In either 2004 or 2005 a convenience store chain name DB Mart filed for bankruptcy. They were based out of Rhode Island. They had about 150 locations, half of which had fuel and the other half were just normal convenience stores at the time. We were told that the owners were going to sell the stores to the operators of the sites. Some had operated the stores 20-30 years!
At the end of the day, most of the locations were sold to Hess and Getty Oil for whatever reason. I had almost 20 of the locations approved for financing so I wasn’t particularly thrilled since all of those sites went to those two companies.
We were at an upscale hotel somewhere in Rhode Island. I don’t remember all of the vendors, but I remember on one side of me was Citi which had a petroleum group and my friend Matt Dunn was sitting at the table. On the other side of me was Getty Realty. There were a few other banks there also.
There were over 1,000 potential buyers at the meeting. Matrix Capital was handling the sale of the assets. I had my table with my PetroMAC banner, my computer and a lot of brochures on the table. There were probably a half dozen people standing around the table when a gentleman walked up, with a sour look on his face and said:
“Is it your company policy not to return phone calls?”
I’m thinking… WOW.. I’d better think of something because all these other people heard him ask this. My nature tells me to think of something funny so I said:
“Well as a matter of fact, I instituted this policy this past week and good to see it’s working!”
He was not amused. I said “I apologize. I’m just trying to be funny. What is your name sir?”
“My name is Muhesh Patel.”
“MIKE PATEL?” I said with a surprised voice.
“You KNOW me?”
I said “Are you one of the four Mukesh Patels in Connecticut, one of the four Mukesh Patels in Massachusetts, one of the two Mukesh Patels in Rhode Island or one of the two Mukesh Patels in New York?”
“There are THAT MANY Mukesh Patels?”
I said “Mike… your name is like JOHN SMITH here in America!”
Once I had almost 50 Mukesh (Mike) Patels in my phone. Now I think I”m down to four.
The moral of the story? No idea. Keep better track of them and know how to pronounce their names correctly. Because I studied languages and linguistics in college, I’m a stickler for pronunciation (even with my Southern accent” I guess the moral is to keep track of your Mukeshs.