Solar Transport
St Bulk Truck Photo (4)

Solar Transport changing owners as part of C-store acquisition

April 25, 2023
Family-owned Krause Group agrees to sell Solar, Kum & Go convenience store chain to Maverik and its parent, FJ Management, in Midwest shakeup

Only five months after Bulk Transporter highlighted Solar Transport’s goal of diversifying beyond petroleum hauling to ensure its survival in a rapidly changing energy landscape, the Des Moines-Iowa-based tank truck carrier is on the move.

Solar, founded as a fuel hauler in 1963, is changing hands as part of a deal announced last week that will see the family-owned Krause Group sell its Kum & Go convenience stores to Maverik – Adventure’s First Stop and its parent company, FJ Management.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Kum & Go has always been driven by a desire to innovate, grow, and serve our customers, our communities, and our people,” Kyle Krause, Krause Group president and CEO, said in a news release. “Maverik has built its business in the same way and is ideally positioned to lead the next chapter of growth for Kum & Go.

“We have much in common and I look forward to welcoming Chuck’s leadership, his team, and Maverik to Des Moines, which will always be the home of the Krause Group and important to our future.”

See also: Solar evolves to ensure survival

Solar and Kum & Go are only two of Krause Group’s 10 companies, a diverse collection of domestic and international businesses that includes Krause+ real estate, the Des Moines Menace soccer team, an Iowa farming operation, and two Italian wineries. But Solar was the first company Kyle bought from his father, William “Bill” Krause, who founded Solar as Sole Transport in Hampton, Iowa, to haul fuel for Hampton Oil, their gas station that developed into Kum & Go (‘K’ for Krause, ‘G’ for Gentle). As of November 2022, Solar boasted 120 tractors, 150 trailers, and 200 drivers, along with four terminals and 16 satellite locations in 15 states.

Bulk Transporter reached out to Solar executives, including Solar president Tom Jones—a tank truck industry veteran—to learn more about the deal, but a Kum & Go representative said they had “no comment beyond the news release at this time.” The transaction is expected to close in the coming months, the companies said in the release.

Solar is a National Tank Truck Carriers Grand Award winner and finalist for a 2022 North American safety championship in the association's Sutherland division.

The combination of Maverik and Kum & Go, with 400-plus locations in 11 Midwest states, creates a “best-in-class” convenience store operator across the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions with a differentiated value proposition across fuel, foodservice and inside store offerings, according to the companies.

“We have long admired the Kum & Go brand,” stated Chuck Maggelet, president and “chief adventure guide” at Maverik. “Kyle and Tanner [Krause], and the generations before them, have built an exceptional business that pairs quality with convenience and puts people first. We are honored to carry their legacy forward as we build on Kum & Go’s strong operating and innovation capabilities and expand our adventurous convenience experience.

“We look forward to welcoming Kum & Go and Solar Transport associates and stores to Maverik – Adventure’s First Stop.”

With regulators intent on phasing out refined fuels in favor of battery-electric vehicles, Solar started a chemical-hauling division in November 2022. The company ramped up operations last year with the goal of doubling the division’s size in 2023 and 2024, and reaching $50 million in annual chemical-hauling revenue this decade.

But it’s unclear how those plans will be affected by joining Utah-based private holding company FJ Management, which also manages a diverse portfolio of petroleum, healthcare, and hospitality related assets.

“My family has worked for four generations to create and build Kum & Go into a business that has done an incredible amount of good for our people, for Iowa, and beyond,” said Tanner Krause, president and CEO of Kum & Go. “Serving as president for the past five years has been the fulfillment of my lifelong dream.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Chuck Maggelet for years and hold a lot of respect for him as a person and a business leader. I’m confident the Maggelets and Maverik will be good stewards of Kum & Go’s people and culture for generations to come.”