Gas City files Ch. 11, up for sale

By Mary Ellen Podmolik
Posted Oct. 27, 2010 at 8:17 a.m.

Gas City, Ltd., the Frankfort-based operator of 55 gas stations, sought Chapter 11 protection from creditors late Tuesday and plans to put itself up for sale.

The bankruptcy filing, made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, listed estimated assets of between $50 million and $100 million and liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million. According to the court documents, Gas City has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors.

Suburban Chicago banks dominate the list of the 20 creditors holding the largest unsecured claims. Among them is: Old Second National Bank, New Lenox, $19.2 million; Standard Bank and Trust Co., Hickory Hills, $14.1 million; MB Financial Bank, South Holland, $10.5 million; and Integra Bank, N.A., Bridgeview, $8.5 million. Centier Bank in Merrillville, Ind., holds the largest unsecured claim of almost $19.5 million.

The petition noted that in May, all of Gas City’s refiner suppliers canceled their lines of credit with the company.

The company’s sole owner, William McEnery, opened his first gas station at 55th Street and Pulaski in Chicago in 1966. It has since grown to 55 retail gas stations, including 10 truck stops, in Northeastern Illinois, Indiana, Florida and Arizona.

Jeffrey Zappone, the company’s new chief restructuring officer, said in court documents that accompanied the filing “that the best course of action for all parties in interest is to market Gas City’s assets and business, along with stations… for sale as an operating, going concern.”

The company also is seeking to maintain its customer loyalty programs, dubbed “City Rewards” and “Elite City Rewards” during the bankruptcy process.

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  1. CGull Oct. 27, 2010 at 8:40 a.m.

    Frankly, I stopped going to Gas City a long time ago when I noticed how their gas prices seemed to be higher than any other station in the area.

  2. Ron Oct. 27, 2010 at 9:42 a.m.

    McEnery has had a problem paying on time (if at all) for years. This development doesn’t surprise me at all. He has hurt small local vendors and service people who have had to chase him down personally just to get paid for work performed at his stations.

    As for the banks… well, it’s no surprise that banks have made poor investments for their stock holders. Let’s hope he doesn’t take too many others with him.

  3. I.C. London Oct. 27, 2010 at 9:44 a.m.

    So how are they still selling gas? Are the oil companies extending credit to them and taking the hit instead of the list of banks? I don’t think so.

    Heck, let the banks take them over, and see how much money they would THEN put up.

  4. bbnguy815 Oct. 27, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.

    Oh well. Their gas is consistently priced higher than other gas stations.

  5. Suzi Oct. 27, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.

    I quit buying from their Hammond, IN store a few years ago. I went to pump my gas and the clerk hollered out through the speaker – “credit only”. No sign indicating that. I went to another one – same thing. I finally got disgusted and left. Going forward a few weeks. Same thing different pumps. They must switch “credit” pumps every day to confuse customers.

  6. bluecrv Oct. 27, 2010 at 11:23 a.m.

    This does not surprise me in the least. They consistently have higher prices than other stations in the area and they charge ridiculous amounts for the food items (etc) inside the stations. If he had made himself more competitive and thought less about expansion maybe he wouldn’t be in this predicament.

  7. C-Store OpGuy Oct. 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    How are the locations? Are the sites in good condition? I don’t know Gas City, but I am an investor looking for opportunities to buy c-stores and improve their operations.

  8. Jon Oct. 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    The sites are usually in good condition and in good locations.

  9. Jon Oct. 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I met Mr. McEnery once. Very strange guy. Talked about Notre Dame a lot. He said I could ask him one question (and it could be about the cow out front of the building). I asked why his gas was so expensive as compared to Speedway… His answer? Because he could.

  10. Barry Oct. 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    The REAL reason McEnery is going kaput??? He lost a ton on southern state Gambling casinos that fizzled out to happen.

