Colonial Group Timeline
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The company was founded by Raymond M. Demere in 1921 when he returned from World War I after having served with distinction. He decided that a promising career would be one that supplied petroleum products for the new internal combustion engines to power the vehicles replacing the horse and buggy. He founded the American Oil Company with a total beginning inventory of one 55-gallon drum of oil.
In 1933, Standard Oil Company of Indiana wanted to expand the operation of its own American Oil Company in the Southeast. Mr. Demere agreed to release the name and he and his associates renamed the company Colonial Oil. Mr. Demere’s judgement was sound and in 1934 construction began on a deep-water terminal on a 21-acre tract of land which was the beginning of the present Colonial Terminals.
Raymond Demere served as the company’s President until his death in 1953; thereupon Charles L. Jarrell became President. In 1958, Robert H. Demere, the son of the founder, became President, elevating Mr. Jarrell to Chairman of the Board.
Under Robert Demere’s leadership, the company continued to grow adding the retail distribution of fuel oils to the home heating market. This expansion later became a successful bulk fuel oil distributing company known as Colonial Fuel and Lubricant Services. In 1964 Colonial launched a subsidiary company known as Interstate Stations for the operation of retail service stations. Now known as enmarket, it spans Georgia and the Carolinas with over 60 locations.
Robert H. Demere became Chairman in 1986, succeeded as President by his son, Robert H. Demere, Jr., who remains in this position today. Under his leadership, the growth of the company has been marked by impressive accomplishments, diversity and an unwavering dedication to the vision of the man who
started it all.
Today, Colonial Group, Inc. includes 11 active subsidiaries, operates in numerous states, employs over 1,100 employees, spans diverse business sectors and continues to grow in the markets we serve. Raymond M. Demere would be proud.