The Kocolene Family History

In August 1938, Mrs. Carrie M. Myers used a large portion of her life savings to purchase the entire capital stock of the very young Keiser Oil Company. She acquired two service stations – one in Seymour, Indiana, and the other in Columbus, Indiana – along with an old tank truck. Both service stations were new and Ms. Myers was new to the oil business, but she arrived with determination and a will to succeed. The company was renamed and branded “Kocolene” in 1943 – “Koco,” the prefix from Keiser Oil Company, and “lene,” because it was a gasoline/kerosene business. From this beginning, Kocolene has grown to one of the most respected independent oil companies in the Midwest. Expanding their operation over the years to 99 locations in nine states, sales grew to over $150,000,000 annually, while nearly 600 people became part of the Kocolene team. What started with one woman’s dream, two stations and one old tanker truck had now become nearly 100 locations staffed by local managers, supervised by regional field managers, and supported by a home office in Seymour, Indiana.

Today, the Kocolene family of businesses owns several operating entities, including: Kocolene Investments, Smokers Host Discount Tobacco, and Ranger3PL.

In October of 2009, Kocolene Development Corporation became an ESOP company, allowing for employee ownership and profit-sharing in the company. Still true to the close-knit family values of honest, hard work, communication and the teamwork that made the company what it is today, Kocolene prides itself that after 80 years in business, they continue to become a better organization by attempting to learn and grow as a company every day.

Our Business Philosophies

Kocolene’s long-term success has been built, in great part, on the hard work of our team members. Through the years, their commitment to providing outstanding customer service has been unmatched in the industries we operate in. These core principles are expectations for every member of our team and are the foundation for how Kocolene operates today.

Team Concept
Kocolene has its roots as a family company and we feel strongly toward the close-knit, team concept of helping each other. None of us are as good as all of us! We can truly accomplish more working together than we can on our own.

51% Philosophy
This is another team building concept. You have no doubt heard people talk about splitting something “50-50” or meeting you “half way”. We, at Kocolene, feel we should all commit to going more than “half way”, more than 50% – we talk in terms of going 51% with our business contacts. Imagine the improved harmony within an organization if everybody committed themselves to doing 1% extra or overlooked 1% of petty problems or irritations when working with others. We feel this is a key ingredient to being an excellent company.

Kocolene’s excellent reputation has been accomplished over many years through the tireless efforts of many great people. We hope you understand that as a team member, you now represent all of those people who have preceded you in working for Kocolene. Their efforts to create goodwill and a good reputation with our customers are now like fine crystal in your hands. We ask that you be careful and respectful in the treatment of the efforts and careers of your predecessors. Be professional in your position, and put forth the 100% effort needed 100% of the time to make Kocolene an excellent corporation.

Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. Leaders take responsibility, work hard, maintain a sense of urgency, and care about the people around them. Leadership starts with understanding one’s own strengths and weaknesses. With this understanding, we begin to see how everyone can be a leader and a valuable part of our team.

The Golden Rule
Quite simply, this philosophy is to treat others like you would like be treated. This should extend to all business contacts: customers, suppliers, as well as fellow staff members.

Communication has been described as “…the chain of understanding that integrates an organization from top to bottom, bottom to top, and from side to side.” With that “chain of understanding” throughout an integrated organization, corporate excellence is well within grasp. Poor communications is the number one problem in the world today. At Kocolene, we are very concerned with effective communications.

Commission vs. Omission
In any leadership position, decisions will be made that prove to be wrong. We feel these can be classified into two types: Errors of Commission and Errors of Omission. An error of commission happens when the decision maker analyzes a situation, draws a conclusion and makes a decision. Although proven to be wrong in time, the leader did provide leadership and made a decision. An error of Omission occurs when a leader hesitates to commit to a decision and, therefore, does nothing. As a leader for Kocolene, you are accepted into a decision-making position. Use all resources available to you, analyze all the information, then act. If the decision proves to be wrong, we can only critique you, not criticize. We do not expect perfect leaders. We do, however, expect and want decision makers.

A concept in psychology and normally a result of an individual’s life experiences and environment. Attitude is a way of feeling or acting toward a person, thing or situation. It is a state of mind; a mental and emotional outlook toward the world around you. At Kocolene we encourage our team members to face every situation with a positive attitude.