Colorado marketer sells operation with help from Growth Summit partner

July 9, 2024 By     0 Comments

Jim and Cathy Wallace have become friends with Chad and Trisha Pendill and their son Tyler. They play golf together and have dinner whenever they can.

Jim and Cathy Wallace (Photo courtesy of Jim Wallace)

Jim and Cathy Wallace (Photo courtesy of Jim Wallace)

The friendship evolved from a professional partnership forged at the 2022 LP Gas Growth Summit. At the time, the Wallaces owned San Isabel Services Propane, a retailer in Pueblo West, Colorado. The Pendills, meanwhile, had launched Legacy Energy Consulting just two years earlier.

Legacy, of Fountain Hills, Arizona, brokers mergers and acquisitions in the propane industry, finding buyers for retailers wanting to sell their businesses and advising companies how to improve their operations.

The Wallaces weren’t necessarily looking to sell San Isabel. However, they were growing older, and the thought of retirement had entered their minds.

At the summit, Chad and Tyler showed a lot of interest in San Isabel and asked insightful questions about the company. The Wallaces were impressed because the Pendills kept the conversation casual and weren’t pushy.

Then Chad Pendill told the Wallaces how much money they could expect to receive if they sold San Isabel.

“When they heard that, their eyes opened,” Chad Pendill says. “It piqued their interest. We met two or three more times at the summit, and two weeks later they called me up and said let’s do it.”

In August 2023, DCC Propane, a global firm based in Dublin and one of the largest propane providers in the U.S., purchased San Isabel. The deal was arranged by Legacy Energy Consulting.

The Wallaces trusted Legacy to market San Isabel due to the Pendills’ knowledge of, and their contacts in, the propane industry. Their confidence in Chad and Tyler only increased over time.

“They were diligent in putting the metrics together and representing a clear picture of how our business was operating, and its profitability, to the market,” Jim Wallace says. “They were always available to answer questions and provided great feedback.

“But they didn’t just provide a service and market our business,” Jim Wallace says. “They also had our best interest at heart. We fostered a lifelong friendship, and that’s important to us as well.”

Chad Pendill established Legacy in 2020 after working 30 years in the propane industry. Initially he was a wholesale provider of propane equipment to retailers. Then, in 2017, he was hired by Ferrellgas to help with acquisitions.

From left, Chad, Trisha and Tyler Pendill of Legacy Energy Consulting. (Photo courtesy of Chad Pendill)

From left, Chad, Trisha and Tyler Pendill of Legacy Energy Consulting. (Photo courtesy of Chad Pendill)

So far, Legacy has brokered 18 acquisitions in 10 states. As of June, Pendill had 11 potential deals on the market.

As for the Wallaces, they’ve been in the business for decades. Jim’s father, Bob Wallace, started Wallace Oil Co. in 1962 in Colorado, and Jim joined the family business in 1989. They sold gas, diesel and oil, and diversified into propane in 2001.

Jim Wallace, today president of Wallace Oil, bought San Isabel in 2010. He and Cathy grew the business from eight workers, six bobtails and three storage buildings to 15 workers, 12 bobtails and seven buildings.

Chad Pendill saw a well-organized, tightly run and growth-oriented business at San Isabel. He says the company wasn’t hard to market.

“Information gathering at a lot of smaller companies can be a challenge,” he says. “San Isabel had seasoned managers and operators. The company was nicely structured, and the information-gathering process was relatively easy.”

Jim Wallace says San Isabel has fit nicely into DCC’s family of companies. DCC kept all of San Isabel’s workers except for one who retired. The benefits were maintained and even improved.

The Wallaces and the Pendills praise the LP Gas Growth Summit for bringing them together. Chad Pendill says he regularly attends national conventions, trade shows and industry events, but the summit is his favorite because it’s more intimate and allows more time with individual companies.

Jim Wallace says propane professionals can learn a lot about safety, technology, human resources and other elements of the industry at the summit.

“There’s so much camaraderie with other people in propane, and you have a chance to get to know them,” Cathy Wallace says of the summit. “They are very down-to-earth people.”

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