Baltus Oil Company Celebrates 90 Years in Business

90th Anniversary Celebration Specials Start Friday

Baltus Oil Company celebrates ninety years in business this month. Started in 1927, when Frank Baltus bought out his partner in the small “Home Service Station, the family-owned business now employs 130 people.

“Naturally, I’m very proud of being at the helm of a third-generation Marshfield business which has withstood all of the challenges my industry has faced, and adapted to those changes to remain a very successful business!” said John Baltus, President.

Major Milestones in the Business include:

  • Frank Baltus bought out his partner in “Home Service Station”, in 1927, located at 22 S. Chestnut Ave., on the corner of First St., and Chestnut Ave., (Where the eastbound stop light of Veterans Parkway intersects Chestnut Ave.) He operated a service station which sold petroleum products, as well as an “auto laundry”, a precursor to a car wash.
  • Frank operated the business until his son, Vernon, was discharged from the Navy in 1949, and joined the business. Vernon purchased the business from his dad in the mid-fifties.
  • Vernon built a bulk petroleum plant in 1960, and changed the name of the company to Baltus Oil Co. then began bulk deliveries of home heating oil to residential and commercial customers, as well as bulk drum oil.
  • In 1961, Vern relocated the service station to the corner of 5th and Chestnut Ave. During the next decade, Vern grew the business and added the first full-service car wash to the 5th and Chestnut Ave. location.
  • In 1969, Vern purchased the former Felker Tire Center located on 2nd and Chestnut Ave., and opened Baltus Tire and Service Center. A few years, later, as self-service stations were becoming popular, Vern built one of the first self-service stations on that site.
  • In 1972, Vern re-branded is gas offering from the Pure brand, to Union 76. He purchased a tanker truck and contracted with Union Oil to be a wholesaler of petroleum products to several dealer-owned stations throughout central and northern Wisconsin.
  • In 1981, Baltus Company was honored by MACCI as “Firm Of The Year”.
  • The company experienced its greatest growth over the next thirty years. In the eighties, several family members joined the company. The new trend in the industry was the sale of groceries and convenience items at gas stations, or convenience stores.
  • In the first five years of the Eighties, the company built five convenience stores; three in Marshfield, one in Stratford, and another in Wisconsin Rapids. A new state-of-the-art full service car wash was also built in Marshfield’s downtown, in conjunction with a convenience store.
  • In the nineties, six more retail outlets were built; three convenience stores; two of which were former grocery store conversions, one on South Central Ave. in Marshfield, another on the corner of 17th and Gaynor Ave. in Wisconsin Rapids, accompanied by two car washes and a laundromat, as well as a convenience store/car wash in Neillsville. Two Subways, and an A&W were also built out and leased to franchisees.
  • In 2009, a state-of-the-art convenience store, laundromat, car wash, and the city’s first pet wash was opened on N. Central Ave., across from Target. Two years later, the company acquired Terry’s BP in Nekoosa, which included a McDonald’s Restaurant tenant, and a car wash.

“I’m most proud of my heritage and role in this business, and, along with several family members over the years, having successfully navigated and adapted through many changes and met all challenges to own a ninety year old family business in one of the greatest little cities in Wisconsin, and I hope to continue the tradition of this family business to see it flourish and mature to the century mark in ten years,” said Baltus.

This Friday, Baltus will kick off a week-long 90th Anniversary Celebration on one of the busiest weekends of the year; the opening of the gun-deer hunting season.

Festivities will start on Friday at the Baltus store across from Target with a live radio remote broadcast by WDEZ’s BJ and Vanessa from 6-9 A.M. A brat fry at that store will follow from 11-2 P.M.

As they’ve done the last twenty-five years, they will hold a drawing for a Savage 270 30-06 deer rifle, as well as several other great prizes values at over $1,000. (No purchase necessary).

“We’ll also have several great merchandise sales going on, most notably, we’ll be offering free coffee and coke to any customer wearing blaze orange, and we’ll be giving away free merchandise such as Morning Glory milk, Portesi’s Pizza randomly, while supplies last,” said Baltus. “All of the specials and promotions will be available at all of our stores in Marshfield, Stratford, Wisconsin Rapids, and Nekoosa.”

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