Five-cup-a-day coffee drinker Paul Friel, the former Wawa and Sunoco executive who now runs the Broomall-based Swiss Farms chain of a dozen Delaware County drive-up dairy stores - plus a brand new expansion in Charlotte, N.C. -now has an additional job: He's also CEO of the two-dozen-store Saxbys coffee shop chain. "I've always loved the coffee business," Friel told me. "It was a great opportunity."
Swiss Farms' owner, veteran Radnor investor Robert E. Brown Jr.'s MVP Capital Partners, paid less than $2.6 million in cash and debt payments for the chain, to former Saxbys owner Joseph Grasso, the Philadelphia developer, according to people  familiar with the terms. 
The deal, consummated this Spring, hasn't been officially announced, though Friel just told me he's working on a press release, after confirming the sale.

Saxbys has locations in the Philadelphia, Dallas, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Las Vegas areas. "There's great demand for high-end coffee," Friel told me. Even against Starbuck's and the other big chains? "We franchise. That (enables us to) better reflect neighborhoods than the big chains. We're part of the community we're serving." He said Saxbys has so far lacked access to expansion capital but MVP and franchisees wil now fund growth.

Swiss Farm is also starting to franchise, opening under its first-ever franchisee, Mike Lang in Charlotte, N.C., and opening for ex-Fox 29 weatherman Frank Cariello in Raleigh this fall.

UPDATE: Former owner Grasso says he's retaining the old Bucks County Coffee Co. brand, along with his coffee-roasting business, Cofee Shops International, of Conshohocken. "We supply about 1,000 supermarkets,' and hope to expand, he told me. Grasso bought Saxby's in 2008 from founder Nick Bayer, who remains with the company. Like Friel, Saxby's blamed the difficulty of getting financing after the 2008 financial crunch for failing to expand the business; "we had to close some stores." 

MVP founder Brown worked for the old Penn Central railroad and for Morgan Lewis & Bockius before hanging out his buyout-firm shingle in 1983. MVP has owned two dozen companies over the years including Omega Health Systems, Planalytics, the Mothers Work retail chain, Air Medical Group Holdings, ANI Pharmaceuticals, and Praxis Cos.