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Big merger only a first step for BHI

John Seelmeyer

The merger of Berry-Hinckley Industries and Cashell Enterprises Inc. is only one big step for a company that’s quickly headed for annual sales of three quarters of a billion dollars.

Paul Morabito, chairman and chief executive officer of Reno-based Berry-Hinckley, says at least one more significant business combination is likely to follow in short order.

The merger of the non-gaming sides of Berry-Hinckley and Cashell came together smoothly, he said.

Thinking that northern Nevada needs a quality sports bar a big place with auditorium seating for big events Morabito started thinking about possible locations.

The best, he decided, was The Alamo Truckshop owned by Cashell Enterprises.

He called Rob Cashell, the president of Cashell Enterprises and soon to become the president and chief operating officer of Berry-Hinckley.

“We shook hands on the deal after one meal,” Morabito said. With that handshake, they agreed not only on a 13,000-square-foot sports bar and casino expansion at The Alamo, but the merger of the two longtime northern Nevada companies.

The combined companies will post annual sales of about $600 million and employ about 1,300.

And the merger brings together two companies that fill an only-in-Nevada niche: A combination of petroleum with gaming.

“There’s no other company like this in the north,” says Art Hinckley, who rejoins the merged companies as vice chairman.

Berry-Hinckley’s interests cross a wide swath of the petroleum business everything from pipeline terminals to quick-lube shops.

At the same time, the company’s Winner’s Gaming Inc. has carved a solid position for itself in the locals gaming business.

It’s looking to deepen its presence through the addition of eight sports bars either under construction or planned around the Truckee Meadows, Morabito said.

Cashell Enterprises’ interests, meanwhile, include the Topaz Lodge a resort and gaming property in Douglas County as well as a truck-stop gaming route at Las Vegas.

Its gaming operation will remain underseparate management and ownership until approval is granted by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission. An application is being filed.

The combined companies are undertaking a $45 million expansion program in northern Nevada that ranges from sports bars and multi-use sites that include gas stations, lube shops and convenience stores to a major truck stop at Fernley.

Cashell and Morabito said the company is financing the expansion internally.

Even before the merger, Berry-Hinckley was the state’s largest petroleum suppler.

From its beginnings as a single gas station in Reno in 1928, the company has grown to include two pipeline terminals, Chevron fuels and lubricants retail and wholesale operations, more than 70 Western Energetix cardlock sites, 38 convenience stores, and 27 Jiffy Lube franchises under management in northern Nevada as well as the Palm Springs area of California.

Between its company-owned stations and its dealers, the company has more than a 60 percent share of the retail gasoline market in the Reno area, Morabito said.

Bob Cashell, the current mayor of Reno, launched Cashell Enterprises in 1967 with ownership of Bill & Effie’s Truckstop a property ultimately renamed Boomtown Reno and sold by the Cashell family in 1989.