Utah Wholesaler Calls It A Day

Longtime wholesale jobber Jensen Oil, of Salt Lake City, Utah, is changing hands after more than half a century, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

After nearly 50 years operating as a wholesale petroleum products jobber – the past 20 as the owner of the company his stepfather, Ora Jensen, founded in 1948 – David Werrett has sold Jensen Oil to Kellerstrass Oil Co. in Ogden, the newspaper reported.

David Werrett and Craig Kellerstrass have seen the decline of neighborhood service stations where motorists could fill up their tanks, buy a new set of tires and get an oil change or tune-up. They saw the rise of convenience stores with gas pumps out front. And now they are watching along with everyone else as the average retail price of gasoline in Utah threatens to eclipse $4 a gallon.

"Everyone always thinks . . . with gasoline prices rising that the wholesalers are making a lot more money," said Werrett, the now-former owner of Jensen Oil. "But the [profit] margins we work always remain about the same."

Kellerstrass said the only difference for the wholesaler is that when the price of gas goes up, so do accounts receivable and inventory costs, the newspaper reported.

Kellerstrass, whose father, Ken, and uncles Mack and Dean founded Kellerstrass Oil the same year Jensen Oil was established, said the acquisition will help his own wholesale business expand its presence in Salt Lake and Utah counties. Kellerstrass bought out his uncles in 1984.

"Jensen Oil is a great fit with our company," Kellerstrass said. "It is a well-run company that has annual sales of around $20 million. And like us, their customers primarily are commercial businesses operating in the construction, trucking, mining and manufacturing industries."

Combined, the two companies will generate annual revenue of approximately $150 million and have a presence from Rock Springs and Big Piney, Wyo., to southern Idaho and down through Utah County. Total employment will be around 85 people.

"I’m 70 years old now and have been in the business for a long time," Werrett said. "It was just time that I started thinking about retiring." However, Werrett said he will continue to work with Kellerstrass for the next year or so.

Werrett said that although his four children each worked at the company at one point or another over the years, only a nephew stuck with the business. "He is going to stay with Kellerstrass as the manager of its new Salt Lake office."

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