Matt Rich, marketing manager for Sayle Oil, Inc., one of the oldest continually operated, family-owned companies in the Mid-South, said it's exciting to watch the company continue to grow and expand in the region.
This past year, 2017, marked a major milestone in the company's history — more than 70 years of service.
Rich, a Senatobia native, said the story of Sayle Oil is intertwined with the history of the Mississippi Delta and surrounding area.
Sayle Oil Company was started in 1947 in the Mississippi Delta town of Charleston by Mr. Isaac E. Sayle as owner and General Manager.
"Mr. Sayle came back after serving in World War II in the U.S. Air Force and started with a small service station in Charleston," said Rich. "He started with small lube accounts down in Charleston. That's where it all started. Mostly farm accounts and store fronts. It grew from there."
According to the company's web site, the focus of the company started with farm delivery and country stores. In the 1980s, Sayle Oil created its own line of convenience stores, Gas Mart.
The 80s and 90s were the "golden years" of Sayle Oil Company, according to Rich.
The wholesale department was also expanded to include bulk oil during this time. In the 1990s, Sayle added propane and Quick Lubes to its portfolio.
Over the years, the company had business interests and dealings with Phillips 66, Texaco and Shell, as well as Havoline.
"Now, we are mainly branded Shell," added Rich. "The Quick Lube side has done really well. We now have a niche market in the Delta and North Mississippi."
Rich has a theory for that, which has borne out in market research, he adds.
"It's all about time," Rich said. "If you change your own oil, it can take between one hour to two hours. We can change your oil and filter, fill up all your fluids, whatever. We try to get you in and out in 15 minutes."
The company's current lines of business include convenience stores, propane, and distribution of fuel and lubricants. There are 11 convenience stores owned and operated by Sayle that are located throughout Mississippi. Sayle Oil also delivers to many locally-owned convenience stores.
The elder Sayle's son "Ike" began working with his father in 1971.
Sayle Oil's fuel and lubricants division has seen great growth over the past 70 years. The company has grown to four bulk locations to conveniently cover its fuel and lubricant customers. It can now cover an area of about 150 miles. Since the strategic alignment with Shell, Sayle Oil has stayed on the top of changing trends and markets. Through this partnership, Sayle Oil is the only major branded oil distributor in the city limits of Memphis, and even Shelby county. This gives the company greater opportunities and also provides another avenue to effectively cover its Tennessee and North Mississippi customers.
When asked about this great accomplishment, Kevin Sayle (VP of Sayle Propane, Sayle C-stores, and Sayle Transports) said customers and a dedicated staff have been key.
"We at Sayle Oil want to thank all of our wonderful customers and dedicated, hardworking team members for helping make our company a leader in the petroleum industry," Sayle said in comments posted on the company's web site. "We are excited about what the future holds and look forward to another 70 years."
Through the past 70 years, the company has stood by its mission statement:
"Sayle Oil Company, along with its strongest asset, its employees, is committed to providing the very best products and services to our valued customers."
Rich said he believes in the quality of the products that the company sells.
"I always tell people if you have a machine and need some kind of lubricant, we have it," Rich said.
Sayle Oil Company, Inc. supplies commercial fuels in North Mississippi, West Tennessee, and Southeast Arkansas. It offers oil, fuel, propane, metalworking fuels, turbines, EP gear, circulating oils, lubricants, antifreezes, coolants, commercial fuels, and convenience store fuels. The company also distributes conventional synthetic, and synthetic blend lubricants in industrial, commercial, and automotive sectors; and chemicals, coolants, and additives in automotive, industrial, and commercial applications; and automotive engine, oil, and air filters. In addition, it provides consumer propane services, such as propane home heating, propane water heating, and propane for drying clothes.
The company provides delivery of fuels to job sites for construction, fleets, manufacturing, and generators; and owns and operates gas marts that provide convenience products and specialty foods. Sayle Oil Company, Inc. was founded in 1947 and is based in Charleston.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 6622-429-6397, Ext. 252.