Dixie Gas & Oil Corporation was founded June 16, 1946 as Dixie Bottle Gas Corporation. Dennis Earhart, along with his brother Edwin and father Roy, began the company purchasing about 100 propane customers from the HUB Furniture Company. At that time propane was delivered in 100 pound cylinders, every one to two months, and the empty tanks were exchanged and taken to a gas company in Maryland to be refilled. Propane was used primarily for cooking, water heating, and refrigeration and our first store in downtown Staunton, VA featured a complete line of gas burning appliances.
In 1951, we opened our own propane bulk storage and refilling facility in Verona, and in 1953, we were the first company in the area to offer bulk propane delivery. We opened branch locations in Lexington and Waynesboro, VA, and in 1956 we opened a location in Franklin, West Virginia. In 1958 we moved our Staunton office to our bulk storage site in Verona, where our main office is located today. In order to offer our customers a full range of home heating products, we added home heating oil to our product line-up in the mid 1950s.
In 1962, we expanded our petroleum operations to include gasoline and motor oil. As a jobber for Mobil, we were able to provide gasoline and motor oils to local service stations, businesses, and farms throughout the Valley. We also purchased the heating oil business of the Davis Oil Company and built a new office, showroom, and heating oil bulk plant in Waynesboro to support our growing customer base in that area.
In 1971, we purchased the Augusta Oil Corp., the local Gulf Oil distributor, significantly expanding our petroleum base and adding a third bulk plant and office in Staunton. As the marketing of gasoline changed we began converting several of our service stations into convenience stores. Our early stores sold Gulf petroleum products and provided patrons with a refreshing drink and a limited line of snacks.
Throughout the 1980s our business continued to grow. In 1984, we purchased Johnson Oil Company, an Amoco jobbership in Lexington, Virginia. In 1985, we opened a branch in Moorefield, West Virginia. We also purchased Interchange Oil Company, a BP jobbership in Staunton, as well as the heating oil business of Carl Riddlebarger, Inc. in Waynesboro. We added a number of additional company operated convenience stores named Deno’s Food Marts.
The 1990s brought about even more change and diversity to Dixie. In 1992, we began expanding the offerings in our convenience stores with the addition of Subway franchises. We built a new propane storage plant and office in Lexington to serve our growing southern areas. Chris Earhart became president after the death of his father Dennis.
Our merger with Fisher Oil Company in 2004, an Amoco jobber in Staunton, as well as a portion of Peeler Oil Company’s heating customers, allowed us to grow in the Augusta County area. We purchased Alleghany Oil Company in 2005, a Pure Oil jobber, giving us an office and bulk plant in Covington, VA. This allowed us to expand our presence in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia and the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia. We added the petroleum customers of Covington Farm and Fuel to our Covington family in 2010.
Our merger with Monger Coal & Oil in 2010 added a new office and petroleum bulk plant in Elkton, VA allowing us to grow into portions of the northern Shenandoah Valley and east across the Blue Ridge mountains. With the Monger merger we also added bagged coal to our product slate.
In 2012 we brought 2 petroleum operations into the Dixie family. Massanutten Petroleum in Woodstock, VA allowed us to grow our presence in the lubricant market in the northern Shenandoah Valley, and our merger with Blue Ridge Petroleum in Weyers Cave, VA helped to grow our customer base in both northern Augusta and Rockingham counties. We also opened our newest BP outlet and convenience store in Elkton, VA on Route 33 adjacent to our Elkton office.
Numerous changes have occurred in the past few years. Dixie Gas & Oil no longer sells appliances, nor has branches in West Virginia, however, one thing will always stay the same: we will always be committed to supplying our customers with quality products and services.
Today, our corporate office and showroom remains in Verona and we have additional offices and showrooms in Lexington and Elkton, as well as an office in Covington, VA. Our retail showrooms, called “The Fireplace Shop”, feature a wide selection of live-burning fireplaces and heaters, as well as an extensive line of premier gas grills.
In addition to propane and petroleum products supplied to consumers we supply a number of area retailers with gasoline and diesel fuel under the BP, Pure, and Dixigas brands. Our Dixie Fleet fuel card program allows our commercial customers to conveniently and economically purchase gasoline and diesel fuel at any of our stores and a number of our selected dealers.
Our lubricant division has grown to provide business and industry with a full range of bulk and packaged lubricants to customers throughout the northern and central part of the state. We carry a full range of Citgo, Suprotek, and Pride Plus branded products in mineral base, semi synthetic, and full synthetic blends.
Our convenience store division continues to grow to provide customers along portions of Interstates 81 and 64 and the communities we serve with quality BP gasoline and diesel fuel, a full array of convenience store items, and a full service Subway restaurant at most of our locations.
It is with the tremendous support of the communities that we serve that has enabled us to come this far and we look forward to serving each of our customers as we embark on a new chapter in our history. Our goal has and always will be to provide the best value in products and services in everything that we do.
Chris Earhart, President
Chris Earhart grew up in Staunton, Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Richmond in 1977.
Chris grew up in the family business and joined Dixie Gas & Oil full time in 1977, and has been president of the company since the death of his father in 1991.
Chris is a member, director and past president of the Virginia Propane Gas Association. He is a director and the Virginia state representative of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), where he serves on the Governmental Affairs and Member Services committees. He also serves on the local board of the Subway franchisees in the Augusta and Rockingham area and as an advisory director of the Augusta Cooperative Farm Bureau.
Danny Alexander, Executive Vice President
Danny Alexander grew up in Mt. Sidney, Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Finance from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in 1974.
Danny joined Dixie Gas & Oil in 1975, during which time he has held the positions of office manager and secretary/treasurer as well as his current role as executive vice president.
Danny is the managing member of the Valley Rail Service LLC. He is an active member and has served as secretary, treasurer, vice president, president and director of the Virginia Propane Gas Association. Danny has also served as member and officer of the Verona Ruritan Club and a member of the Verona Volunteer Fire Department Advisory Committee. He served as director, vice president and president of the Valley Alliance for Education.
Christian Moores, Vice President of Operations
Christian Moores grew up in Augusta, Georgia. He attended Augusta State University.
Christian joined Dixie Gas & Oil in March, 1991, as Verona Propane Manager and currently serves as Vice President of Operations.
Christian is a member of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) Benchmarking Council and a member of the Virginia Propane Gas Association.
Priscilla Akers, Vice President of Convenience Store/Food Operations
Priscilla Akers grew up in Richmond, Virginia.
Priscilla worked for 7-Eleven as Store Manager and Division Training Manager for ten years. She trained all new employees for the first five days and developed a forty-five day Fast Track Training Program for new managers. She was a member of the Fan District Merchant Association for four years while managing for 7-Eleven.
In 1985, Priscilla relocated to Columbia, South Carolina where she worked for a Shell jobber and supervised seven Shell convenience store locations.
Priscilla relocated back to Virginia in 1991, and joined Dixie Gas & Oil as Convenience Store Supervisor. She currently serves as Vice President of Convenience Store/Food Operations.
Teresa Ervin, Vice President of Administration
Teresa Ervin grew up in Mt. Sidney, Virginia. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bridgewater College in 1987.
Teresa joined Dixie Gas & Oil in July, 1987, and has occupied many positions. She began her career with Dixie as a Customer Service Representative followed by Accounts Payable Clerk, Human Resource Administrator, Office Manager and currently Vice President of Administration.