Christy Mihos says goodbye Chavez, hello Gulf

Christy's will switch from Citgo to Gulf
A patriotic Yarmouth man puts his gasoline where his mouth is

By Walter Brooks (with a little help from his Greek friends)

citgogulf_341The Gulf Oil company said today that Christy's of Cape Cod, will switch its gasoline brand from Citgo to Gulf.  Gulf Oil Limited Partnership announced that Christy’s of Cape Cod LLC will begin re-branding its entire gasoline station portfolio from Citgo to Gulf Oil beginning this summer. This is the latest addition in Gulf’s strategy to become the premiere New England brand of petroleum products, expanding its iconic logo at gasoline retail sites across its service footprint.

“We are extremely pleased with our relationship with Gulf,” said Christy’s of Cape Cod CEO Christy Mihos who lives on Great Island in Yarmouth.  The Christy's chain of gas station and convenience stores has seven gas station locations, a Gulf Oil spokesman said.

“Our decision was simple. Gulf is the only New England based major oil company in our industry and they are one of the region’s must trusted brands. Gulf’s has a one-hundred-year history of providing superior products and service to motorists, which is consistent with the quality promise implicit in Christy’s pledge to its customers.”

“Gulf Oil is headquartered in Massachusetts, and we are especially proud to have Christy’s Markets join our growing family. Moreover, we are eager to further serve the motorists on Cape Cod,” said Joseph Petrowski, Gulf Oil’s President and CEO.  Gulf has a significant presence throughout the Northeast, and continues to expand with more than 2,400 stations in its service area.

Beware of Greeks pumping gas?

Cumberlad Farm CEO Lily Haseotes Bentas and Christy's Cape Cod CEO Christy Mihos have generational connections.
The Haseotes family still owns Cumberland Farms. One of the largest privately held companies in the US.  Run by the brothers and sister of the founders, who immigrated to this country and started a dairy farm in Rhode Island.

As did Christy Mihos parents, who established a grocery business in Brockton.

Cumberland farms was the first to establish a chain of convenience stores on the Cape in the sixties, and was the first to introduce gas at these locations. The Cumberland founders later moved to Long Beach in Centerville.

In true Greek fashion, the next generation of family owners bought a Gulf refinery in order produce their own gas, just as they had been producing their own milk.  After some initial difficulty, financially, attempting to get the refinery up and running, they eventually established a chain of gas station/convenience stores from Maine to Florida.

Christy Mihos, is limited to growing his Christy’s convenience stores only on Cape Cod as an agreement with 7/11 (Southland Corporation) when he sold his off-cape stores to them a few years ago.  He initially contracted to sell Citgo gas at his locations. After his disagreement with Venezuela leader, FOB (Friend of Bill Delahunt), Christy went shopping for another gas supplier.

Who better than a fellow Greek. But interesting that he is also a competitor in the same market of convenience stores.

Will Cumby buy Christy, or vice versa?

Might there be another deal in the making.  Will Christy sell his stores to Cumberland Farms? Is Christy interested in leaving his comfortable hamlet on Great Island to run one of the largest convenience store chains in the world? Does anyone know a good private equity firm?

What do you get when you mix milk and gas? Greek salad.

About Gulf Oil LP 

Gulf Oil Limited Partnership, based in Newton, Massachusetts, is one of the Northeast's largest wholesalers of refined petroleum products. Gulf distributes motor fuels through a network of over 2,400 branded gas stations, 12 proprietary oil terminals, and a network of over 50 other supply terminals. Gulf Oil supplies heating oil, diesel fuel, jet fuel and kerosene to these branded retail outlets through both its Gulf brand and, in the seven states of New England and New York.  

About Cumberland Farms 

Gulf LP is owned mostly by the Haseotes family whose patriarch started Cumberland farms in 1939.  Vasilios has a home in Centerville. He and Christy's father both owned grocery stores in Southeastern Massachusetts, and the families have been friends and friendly competitors for decades.

Once a one-cow dairy, Cumberland Farms now operates a network of more than 1,100 convenience stores and gas stations in 11 eastern seaboard states from Maine to Florida. The company has its own grocery distribution and bakery operations to supply its stores. Cumberland owns a two-thirds limited partnership in petroleum wholesaler Gulf Oil, giving it the right to use and license Gulf trademarks in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, most of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the New England states. The Haseotes' children, including CEO Lily Haseotes Bentas, own the company.  

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