6-unit Louie’s Fresh Market has a new owner

The Michigan-based grocery chain, founded by Alpena Oil Company, has been purchased by Blarney Castle Oil Co.
Louie's Fresh Market
Six-unit Louie's Fresh Market has been sold to Blarney Castle Oil Co. / Logo: Louie's Fresh Market

Louie’s Fresh Market, a six-unit grocery chain based in Michigan, has a new owner.

Louie’s parent, Alpena Oil Company, has been purchased by Blarney Castle Oil Co., according to an announcement Thursday from transaction adviser Matrix Capital Markets.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Bear Lake, Michigan-based Blarney Castle will acquire the six Louie’s Fresh Market full-service grocery stores, along with 14 convenience stores and a cardlock fueling location.

Blarney Castle opened its first gas station in 1933 and now operates more than 140 EZ Mart convenience store locations, plus a propane and fuel oil service as well as commercial fuel and bulk lubricant sales.

Alpena Oil was founded in 1849, when Jeremiah Douville—the great-grandfather of the current company owners—opened a bakery in Alpena, Michigan. The business later expanded into grocery wholesaling, which remained its primary business until the family bought its first gas station portfolio in 1996.

Not long after, the company opened the first Louie’s Fresh Market store 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,” Matrix said in the press release.

“(Alpena President) Jere (Johnson) and (wife) Sharon built and operated a very successful retail chain that offered customers high-value products in a clean and friendly environment,” Spencer Cavalier, co-head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group, said in a statement. “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.”



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