MANLIUS — In early September, Ag View FS and Gold Star FS acquired Manlius Oil, a fuel distributor, propane company and convenience store that had been established in 1959 by Bill and Carolyn Doty.
Bill passed away in 2017 and his son, Mitch Doty, took over running the company with Carolyn. However, after 60 years of service, the Doty family said it was time to retire.
The Manlius Oil facility became available for acquisition in March 2020 and six months later, it had a new owner to continue its roots in the community.
Dave Horras, general manager of Ag View FS, said there’s over 150 years of energy experience between the two companies.
Ag View FS serves five counties, including Bureau, Lee, Marshall, Putnam and Stark. Of all the areas served in the region, Horras said Manlius was one of the weakest areas served.
This acquisition was a key in strengthening business, along with the addition of energy manager David Behrends and energy sales specialist Chris Maynard, who both have strong ties to the Manlius area. Plus, members of the Doty family who wished to remain with the business had the option to stay. Horras said four of those members stayed on and have only enhanced the quality of service provided.
“I think both businesses had similar quality service standards and it’s just really nice to be able to be apart of the community again that we weren’t for awhile,” Horras said.
The transition to new ownership has been virtually seamless, according to Horras. And customers will, for the most part, notice no changes.
While not family-owned, Horras said the company is farmer-owned.
“We’re owned by 3,300 area farmers. I’m very proud I manage a cooperative and the farmer’s assets for them,” he said.
Ag View FS was founded on the needs of farmers. In the 1920s when farmers were switching from horse power to tractor power, a consistent supply of quality fuel was hard to come by. So the Bureau County Farm Bureau partnered with farmers to acquire the needed fuel to keep them going. When they got to a certain capacity of buying and reselling, a cooperative among the farmers was established, which is how Bureau Service Company was founded. This became the base of Ag View FS. Organizations in Lee, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties eventually merged together in the 1960s to form a larger company base known today as GROWMARK.
Ag View FS is an owner of GROWMARK.
“It’s a misconception. Most people think GROWMARK owns us and they dictate what we do, but that’s not true at all,” Horras said.
Eventually Ag View FS expanded to offer additional farm supplies like fertilizer
Ag View FS in Manlius will continue to be a regional distributor for Mobil Oil, while maintaining the FS brands as well.