‘A good run’: Ottawa-based Quickie Convenience Stores sold to MacEwen Petroleum

An iconic local retailer’s five decades of operation as an independent entity has come to an end.

Quickie Convenience Stores, which operates 51 retail stores and 22 gas stations in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, has been acquired by Maxville-based MacEwen Petroleum, the companies said Tuesday. The terms were not disclosed.

Quickie co-founder Arnold Kimmel recently told OBJ that after nearly 50 years in the industry, he was ready to end his career. His business partner, Larry Hartman, has already retired, while his two children are successful executives in Toronto who have no interest in taking over the business.

“It’s been a good race,” said the 75-year-old businessman and philanthropist. “There is no succession (plan), unfortunately. It’s time to move on.”

Kimmel said the parallels between his company and MacEwen – a family-owned company that has a similar geographic footprint – made the right move to merge with the Eastern Ontario company.

“I have to say it’s the absolutely perfect fit,” he said.

Since the first Quickie location opened in Shoppers City East in 1973, the stores have become a well-known fixture in Ottawa’s retail landscape.

“There is no succession (plan), unfortunately. It’s time to move on.”

After starting as a competitor to new grocery store chains like 7-Eleven and Mac’s, Quickie evolved into a multi-faceted operation that sold gas and made connections with fast food giants like Subway and McDonald’s. The chain’s retailer-owned network of stores now employs around 300 people.

The company eventually grew to become the dominant grocery store player in the region, buying out 7-Eleven’s six Ottawa locations in 2009 as it expanded across eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

The company also gained widespread recognition through initiatives such as the Tour de Quickie, a charity bike race, which it sponsored for several years in the late 1980s and 1990s, and which raised more than $ 2 million to local hospitals.

“I do not think there is a city we are in where we do not make a significant contribution to anything in the city,” Kimmel said. “It is one of the cornerstones of our business that we support society. If society supports us, we must give back.”

Founded in 1976, MacEwen now has a network of 57 corporate-controlled and 85 dealer-managed locations in Ontario that sell fuel and operate grocery stores under the County Line banner.

In a statement, the company said it will integrate Quickie’s well-known red and white logo throughout its combined retail network and plans to continue adding new locations.

“The Quickie brand has a strong heritage in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, and we are excited to expand the brand’s presence and influence with our customers,” President Peter MacEwen said in a statement.

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