Smile Gas Founder Passes Away

Boardman launched independent brand

AUGUSTA, Ga. Augusta, Ga., businessman Clayton P. Boardman Jr. died last week at age 78. Boardman, known to family and friends as Red, was the driving force behind a family of companies that included the Smile Gas convenience store chain, whose trademark smiley-face logo made it an Augusta institution, reported The Augusta Chronicle.

The pioneering businessman was also remembered as one of the city's most philanthropic residents, the report said.

Boardman, a 1949 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of [image-nocss] Business, was the founder of Boardman Petroleum Inc. He got his start in the industry working for the family oil company, founded in 1904 by his grandfather Hollis C. Boardman.

In 1954, Boardman and his brother Jack started a Phillips 66 distributorship called Red & Jack Oil Co. In the 1970s, as big oil companies increased their pressure on mom-and-pop distributors, Boardman launched the independent Smile Gas brand.

He looked at that as a challenge, Mark Stephens, who worked for Boardman's Charter Terminal Co. fuel-distribution business for 23 years, told the newspaper. He could look at some of the most overwhelming circumstances and not be scared. Boardman's son Clayton Clay P. Boardman III joined the company in 1984 and eventually took over its operations, expanding it to other markets and modernizing the stores with the latest innovations and technology.

The family began selling the businesses, starting with the Smile Gas stores, in 1999.

Boardman is survived by his wife, Ann Carter Burdell Boardman; two daughters, two sons, eight grandchildren and others.

CSP Daily News sends condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.