Daily News

Pride Stores Owner Bob Bolduc Sells Chain to Arclight Capital Partners

SPRINGFIELD — Eight months after announcing plans to sell the chain, Pride Stores CEO Bob Bolduc announced a sale to Arclight Capital Partners.

The 31 stores — with several more in development — will keep the Pride name, and the company’s customers and 525 employees will see little change in day-to-day operations, Bolduc told local news outlets, which is one of the reasons Arclight won out over several other interested parties.

“We had seven actual very serious big bidders who wanted to buy it,” he told Western Mass News. “They were all either national chains or very large regional chains that were strongly interested, and it wasn’t that difficult to pick, because this company wanted to keep everybody in place, and not everybody wanted to do that, and most of all, I want to take care of my employees.”

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.