Fleming Oil Sells Heating Oil Business to Dead River

Family-owned company closing one station, retaining 11 convenience stores

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -- Fleming Oil Co. has sold its heating oil and services divisions to Dead River Co., said the BrattleboroReformer. Fleming Oil's convenience stores and their fuel pumps will remain under the ownership of the Fleming family, which is changing the stores' name to Shell Food Marts, the report said.

The merger was finalized on November 17, according to the report.

In October, Bangor, Maine-based Dead River Co. exited the convenience store business with the sale of its 19 stores in  Maine to Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.'s Circle K Great Lakes Division. The company said it will focus on its core business of selling heating oil and propane, as well as installing and servicing heating equipment (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage).

Although the Fleming family will continue operating 11 c-stores, President Rick Fleming told the newspaper that the Fleming Oil station at the company's Putney Road headquarters in Brattleboro, Vt., has been closed.

"We should've done it years ago," he said. "We kept it open out of nostalgia."

Fuel sales were just too low to justify keeping the station open, said Fleming, but the main office will remain at that location.

Fleming told the paper that Dead River is a perfect fit because like Fleming Oil, it is a family-owned business that shares his principles and core values, mainly a commitment to their communities, their customers and their employees.

"Those are the core values that Fleming lives by and those are the same values Dead River cherishes," Norm Guerette, Dead River's regional manager who oversees New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, told the Reformer.

He said when Dead River learned Fleming wanted to sell its heating oil and services divisions they were immediately interested. "We've known of the presence of Fleming Oil, and we've always regarded it highly as a company that was very similar to ours," said Guerette.

The merger also fit in with Dead River's business plan to expand into select New Hampshire and Vermont markets and complements the recent purchase of Country Oil in Bernardston, Mass., he said.

Dead River has been in business for 103 years and has 40 retail fuel offices in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.

Fleming will stay in charge of the day-to-day operations in the Brattleboro and Langdon, N.H., offices.

In addition, the heating oil and services business will continue to be run under the Fleming brand. Fleming operates at 11 locations in Vermont and New Hampshire.

The merger will allow him to offer new services and products, including on-line billing and ordering and propane. Currently, his technicians focus on plumbing and heating systems. He hopes to expand those services to include ventilation and air conditioning.

"Dead River is looking to me to grow the business," said Fleming.