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A War Veteran’s Legacy

November 26, 2012

Every war has its horror and WW I had its own brand of horror in the trench warfare. One man who returned to his native Savannah, Georgia after serving WW I left the war behind him and looked to the promising future. This was 1921 and war veteran Raymond M. Deméré decided to go into business for himself.

The car was still quite new back then and Raymond saw that these cars ran on petroleum products. He founded American Oil-with only one barrel of lubricating oil. He began with a warehouse. Next came storage tanks until the business would also have company-owned gasoline station in the Savannah area.

The company name was changed to Colonial Oil in 1933 and an even faster growth occurred afterwards. Raymond began construction of an independent ocean terminal and storage facility. Today this facility covers more than 100 acres of prime Savannah River frontage.

Raymond died in 1953 but the company had able leaders both professional and members of the family. Today the privately held firm is an empire of oil and gas and shipping-related companies in the southeast U.S. Colonial offers storage and distribution services with more than 40 pipeline terminals for liquid and dry bulk products. This includes motor fuels, bulk chemicals, retail gas, and industrial fuel oil.

It has gone and diversified into related services like ship bunkering, tug and barge services and commercial shipping. Through its Enmark Station unit it has also gone into retail operating more than 70 gas stations and convenience stores in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The company also has presence in the US kaolin industry through its subsidiary Kaolin Terminals which provides storage facilities.

While Colonial is a company that is primarily known by its dominating presence in the southeast U.S. it has also entered the international market. This began in 2005 when it offered petroleum products to Puerto Rico and in Europe it provided gasoline blendstock tankage.

A war veteran’s dream lives on till today.

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