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Piasa Motor Fuels was conceived in 1932 by two former employees of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company who wanted to follow the American Dream of running their own business. E. W. Schrimpf and Charles Marsh left their jobs and security and embarked on a course of action that was to endure for seventy years. For the first year, Piasa was supplied with product by Skelly Oil Company, but before the end of the second year a switch was made to Tidewater Oil Company with their famous Veedol Motor Oil.

DuoTruck Piasa Motor Fuels Vintage Photo
Charles Marsh left the company in the third year of operation to return to Obernester Glass, but E. W. Schrimpf continued to operate under the Piasa Motor Fuels name until his death in 1941. At that time, his son, Robert W. Schrimpf, while still in high school, assumed operation of the firm, going to school in the mornings and driving the truck in the afternoons.

By 1943, Bob was drafted in the Navy and the company closed until Bob returned from service in 1946 to re-open with Tydol and Veedol products. He added a transportation company to compliment the petroleum distribution,

In 1950, Bob’s brother, Don, graduated from St. Louis University with a B.S. degree in Business.

He joined the firm as a truck driver and worked in various capacities including dispatching of transports and city delivery trucks, maintenance of trucks, buildings, equipment and operation of the asphalt division. Don performed those duties for 45 years and retired in 1995.

During 1954, an asphalt division was added to furnish and apply liquid asphalt for highway construction and maintenance.

The Tydol brand was dropped in 1955 and a change was made to Conoco. Retail units were branded Conoco from 1955 to 1986. The units were converted to Unocal 76 from 1986 to 1997. In 1997 Citgo purchased the assets of Uno-Ven and the units were converted to Citgo.

A move was made from the original Cut Street location to a new bulk plant site on Washington Avenue at the Beltline in 1958. At that time, a modern bulk plant was constructed with underground storage tanks.

In 1960, Piasa built their first new service station. The stations were leased by Dealers in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Piasa operated 25 units in the mid 80’s.
In 1969, Bob’s son, Bill, graduated from the University of Tulsa with a BS degree in Petroleum Marketing. He then joined the firm and trained in all fields including driving delivery trucks, applying asphalt and dispatching.

He set up the first computer system in 1972 and had responsibilities as office manager for many years.

Piasa Motor Fuels Vintage Photo
In 1973, Wiley Davis became active with Piasa by opening a retail tire outlet under the name of Davis Tire Co. He operated Davis Tire stores in Alton, Godfrey, and Florissant. Piasa expanded into Piasa Pantry convenience stores in 1988. Wiley managed the Pantry's and lubricant sales, until his retirement in 2000.

In 1975 Piasa moved its office again, to a forty-acre site in Hartford. A combination office, warehouse, and truck garage was constructed in a 300ft. x 100 ft. building. Underground storage tanks consisting of fourteen tanks with 300,000 gallons capacity were installed.

A fortunate circumstance in 1976 found the ARCO pipeline terminal for sale and Bob joined with Chuck Keller in purchasing the 250,000 barrel facility. They named the facility Keller-Piasa Terminal.

Bob’s son, Mark, joined Piasa after his return from Vietnam and worked in many capacities including sales and service station management. He became the manager of Keller-Piasa Terminal and under his direction, the facility was modernized and grew to 600,000 barrel capacity. Mark retired in 1995.

The terminal’s name was later changed to Hartford Wood River Terminal (HWRT). HWRT is one of the most flexible petroleum product terminals in the area. HWRT can receive and ship product by pipeline, barge, and truck. The facility stores and throughputs gasoline, diesel, kerosene, ethanol, and biodiesel. www.hwrtoil.com

HWRT has been very fortunate to assemble a team of professionals for our terminal operation. Jeff Wittek is responsible for trading, hedging, scheduling, and financial transactions. Bob Thompson trades, schedules product for EPCO. Matt Schrimpf purchases the renewable fuels. Bryan Hatfield oversees the terminal automation systems and has sales responsibilities. Russ Andrews, Butch Weirich and Steve O’Hare are responsible for territory sales.

September 15, 1989, proved to be one of the most challenging dates in Piasa’s history. A fire started above the office area in the building and destroyed the office and lubricants warehouse. Our staff worked out of 2 office trailers set up on site for one year. We all became VERY CLOSE to one another. Our new office and warehouse building opened on September 15, 1990.

Even though the fire was a difficult obstacle, it showed us how much we had to be thankful for. Our employees, suppliers, and friends offered countless hours of help and assistance in rebuilding our business.

In 1995, Bill’s son, Matt, graduated from the University of Illinois with a BS degree in Marketing. He joined Piasa and assumed responsibilities of dispatching delivery trucks, rebuilding the transport business, and managing the road oil division. Since 2004 he has been involved in the HWRT terminal division, planning improvements to the facilities, purchasing and reselling renewable fuels, trading, and scheduling.

In 1999, Bryan Hatfield, Bill’s son-in-law, joined Piasa. Bryan graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1993 with a BS degree in Human Resource Management. Bryan managed the Piasa Pantry division from 2000 until its sale in 2004. Since then he has been involved in automating the HWRT terminal loading systems and has sales territories in Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana.

May 1, 2004, HWRT acquired 3 pipeline terminals from Crown/LaGloria. the terminals are located in North Little Rock, AR, Norris City, IL, and Seymour, IN. HWRT also started marketing throughout the TEPPCO pipeline common stock terminals. September 1, 2007, HWRT started marketing through 5 Magellan pipeline terminals. This expansion means that HWRT is now capable of supplying a full spectrum of refined products at 15 terminal locations stretching through five states and including two common carrier pipelines, TEPPCO and Magellan.

Piasa has been a family owned business since 1932. We are now into the fifth generation of the Schrimpf family legacy. Over those seventy years there have been many changes. Fortunately we have always been able to adapt to the changes and grow.

Piasa and its employees have been instilled with a good work ethic, to work hard, be honest, and obey the Golden Rule. As long as we continue to work hard, provide an economic benefit, treat our customers and suppliers fairly, the future will be bright.

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