“Several of the smaller jobbers don’t have the money, can’t get ;nancing and have yet to make the upgrades,” he said. “Lucky for them that we are operating in an area of ‘spotty’ enforcement. Blanket enforcement would drive sales, sure, but at this time, we are at the mercy of the market and what regula- tors choose to do. Whatever they do, we adapt.” According to Miller, the market for new stores has also begun to see a turnaround. “There is growth in our region, which means additional stations,” he observed. “As long as the popula- tion grows, business will continue to increase.” Miller notes a relative lack of large petroleum retailers in the area that would allow Northwest Pump to put all their pumps in a single basket. “There are not as many 100-store chains in the Northwest as there are in some parts of the country,
According to Miller, the ownership breakdown presents
special challenges to all petroleum equipment distributors and
service providers, not just Northwest Pump.
“Following divestitures by major oil companies, the growing
regional chains picked up the better sites, while the single-site
operators picked up the less attractive properties,” Miller said.
“Single-site operators have a very hard time getting ;nancing
and are undercapitalized. They
also are more dif;cult to deal
with, are harder negotiators and a
lot of them have problems paying
for service work.”
Two of the larger regional
chains continuing to grow in the
Northwest include San Antonio-
based Tesoro and Meridian,
Idaho’s Jacksons Food Stores, Inc.
Tesoro’s retail-marketing system
includes 1,200 branded retail
stations, of which some 375 are
company operated under the Tesoro, Shell and USA Gasoline
brands. Jacksons Food Stores has grown from a single service
station in 1975 to a regional chain of more than 200 Chevron,
The Northwest Pump high-volume meter prover uses
100-gallon and 500-gallon tanks to calibrate high-;ow
meters in the ;eld, such as at bulk fueling racks.
Xerxes Tanks for a new medical center construction. The Northwest Pump Plan
Center Group performs the engineered planning for publicly bid projects.
company’s industrial division, he is beginning to see a recovery
in the petroleum equipment division, as well.
“I see a fair amount of pent-up demand,” Miller said.
“Equipment is getting older, and at some point, it will have to
be upgraded. A certain number should be replaced each year
and, for many, replacements and upgrades have been put off
because of the recession.
“We continue to have territories that are slower, and part of
the reason is that the jobbers had
to do so much in the last couple
of years, especially in California.
At ;rst, they were working on
enhanced vapor recovery, then
they had to turn around to work on
the point-of-sale [POS] systems. I
think we will get back to normal
in the near future, as we replace
dispensers that we previously put
The slowdown, according to
Miller, has been prolonged by the
lack of credit available to smaller companies. He also cites
the lack of enforcement of what were thought to be
Second Quarter 2012 | PEI JOURNAL | 2 1