Fast-growing Yesway names a chief real estate officer

Al Urbanski
Brown has 10 contractors committed to building the stores he needs.

As president of the real estate private equity firm Brookwood Financial Partners, Thomas W. Brown put the Yesway logo on 435 convenience stores over the past seven years. Now he has been named the brand’s chief real estate officer.

Noting a need for more C-stores in open stretches of the Midwest, Brown acquired a number of 10-to-12 store chains in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska and built a 150-store portfolio for Yesway since founding the chain in 2015.

Its expansion then spread to Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, where he acquired the Allsup’s chain, whose large stores provided groceries and home goods items to customers in diffusely populated areas.

“That acquisition allowed us to hone our focus and see what we wanted to be when we grew up. One of the things we learned was that bigger in this industry was better than smaller,” Brown told Chain Store Age in 2022. “We started developing stores that were 5,000 sq. ft and then got up to 8,000 to 9,000 sq. ft.”

Brown is on a fast track. Yesway completed the construction of 17 new stores and 21 raze-and-rebuild projects in 2022. Brookwood raised $190 million in new equity to fund the building of 28 additional new stores in 2023.

Brown has managed to put up those numbers by hiring a stable of 10 contractors, each of which is committed to building six or seven stores a year. He got similar commitments from two steel companies that he contracted as Yesway’s sole suppliers.

"Having worked side-by-side with Tom for nearly 30 years, I am excited about this next chapter for the company, and look forward to him providing even more guidance and support as Yesway continues to grow,” said Brookwood CEO Tom Trkla.

Brown will be responsible for directing all real estate related activities for the firm, including identifying potential site and convenience store acquisitions and overseeing the firm's store remodel, raze-and-rebuild, and new-to-market construction initiatives. 

He will remain president of Brookwood and continue to serve on its executive and investment committees.



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