McDougall Energy continues growth in Ontario

McDougall Energy delivers on vision for expansion with two new locations in Southern Ontario.
Tom Venetis
Associate Editor, Convenience Store News Canada + OCTANE
Tom Venetis head shot
Strathroy Ontario Shell Location

Started in 1949, McDougall Energy is a third-generation, family-owned Canadian fuel and lubricant marketer based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Over the years, McDougall Energy has expanded to become a fuel distributor and branded reseller of Esso, Shell and Mobil fuels. In 2017, it acquired Burford, Ont.-based Davis Fuels and that company’s residential, commercial, and industrial fuel supply, delivery, distribution, and dispensing business. That business now operates as McDougall Energy. It also signed a Broker Sales Agreement with Alimentation Couche-Tard, thereby adding the well-known Circle K brand to the McDougall Energy’s retail and convenience store offering. 

In 2020, McDougall Energy took on Edward Fuels, a multi-channel distributor and marketer of Shell-branded products, including fuels and lubricants.

Michael Carroll, director of corporate retail with McDougall Energy, says that the acquisitions of Davis Fuels, Edward Fuels and Dowler-Karn allowed the company to expand its footprint into southern Ontario and to begin to update its retail offerings for purchasers of gasoline at its locations.

“Traditionally, our corporate retail business [in Ontario] has been in Northern Ontario, close to home,” he says. “That would be Sault Ste. Marie through to the West of Sudbury and up into Thunder Bay.”

Today, Carroll oversees 20 retail locations for McDougall Energy. Two of the most recent are the London Esso Fuel Centre and Convenience in London Ont. and the Strathroy Circle K Shell operation in Strathroy Ont.

London Esso Fuel Centre and Convenience
London Esso Fuel Centre and Convenience

Located on Colonel Talbot Road (Highway 4) just south of Highway 401, the London Esso Fuel Centre and Convenience operation was part of the Davis Fuels acquisition and already had both a passenger vehicle fuel operation, as well as one for commercial vehicle fuelling, which operated as Flying M Truck Stop. In addition, there was a small, third-party family-owned restaurant operation on the site.

Carroll says the site’s location and sizable footprint, as well as its proximity to the highway, all pointed to the huge potential the site had. It was decided to redevelop the site and bring a strong retail convenience component to the location.

Carroll describes it as a complete ‘raze and rebuild’ and the site now boasts eight filling stations for passenger vehicles and a Commercial Cardlock operation made up of four filling stations for commercial vehicles, plus a 2,500 sq.-ft. Circle K convenience store. He sees Circle K as an ideal partner and provider of foodservices for drivers and the community.

“Circle K, with their range of proprietary products, are highly regarded in the communities where they operate,” he continues. “Here, there is a selection of great food products that are all prepared and served by the staff and team there, such as fresh pizza, warm breakfasts and lunch sandwiches, as well as a wide assortment of roller grill products.”

The site also features large washrooms, a shower and room for a future eat-in area, making it especially attractive to those using the Commercial Cardlock pumps.

Scott Neufeld, vice-president, auto market with McDougall Energy, says that site with its Commercial Cardlock pumps and Circle K will only get busier in the coming years because of all the new development happening in the area. He sees it becoming a much-desired destination for travellers and truck operators.

“The shower facility is something we offer to the commercial drivers and that just gives them one more opportunity to see the location as a one-stop convenience and shopping destination after they have logged many miles of highway driving,” says Carroll. “It gives them the opportunity to get something to eat and drink, to sit down and enjoy fresh food offerings and clean up before getting back into their vehicles and heading out to their final destinations.”

Strathroy Ontario Shell
Strathroy Circle K Shell

The Strathroy Circle K Shell operation is located south of Highway 402 in a fast-changing neighbourhood with a nearby Holiday Inn Express, Tim Hortons and other soon-to-be announced QSR developments. Carroll says the location was a unique opportunity for McDougall Energy as it complimented plans to grow the company’s retail operations in Southwest Ontario. “We are the first retail and fuel location south of Highway 402,” Carroll adds.

Neufeld adds that the location has great potential for growth which will translate into increasing business for the operation. He says it is part of McDougall Energy’s strategy for deciding on potential locations for new fuel and retail operations. “The key is to have locations that have a lot of potential for growth and income opportunities for those who will operate them, whether that be McDougall Energy at our corporate owned retail sites or any of our dealer partners. So, it is critical to find the right location in the right area.”

This new location, a ground-up build, features a 1,650 sq.-ft. Circle K convenience and a forecourt featuring four pumps with eight filling stations, providing a full complement of Shell-branded fuels, including V-Power Diesel.

“Our retail strategy is to continue to make improvements to the locations that we have and through our programs,” Carroll adds. “You have to keep up with the times, to keep up with customer’s needs.”

Carroll adds that the two locations with their fuel branding and well-known convenience store partner are all part of the company’s long-time strategy of providing value to customers. “These globally known petroleum providers complement our business in the sense that they emphasize the quality of products we bring to everyday customers,” Carroll continues. “In today’s world, everyone wants value in what they are doing and the loyalty programs that both Shell and Esso offer to the customer, be it through Esso and PC Optimum, and Shell through Air Miles and CAA, there is a return value to the customer.”

Neufeld says there are plans by McDougall Energy to open as many as four new locations next year.

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