Market was a success and the catalyst for the five additional large-format grocery stores that followed.
“Jere and (wife) Sharon built and operated a very successful retail chain that offered customers high-value products in a clean and friendly environment,” said Spencer Cavalier, an executive at Matrix Capital, which advised the acquisition. “Their creation of the Louie’s Fresh Market brand showcases how they adapted their retail offerings to meet the needs of consumers across different markets.