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Petro Serve to acquire Valley Dairy

A sign at the Valley Dairy on University Ave. displays a price of $1.99 Wednesday in Grand Forks. Photo by Tim Albrecht/Grand Forks Herald

Petro Serve USA will acquire Valley Dairy, a local chain of gas stations, convenience stores and car washes in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

The deal will close on Dec. 1, Petro Serve CEO Kent Satrang said Friday afternoon, adding it has been in the works for a couple of months.

Satrang said the local stores will keep the Valley Dairy name, given its longevity and reputation in the Grand Forks area. Petro Serve USA, based in West Fargo, has 22 stores in North Dakota and Minnesota.

“The name will stay the same, all of the C-store employees are all staying on and the office is staying open,” Satrang said of the Valley Dairy stores. “I don’t think you’ll see a lot of change there.”

That sentiment was echoed by Valley Dairy President Monica Musich, whom Satrang said he had been friends with for two decades. She was excited that Petro Serve planned to continue charitable activities Valley Dairy had been involved in over the years.

“It’s a little bittersweet, but I’m so excited about who’s taking over,” Musich said. “They’re such great people that I don’t have any regrets, no. I’m excited.”

Valdak Corp., based in Grand Forks, owns and operates the Valley Dairy Convenience Stores and Valley Car Washes in the Grand Cities. There are nine convenience stores between the towns, all but two of which sell gasoline, along with four car washes, according to Valley Dairy’s website.

‘Brand equity’

The company traces its roots to 1956, when it went by Thrift Inc., which bought the Valley Dairy convenience stores in the mid-1960s. At that time, it changed its name to Valdak Corp., which means “Valley of the Dakotas,” and it expanded into the gas and car wash business in 1979, according to the company website. Musich’s father became involved in the business in 1964, she said.

A 1980 graduate of UND, Satrang said he was a Valley Dairy customer while he was living in Grand Forks.

“We understand the brand equity that Valley Dairy has in the city of Grand Forks and with the University of North Dakota and with the charities up there and with the community itself,” he said. “So we’re not going to change a lot.”

Satrang said the move means Valley Dairy will operate as a cooperative, just as Petro Serve does. Valley Dairy will buy gasoline through Petro Serve, which he said is a much larger petroleum company.

Calling Valley Dairy “a landmark” in Grand Forks, Satrang lauded Musich as an “industry leader.” She’ll stay on with the company as a consultant, he said.

“For us to be able to purchase a sound business like that just makes sense,” Satrang said, adding the move increases Petro Serve’s buying power in both the petroleum and convenience store business.

Musich said it was simply the right time to sell.

“It was a great opportunity,” she said. “They’ve been my friends for years. They run great stores.”

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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