Community Service Stations is one of the oldest ExxonMobil customers in the U.S. as well as one of four authorized ExxonMobil distributors in the New England states.
Community Service Stations, one of New England’s leading distributors of quality branded and unbranded motor fuels, is celebrating its 100th year in business.
The company, founded in 1918 by George C. Riley Sr. and his partner Paul Strang, is run today by George Sr.’s grandson, Chris Riley, a resident of Wayland, Mass., who represents the third generation of Rileys to have run the business.
Community Service Stations partners with successful service station owners, convenience store owner/operators, distributors and fuel suppliers throughout the Northeast.
The company has a long history in the energy sector, growing from a single gas location in Brighton that provided auto repair services, gasoline and parking, to a retail and wholesale supplier of heating oil and kerosene, to its current focus on the wholesale distribution of gasoline and diesel fuels.
Community Service Stations is one of the oldest ExxonMobil customers in the U.S. as well as one of four authorized ExxonMobil distributors in the New England states (with the exception of Connecticut). Through its brand fee agreement with ExxonMobil Community has assumed greater responsibilities, including product sourcing, terminal agreements, and supplying former ExxonMobil distributors. In 2010 Community’s gallons sales had grown to 37 million; sales in 2018 currently exceed 75 million.
In the company’s early years, it expanded into the sale of kerosene for home heating, an additional gas station, and then the building and operating of a bulk heating oil and kerosene distribution depot, one of the first depots in Boston’s western suburbs.
Throughout the years of the Depression and WWII, Community added another location and continued expanding its retail kerosene and wholesale heating oil distribution channels.
George C. Riley, Jr., following service in World War II, had planned to complete a Masters in Business Administration at Dartmouth’s Tuck School but changed paths when his father, the co-founder, took ill. George Jr. left school and returned to the family business, where he served as president for 66 years. Community expanded its focus on retail and wholesale heating oil, and added storage capabilities at their Newton location.
The business transitioned entirely to the Riley family in the late 1960s when co-founder Paul Strang sold his ownership to Riley. At that point, the company moved more into the wholesale gasoline market with a new sales force, tripling their gallon sales to 10 million annually.
Chris Riley, the grandson of George Sr.,and the company’s current president, joined the firm in 1979. In the 1980s, Community more than doubled its retail heating oil business with the purchase of Marlco Inc. in 1982. Community moved its headquarters to the Marlborough, Mass. offices of Marlco in 1984. Marlco and the original heating oil accounts in Boston and surrounding suburbs were sold in 1990. After this, the company focused on gasoline and diesel wholesale distribution.
As the retail gas business shifted to the convenience store model in the 1980s, Community began working with customers to help them plan, develop, and finance their c-stores. In the mid 1980s Community was one of the first Mobil-branded distributors to encourage independent dealers to rebuild bay sites and full-serve fuel islands into c-stores and self-serve pumpers. Between 1985 and 2017 they invested over $20 million to help fund their customers’ transition to the new model.
In addition to distributing Mobil products, the company signed a supply contract with Gulf Oil LP in 1999 and started to sell product to a few unbranded locations.
Riley noted that ExxonMobil has always played a big part in the company’s history. “Community is one of the oldest ExxonMobil customers in the nation,” he said. “We branded one of the first Socony (predecessor to Mobil) sites in Boston and have always been 100% committed to ExxonMobil programs and initiatives.”
Both George and Chris Riley have served on national and regional distributor brand councils and assisted with special projects. Community was an early adopter of the mystery shopper program, On the Run, Speedpass, Friendly Serve, and the Gemini image. Community also distributes Shell, Gulf and unbranded gasoline and diesel.
“I believe our longevity can be credited to the way that our employees and management focus on helping customers improve their business,” said Riley. “Whether the issue is supply, capital improvements, financing, environmental or c-store expertise, our sales and office staff have ably assisted our customer base for decades.”
He continued, “We are very honored to have achieved the 100-year milestone, particularly as a family-owned company. We see a lot of opportunities and challenges in the future, but we feel sure that Community and its customers will adapt and thrive as we move forward, just as we have over the past century.”