Plaid Pantry

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Privately held company[1]
Predecessor Handy Pantry/Speedy Mart
Founded 1960[2]
Founder John Piacentini [2]
Headquarters Beaverton, Oregon, USA
Area served
Portland metropolitan area, Salem, Oregon, Seattle metropolitan area
Key people
William C."Chris" Girard Jr. (CEO), Mark Conan (CFO)[1][3]
Revenue $192 million (as of 2010)[4]
Owner Plaid Pantry management.

Plaid Pantry is a chain of privately owned convenience stores based in Beaverton, Oregon, United States. Of 107 locations, three are in the Seattle, Washington area, eight are near Salem, and the balance are in the Portland metropolitan area.[5]


Plaid Pantries, Inc. traces its founding to 1960 by John Piacentini. The name refers to the plaid decoration originally on both the store buildings and the roadside pole signs.[2]

Plaid Pantry can date its origins to the late 1950s when a California investor built multiple stores in the Portland area with the financial backing of Alpenrose Dairy.[citation needed] Stores built from scratch by Handy Pantry/Alpenrose were under the Handy Pantry name; stores made by converting an existing structure were referred to as Speedy Mart.[citation needed] In 1963, the Handy Pantry/Speedy Mart chain filed for bankruptcy.[citation needed] Alpenrose Dairy, the major creditor, gained control of all the stores.

In 1960, John Piacentini decided to go into business for himself and opened his first store in east Portland under the name John's One-Stop. He opened a few more stores and eventually was offered the opportunity to purchase the Handy Pantry/Speedy Mart chain with financial backing by Alpenrose Dairy.[citation needed] Piacentini changed the name of all the stores to Plaid Pantry; the stores continued to stock Alpenrose Dairy products.

Founder's sale and death[edit]

Nearly 20 years later, when Piacentini tentatively sold the company to Convenient Food Mart (CFM) in March 1987, he had built it into a chain of 161 stores in the Portland and Seattle areas.[6] That sale fell through about two months later, after CFM conducted its due diligence audit.[7] A subsequent leveraged buyout a year later led to chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 13, 1989, and a subsequent reorganization.[8][9] Piacentini died later in 1988, and several lawsuits followed.[8]

Since 1991[edit]

A location in Hillsboro, Oregon

A series of transactions made public in 1998 put half of the chain under the ownership of a holding company majority-owned by Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin (HLHZ), with minority ownership stakes held by senior Plaid Pantry management including CEO Chris Girard.[8]

The details of the 1998 deal and several subsequent transactions became the subject of a lawsuit in 2007 before the United States District Court for the District of Oregon between HLHZ[10] and Girard.[10] The lawsuit was settled in 2008 and included a complete redemption of HLHZ.

Founder's role in the Oregon Bottle Bill[edit]

In 1969, as the Oregon Bottle Bill was contemplated as a way to reduce litter, large retailers opposed the idea and said that no one would return bottles and cans for a two-cent deposit. Furthermore, opponents of the bill claimed that small grocery stores would face an extraordinary financial burden from receiving and processing thousands of bottles and cans, potentially bankrupting several stores. John Piacentini disagreed. He offered a half cent for each soda or beer bottle returned to Plaid Pantry stores. Piacentini even stated that he hoped Oregonians "bury me in litter." [11] In two weeks, Piacentini collected 150,000 cans at 60 stores.

Alcohol sales[edit]

Plaid Pantry, reportedly under pressure from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), has a policy against selling alcohol to "homeless street drinkers"[12] According to Plaid Pantry's president Chris Girard, the policy has been in place since 1997.

In the late 1990s, Plaid Pantry failed 30-40% of spot checks conducted by the OLCC to determine if the company was selling alcohol or tobacco to minors; by March 2000, they became the first retailer recognized by the OLCC as a "responsible vendor", a milestone reached due to changes to the company's training and its credit card validation system, which were updated to simplify a clerk's ability to ascertain whether a customer was of legal age.[13]


  1. ^ a b Profile of Plaid Pantries Inc. from Hoovers
  2. ^ a b c "What's in a Name?". Plaid Pantry. September 24, 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  3. ^ Plaid Pantry Completes Refinancing from Convenience Store News via
  4. ^ Goldfield, Robert (July 29, 2011). "Oregon private companies take wild ride". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  5. ^ "Plaid Pantry Locations". Plaid Pantry. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  6. ^ Convenient acquires Plaid Pantries from a March 1987 Chicago Sun-Times article via
  7. ^ Plaid Pantry Proposed Sale is Called Off After Audit of Firm, a May 23, 1987 article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  8. ^ a b c Revived Plaid Pantry refills cupboards, an August 1998 article from the Portland Business Journal
  9. ^ Hamburg, Ken (March 14, 1989). "Plaid Pantry chain seeks protection". p. C9. 
  10. ^ a b HLHZ Investments, LLC v. Plaid Pantries Inc. et al.
  11. ^ Walth, Brent (1994). Fire at Eden's Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story. Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 319. 
  12. ^ Rogue of the Week: Plaid Pantry, a March 2007 Willamette Week editorial
  13. ^ Plaid Pantry's reforming ways encouraging to OLCC, a March 2000 article from the Portland Business Journal

External links[edit]