Story updated Feb. 25
In 1999, Masco Petroleum owner and President Jim Mason started with a cardlock fuel location in Aberdeen. Since then, it’s grown into 25 cardlocks on the Olympic Peninsula, lubricant distribution and bulk fuel delivery, with marine fueling operations in Port Angeles and Westport and over-the-water fueling services.
Last week, Mason announced he was selling Masco Petroleum to PetroCard, a nationwide cardlock and mobile fueling company. The sale is expected to close at the end of the month.
Mason told Port of Grays Harbor commissioners Feb. 18 that he has been approached plenty over the years about selling his fuel company, but had never seriously considered selling until PetroCard came calling just recently.
Asked later whether the timing was just right to sell, Mason said, “Timing-wise it’s never the right time, because I wasn’t interested in selling. It’s a good company, very profitable, and the great employees make it easy for me to own and operate.”
What set PetroCard apart for Mason was the company’s way of doing business, which closely mirrors his own.
“The thing that really made it work is the people of PetroCard have the same philosophy as we do,” said Mason. “They don’t act like a big corporation. They act like a business should. They are able to make decisions and maneuver in the best possible way for the customers. I like that, for the employees to be able to stay in that same environment.”
Masco Petroleum employs 60 people, two-thirds of those in Grays Harbor County.
“And that was the other fit,” said Mason. “They bought our corporate office and said they planned to maintain the employee structure with minimal change. Not many companies will come in and say that, and actually do it. What they have done is recognized the quality of employees we have here, and I think it’s pretty cool for the Harbor to have an outside company like that come in and recognize what we have in our area.”
The Masco headquarters building at 110 Commerce St. and the adjacent cardlock lot are on Port property. Port Executive Director Gary Nelson, who knew Mason through their work in the timber industry, reflected on watching Mason’s company grow over his 20 years at the Port.
Port Commissioners Tom Quigg, Stan Pinnick and Phil Papac all voted in favor of the lease agreements. There were eight in total, most in Aberdeen, one for Masco’s fuel dock and upland property in Westport. There was also a rental agreement with the Port for Masco’s blue warehouse located on First Street in Aberdeen included the agreement.
PetroCard President and CEO Laura Yellig was also at the meeting, telling the commissioners Mason “has built a fantastic business” in Masco Petroleum and her company made the purchase because of the geographic opportunity it gives PetroCard.
“We’re one of the largest fuel-distribution services in the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “We have 60 cardlocks in Washington and Oregon,” and also handle bulk fuel deliveries and mobile fueling. The company has 28 cardlocks in Oregon and more than 30 in Washington, including recently acquired lots in Olympia, Castle Rock and Chehalis.
“We see Masco’s operation as a great fit for our network and look forward to maintaining the local knowledge and relationships they have established throughout the Olympic Peninsula,” said Yellig.
“It’s a good deal, and good for our customers,” said Mason. “They will have a little better buying power when the two companies merge so the customers will get a little better pricing.”
Mason continues to own Mason Trucking, Trailer Service Company Inc., Mason Properties — “which owns commercial properties, medical clinics,” said Mason — and Holand Center mini storage and RV park in Westport, and told commissioners he would continue to look at investing in the area he grew up.
“We are not leaving Grays Harbor,” assured Mason. “I want to invest more in the Harbor, it’s not like we’re cutting and running.”
“I’m looking forward to working with (PetroCard),” said Papac. Pinnick added, “We look forward to establishing a productive partnership with them, as we had for so many years with Masco.”