After selling convenience stores, Noco goes looking for deals

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Noco has launched a new division called Noco Enterprises, focusing on business acquisitions and new market opportunities.

Noco’s president, James Newman, views the entity as the family-owned company’s “growth machine,” and it has placed a commercial real estate industry veteran, James Dentinger, in charge of the new operation.

The new division reflects the ongoing evolution of Noco, which last summer completed a blockbuster deal, selling 33 of its convenience stores and its Town of Tonawanda fuel terminal to Marathon Inc.

While Noco’s name and green and white color scheme vanished from the stores — replaced by Speedway’s red logo — Noco has focused on its other businesses, which include fuels distribution, its commercial and residential natural gas and electrical division, and HVAC services. Just recently, Noco added a sustainability division.

Newman said he sees opportunities to grow those segments, as well as to expand into renewable energy and beyond, even into commercial real estate.

“The idea of (Noco) Enterprises was to really hang a shingle out there in the community that says, we’re here to partner, to acquire and to grow, and the Enterprise company is really that what I’ll call the acquisition and partnering entity for Noco,” Newman said.

That’s where Dentinger comes in. He served on Noco’s board of advisers for about five years and helped Noco navigate its deal with Marathon.

Dentinger was most recently president of McGuire Development but stepped back from that role earlier this year. He continues to advise McGuire as its director of asset management, but Noco is his full-time assignment.

“I like to grow things. That’s one of the things I have always enjoyed,” Dentinger said. “And you grow things a couple of ways, by processes and relationships.”

Dentinger said the potential for the new division extends far beyond Noco’s traditional fuels business, into sustainability and other arenas. While the Covid-19 pandemic has caused economic upheaval, Dentinger said that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for what Noco Enterprises can do.

“Now we can probably help some companies that might have capital constraints or have a great idea but can’t make it through the next six to nine months as they’re trying to regrow their businesses,” he said. “So there could be some really interesting acquisition opportunities.”

Newman said Noco’s transition continues toward new forms of energy. “It’s kind of exciting because there’s just a lot of avenues you can go at right now,” he said.

Published by The Buffalo News

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