A Boston-based private equity firm is bankrolling the launch of a new convenience store chain that will be based in West Des Moines.

Brookwood Financial Partners LLC, through its affiliate BW Gas & Convenience Holdings LLC, announced that it will acquire 21 convenience stores in Iowa from West Des Moines-based Kum & Go LC over the next month. BW Gas & Convenience, which will operate under the brand Yesway, will initially own and operate 31 stores in Iowa with the acquisition, the company said in a release. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The launch of Yesway marks the beginning of an exciting new branding venture for BW Gas & Convenience," said Thomas Nicolas Trkla, chairman and CEO of Yesway and Brookwood Financial Partners. "Yesway is committed to serving our customers and providing them with a terrific shopping experience. We look forward to expanding our brand in the Midwest and becoming an integral part of the communities we serve."

Since its founding in 1993, Brookwood has invested over $820 million of equity to acquire a portfolio of 220 commercial real estate and convenience store properties, with a realized and unrealized value in excess of $2.2 billion. Yesway plans to acquire, improve and rebrand between 600 and 1,000 convenience stores in selected regions of the United States over the next several years.

Good profitability is attracting more private equity to the convenience store industry, said Linda Lisanti, editor-in-chief of Convenience Store News.

"This is not the first time that we've seen private equity interests in the industry, but I think we're seeing more of it recently," Lisanti told the Business Record. "I think because right now is a good time to be in the convenience store industry -- with gas prices low, the more money they have to spend inside the store."

Lisanti said Kum & Go's strong assets and well-positioned stores probably factored into Yesway's decision to base its operation in West Des Moines. "Also, being located in the Midwest, it gives you a good base to extend in all directions," she said.  

Yesway plans to spend about $6.7 million to completely upgrade and remodel its entire portfolio in Iowa, the company said. Three initial Kum & Go stores in Mason City will be purchased this week, with the remaining 18 to be bought within the next four weeks.

"The new exterior and interior store design will enhance the overall appeal of the stores and enable us to offer a fresh experience for consumers in the Iowa region," said Brian Trout, Yesway's senior vice president of operations. "Customers will enjoy redesigned stores that are true to our brand tenets, which are to be user-friendly, inviting and efficient. Over the years, the previous owners have established a loyal and reliable customer base, and we look forward to continuing to serve them in their respective local communities."