Royal Farms, the Maryland-based gas station/ fried chicken/convenience store chain, is expanding in Delaware County, the home base for rival gas station/hoagie/convenience store chain Wawa Inc.
While Lima-based Wawa, Altoona-based Sheetz, and other family-owned regional chains only compete around the edges of their home markets in Pennsylvania, Royal has arrived in Wawa's heartland, starting with its new a store in Prices Corner, Del. and moving swiftly north.
The chain plans to add another on South Stewart Avenue, just off I-95 next to the Boeing helicopter factory in Ridley Township, this month.
Royal Farms also has a site in Delaware County where it hopes to build, at Route 452 and Meetinghouse Road in Upper Chichester. The property is under contract and is going through the local approval process. Royal is eyeing another property on MacDade Boulevard in Glenolden, according to broker Zommick McMahon Commercial Real Estate Inc., which is handling Royal's property hunt.
"The Delaware Valley is a natural extension for us," Royal marketing manager Ed Stronski said in a statement.
The Ridley outlet is part of a $20 million development by Kathryn Rinnier's MGM Ridley Parking, which was approved by the Corbett administration last year for $3.75 million in taxpayer-funded state aid and matching grants.
Royal Farms, founded in 1959 by Baltimore's Cloverland Dairy, operates 160 stores in Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia as well as Pennsylvania. (Wawa has around 600, spreading out from I-95 between North Jersey and central Virginia, plus central Florida.)
As it moves north, Royal has been experimenting with a longer food menu, including mashed potatoes, three-bean barbecue, and "subs," as hoagies and other roll-based sandwiches are known in places like Baltimore.
Shares of RCS Capital Corp., the New York investment firm controlled by Jenkintown scrap-metal heir turned corporate landlord Nicholas Schorsch, rose 8.3 percent to $10.55 Thursday after RCS said it had cut a deal with another Schorsch-led company, American Realty Capital Properties Inc., a landlord for big U.S. corporations. The deal is meant to end litigation over American Realty's aborted plan to sell its Cole Capital brokerage group and related assets to RCS for $700 million.
American Realty shares were off 0.3 percent, closing at $9.18.
To end the dispute, RCS agreed to pay American Realty $32.7 million up front, plus $15.3 million by 2016. American Realty will also keep RCS's $10 million down payment.
RCS canceled the Cole sale in October, after two American Realty officials quit and the company blamed them for submitting phony public financial reports. But American Realty sued RCS in Chancery Court in Delaware to force the deal through.
In a statement, RCS chief Michael Weil said the deal "is in the best interests of RCS Capital stakeholders. We believe the negotiation of a fixed-cost settlement clearly outweighs the potential expense and distraction of a drawn-out litigation process, enabling us to focus" on expansion.
American Realty is restating its earnings. Other Schorsch businesses sell closed-end real estate funds to retirees and other small investors.
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story referred to an "informal arrangement" that resulted in limited competition by convenience store chains. The story has been changed to make it clear that The Inquirer is not alleging store chains engaged in activity that may violate federal laws governing competition.