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Pride Stores CEO Looking to Sell Chain

SPRINGFIELD — Pride Stores CEO Bob Bolduc announced plans to sell the chain, which includes 31 stores and 525 employees, with 10 additional sites in development.

Bolduc told the Republican he will know in six to eight weeks if he will sell and who the buyer will be. He has hired a merger and acquisition firm and has been speaking with potential buyers, which include oil and gas companies and chain convenience-store operators. The plan is to sell the whole company, retaining only a few real-estate investments.

Bolduc worked at his father’s gas station in Indian Orchard in 1970 before buying him out, thus becoming the third generation of the family to run that business. In addition to running the station, he became a tire and auto-parts wholesaler, specifically a distributor for BF Goodrich and Continental.

But in 1976, Bolduc made the shift that would define his career, buying a self-serve gas station in Indian Orchard. Over the years, he would gradually expand his business, creating the chain of stores known today as Pride. But, more importantly, he developed a reputation as an industry innovator by marrying the self-service station with another emerging phenomenon, the convenience store.

Other innovations would follow; Pride would eventually become the first chain in Western Mass. to put a Dunkin’ Donuts in the stores, and the first to incorporate a Subway. But where the company has really made a name, in recent years, is with its own fresh-food production, supported by the Pride Kitchen, located at the company’s headquarters on Cottage Street in Springfield.

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