Cody’s Acquires Six Express Lane Stores

Cody’s Convenience Stores acquired six bankrupt Express Lane stores, making it the second-largest owner of convenience stores in southwest Missouri.

With the purchase, which closed in bankruptcy court Dec. 28, Cody’s surpassed fellow Springfield-based chain Rapid Roberts’ 23 area stores. Cody’s portfolio now comprises 25 stores, second to West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go’s 33 stores in southwest Missouri, according to the Springfield (Mo.) Business Journal.

Cody’s, which was founded five years ago with a single store in Rogersville, has grown through acquisitions and new construction. Express Lane parent company Waddill’s Markets Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court filings. Filings also show that Cody’s acquired the six stores for $1 million.

Cody’s actually began operating the stores in late September under a temporary agreement, according to Curtis Jared, executive vice president for Jared Enterprises, parent company of Cody’s. "It was basically our money being put in there with our risk," Jared told the Business Journal. "We weren’t paying anything to the owners. We were just keeping them operational."

Waddill’s Markets’ liquidation plan filed Dec. 21 reports net assets of $162,749 and remaining debt of $888,839 to unsecured creditors. About $516,000 has been paid to secured creditors, said Plaster, who added that claims from creditors are in flux and that it appears creditors won’t be paid in full.

The liquidation plan states: "Debtor experienced greater competition, its profit margins were tighter, and its credit card fees had increased. In addition, there were demographic changes in debtor’s market and some of its stores had outlived their useful life and needed to be reimaged at a time debtor did not have the cash flow to reimage."

Jared said signage at the Express Lane stores would switch over by the end of January.

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