LA PLATA, Md. — The Wills Group has appointed Julian B. (Blackie) Wills III as president and COO, effective April 1. Lock Wills, who has served as president, CEO and chairman for the Wills Group, remains executive chairman.
The announcement comes as part of the company’s succession planning efforts, following its renewed focus over the last five years to expand its retail line of businesses, the company said, including Dash In convenience stores, Splash In ECO Car Wash and SMO Motor Fuels.
As president and COO, Blackie Wills will take the lead on all day-to-day operations of the Wills Group and its businesses, reporting to Lock Wills and the Wills Group board.
- Click here to watch a CSP Outlook Leadership Community (OLC) Talks from the Top with Blackie Wills.
For the past four years, Blackie Wills has served as executive vice president of convenience retailing, leading the transformation of the company’s Dash In and Splash In retail operations across Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. In addition, Blackie Wills led the company’s real estate portfolio and brand marketing activities.
“Under Blackie’s leadership of Dash In, we introduced the neighborhood store concept, refreshed the customer experience and launched Dash In’s fresh Craveable made-to-order sandwiches,” said Lock Wills. “Blackie also reimagined and restructured the company’s real estate and development efforts to enable the expansion of both our Dash In Food Store and Splash In ECO Car Wash offerings with a vision toward the future. These are prime examples of what the Wills Group is capable of when we lean into and embrace innovation.”
This year the Wills Group also reached a milestone anniversary, celebrating its 95th year in business across the Mid-Atlantic.
“For nearly a decade, the Wills Group has been on a mission to serve—our customers, our communities and each other,” said Blackie Wills. “I am grateful to those who lit the path before me and am honored to step into this role to lead the company in writing the next chapters of our great history.”
With headquarters in La Plata, Md., the Wills Group has approximately 55 c-stores across the Mid-Atlantic region. It has been a family-owned company since 1926, with expertise in convenience retailing, fuels marketing and commercial real estate.