Par Mar Stores Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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Par Mar Logo with gold balloons

Par Mar Stores Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Par Mar Stores with a 50th years banner

MARIETTA, Ohio — Par Mar Stores is turning 50 years old this month and is marking the occasion with a gift card giveaway.

"Par Mar Stores has been in your community for a long time. Anniversaries are a time to remember the good times. We are sure you have a favorite team member or a good memory of our store when you think of your hometown," the retailer wrote on its Facebook page. "Near or far, there is always a Par Mar."

Customers can share their memory on social media to enter to win a $50 Par Mar gift card. The retailer will be giving away one gift card each day until Oct. 27.

Par Mar Stores traces its roots back Par Mar Oil Co., which was established in 1967 as a full
line petroleum jobber by Joseph G. Grow of Parkersburg, W. Va., and James L. Hollister of Marietta, Ohio. Its name reflects its founders' roots, a combination of Parkersburg and Marietta.

Par Mar Oil began with three full-time employees serving commercial, industrial and consumer accounts with oils, greases, gasoline, diesel fuels, heating oils, and various other petroleum products. Par Mar's initial petroleum affiliation was Amoco Oil Co., which led to the dealer sector of the business. This division grew to service 55 independent dealers with the Amoco Brand, according to Par Mar's website.

The first Par Mar convenience store opened on Ohio State Route 7 South in 1979. As the story goes, Hollister's son William C. Hollister, known as Bill, had been pushing his father to enter the c-store/gas station business; however, with no luck.

While his father was out of town, Bill secured an $11,500 loan from a local bank and Par Mar Stores was born — initially doing business as Par Mar Shop N Save.

Par Mar Oil grew into a multi-state petroleum distributor with distribution centers in Marietta and Gallipolis, Ohio, and Charleston, W. Va., with numerous national brands of lubricants, gasolines and fuels.

The convenience store division grew along with petroleum business and all operating entities of Par Mar peaking in 1988 with annual sales in excess of $30 million and 125-plus employees.

After purchasing the ownership interests of his father, James L. Hollister and his brother, James A. Hollister, Bill Hollister decided to focus on the c-store division and sold all other Par Mar operating entities — except the c-stores and independent dealers, according to the company.

Par Mar currently operates 52 convenience stores and 16 quick-service restaurants with more than 700 employees.

The name change to Par Mar Stores occurred around 1987. Par Mar Stores is technically an operating division of Par Mar Oil Co.

Pittsburgh-based Croton Holding Co. acquired Par Mar Oil in 2016.