Calloway Oil Founder Retires

Hugh Calloway Sr. launched a business back in 1957 that he envisioned as a family affair---not just for the members of his immediate family, but for all his employees, as well. And, with loyalty among his core values, he worked through the years to build that kind of a business.

Now, after 44 years of operating Maryville, Tenn.-based Calloway Oil Co., a fuel jobber and operator of 19 E-Z Stop Food Marts, Calloway said he retired from active management of the company and passed the control over to the family that helped him grow the business.

On August 31, Calloway's son, Hugh Martin "Marty" Calloway Jr., was named CEO of Calloway Oil and president of E-Z Stop Food Marts. Tommy Hunt, Calloway's son-in-law, has become president of the company. Hunt has also been named chief executive of E-Z Stop Food Marts. Both were company vice presidents prior to this change.

While Hugh Calloway Sr. is retiring from active company operations, he will remain on the job as chairman. "The bottom line," according to Calloway, "is that our companies will continue to grow with an eye toward the future, while providing the quality, consistency and high standards that our customers have come to expect. The same standards will also be in effect for our managers and staff, who we all regard as greatly valued leaders and members of our extended family."

The history of Calloway's business recaps the evolution of the oil and gas distribution industry. "When we started," Calloway remembers, "Calloway Oil was a 'jobber' of petroleum products that mainly supplied gasoline to service stations operated by dealers. Things changed in the 70s and 80s, with dealers being replaced by convenience store operators whose sales were mainly groceries, beer and cigarettes-with gasoline a secondary item-and jobbers getting into the retail business."

In 1984, Calloway decided retail was the future of his business and formed E-Z Stop Food Marts, Inc.

Today, Calloway Oil Company is a distributor of Exxon and Phillips 66 products in nine east Tennessee counties, with annual sales in excess of $60 million. E-Z Stop Food Marts operates in seven east Tennessee counties. The combined operation has 200 employees.

Hugh Calloway is pleased with the smooth turnover of operational authority. The 77-year-old founder has been in the oil business since he graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1948. Throughout his early career, he worked for Bartlesville, Okla.-based Phillips Petroleum Co., a company that awarded him a Shield of Excellence in 1994.

The senior Calloway has always been known as a hands-on leader, involved in the daily operations of the business. "We've always operated on the theory that good communications and continued rapport are essential for good employee relations," he said. "Our operations are clean and well-arranged, which means these are places where customers like to do business. I know those values will continue."
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