  11. Fed-Up Oct. 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    When I was a kid there was a Gas City station on 87th st just east of Kedzie in Evergreen Park as kids we called it Gas Shi##y. Guess everyone else just found that out. Heard he was a class act, not. Sorry to all the folks who will now lose there jobs, after everyone read this article and responses I’d be amazed to see anyone near this a##’s store.

  12. momic Oct. 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    City Rewards??? For paying 20% more for gas or diesel. The owner was obsessed with neon lights and ignored business practices that would have saved the company.

  13. Tired Oct. 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    True Gas City prices have always been higher then everywhere else, however the situation that Mr. McEnery has the workers in now is sad. My husband & mother both run stores for Gas City and are now faced with the worry of weither or not they will have a job soon. The 2 stores they operate are very well run stores & are also very clean. I lost my job 2 years ago due to BP selling out and now we are thrown back into the same waiting game and its so close to the holidays its scarey.

  14. dave Oct. 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    i personally know bill Mcenery very well. He has gone out of his way over the last 35 years to help people out. This is truly a hard working guy and family. i can only wish him the best. He is a good man.

  15. Bill Torrence Oct. 27, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I cant believe the pettiness of some of these complaints.”Suzie” If you ever ran your own business, youd understand just how difficult it is to get everyone who works for you to do what they are suppose to do. I bet you have a difficult time getting your own family to do what you want them to do. I know i do. Personally ive always been very impressed with Bill McEnerys ability to properly delagate. And so, Gas citys district managers ect. to closely manage so many. “Fed Up” Sounds to me like youve never GROWN UP. Do you put the air in the RAT or let it out. This man has put many people to work since 1966. My 4 year old grandson has a clearer view of the issues involved than you do. Your obviosly a follower without any leadership abilities, experience, or ambitions. But thats ok, just sit there and complain. Thats what your type is good at. I know of many instances Bill McEnery has put people to work not because he needed something done, but because the man or woman had a family to feed. To Bill, that was always far more important. “jon” If your son went to Notre Dame, got excellent grades, you to would talk a lot about Notre Dame. Hes proud of his son and the school he went to. That doesnt make him strange. It makes him a dad. iTS A COW. Were is your sense of humor? Would you have been happy with any answer? I think your the strange one. “Cstore opguy” Ive built 50% of the stations. Bill McEnery and Gas City only accepted the best in materials and workmanship. “momic” Im glad your not a judge. Your uninformed childish view of the situation, Coupled with a JUDGE JURY AND EXACUTIONER view of yourself. Would make you very dangerous behind the bench.

  16. Chad Oct. 28, 2010 at 1:17 a.m.

    A lot of monday morning quarterbacks here, or just idiots to reinforce a testimonial to the inadequacy of human nature. Bill and his family built Gas City and a number of other businesses, through hard work, dedication, talented employees, and entreprenurial risk aversion. Say what you want, but I have a lot of respect for the McEnerys and what they built. They helped a lot of people, whether appreciated or not. I hope and wish the best for them and what will emerge from it.
    And for the economists who would drive a mile for a nickel savings on 10 gallons of gas, you are too stupid to know what to do with that extra 50 cents! Enjoy passing your gas money through the bulletproof glass when the guy behind you wants to buy another glass pipe to smoke from. You must be proud that your time is worth those two quarters.

  17. JOHN C Oct. 28, 2010 at 6:19 a.m.

    GAS Prices went up fast and stayed high for 3 to 4 years so people CUT back on GAS and the junk food the STATION SELLS. THe overhead killed him and many others, People even avoided the car wash too, a little dirt is OK when you save 5 bucks

  18. JOHN C Oct. 28, 2010 at 6:23 a.m.

    There is a “matrix” to buying wholesale GAS so you do not get stuck with the expensive “GALLONS” when PRICES DROP.. BOYCOTT BP they are the culprits not GAS CITY. The boycott lowers the price of gas since the refiner has to sell the excess gas to other stations at a lower cost.

    Remember this for your whole life!