Case Study:

Matrix Announces the Successful Sale of E.J. Pope & Son, Inc.’s 36 Handy Mart Stores




  • J. Pope & Son, Inc. (“EJP” or the “Company”) operated a leading petroleum marketing, convenience retailing, and QSR business based in eastern North Carolina. The Company was originally founded over 100 years ago in 1919 as a business hauling coal by horse-drawn wagon. Over time the Company grew and prospered and in 1975 opened its first convenience store operating under the Handy Mart store brand in Mount Olive, NC. In 1994, the Company began co-branding stores with nationally recognized foodservice brands to enhance the store offerings.
  • Under the leadership of President E.J. “Judson” Pope III, the Company grew into a highly recognized regional chain of 36 convenience stores. Twenty-one of the stores included co- located branded QSRs or proprietary foodservice offerings.
  • The Company, via its affiliate Pope Transport, also hauled its own fuel and acted as a common carrier for other third-party transport customers.
  • In 2012, the Company engaged Matrix to divest certain non- core assets. EJP then reengaged Matrix in 2021 to market the entirety of its convenience store business so that the shareholders could focus on the Company’s other businesses and diversify their family wealth.
  • The shareholders also desired to execute a post-closing hauling agreement with the acquirer to generate a continuing revenue stream for Pope Transport.



To customize, execute, and complete a confidential sale process that would allow the Company’s shareholders to realize maximum after-tax value upon the sale of the convenience store business, while also generating considerable income through the execution of a hauling agreement.



  • Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to EJP, which included valuation advisory, marketing of the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the transaction.
  • Multiple competitive offers were received, and GPM Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARKO Corp (Nasdaq: ARKO), was ultimately selected as the acquirer. 
  • Matrix assisted in the negotiation of the purchase agreement and coordinated the due diligence and closing process.
  • The transaction with GPM Investments closed in November 2021.

About Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group:

Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group is recognized as the national leader in providing transactional advisory services to companies in the downstream energy and multi-site retail sectors including convenience retailing, petroleum marketing & distribution, propane distribution, heating oil distribution, lubricants distribution, petroleum logistics, terminals and car washes. Group members are dedicated to these sectors and draw upon complementary experiences to provide advisory services to complete sophisticated merger and acquisition transactions, debt and equity capital raises, corporate valuations, special situations and strategic planning engagements. Since 1997, our Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group has successfully completed over 260 engagements with a total transaction value of more than $13 billion.


For more information,

contact Spencer P. Cavalier


or 667.217.3320