Luke Oil Plans Northwest Indiana Growth

Region seeing c-store industry expansion

Published in CSP Daily News

HOBART, Ind. -- Luke Oil Co. is planning to increase its retail fuel presence in the region and develop other properties that the company owners hold, reported the Times of Northwest Indiana. Luke Oil vice president Tom Collins Jr. told the newspaper that the diversified company plans to open at least five new gas stations and convenience stores in 2012.

The company will have to contend with competition from Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Express Corp., which is also expanding in the region, according to a report by the Times in early December.

Family Express president and CEO Gus Olympidis said the company has spent nearly $8 million to acquire property and open stores in three Lake County, Ind., locations in the last three months. The chain now has 57 locations in northwestern and north central Indiana (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily Newscoverage.)

New Luke Oil stores in Cedar Lake, Hobart and East Chicago, Ind., will add to the Hobart-based company's portfolio of 25 locations in northwestern Indiana, said the report. Late last year, the chain opened gas stations and c-stores in Schererville, Ind., at a former Shell location and at a former Oasis fuel site in Merrillville, Ind.

The company also added several new locations in 2009 after acquiring 12 Shell stations in late 2008 from Chicago-based RM Petroleum (see Related Content below for previous coverage).

"As a team, we continue to focus on our vision to become the premier brand and market share leader in Northwest Indiana," Collins said in a statement obtained by the paper.

Luke Oil did not respond to a CSP Daily News request for comment by press time.

In 1967, Ralph Luke founded Luke Oil in Hobart as a supplier of home heating fuel. By 1980, Luke had transitioned into a fuel supplier for gas stations. By 1990, Luke Oil was the largest fuel supplier in northwestern Indiana and started purchasing convenience stores, the report said.

By 2001, Luke had acquired more than 30 retail profit centers and started to diversify into other industries. In 2006, Luke purchased the County Line Orchard in Hobart. Today, Luke Oil is a third-generation, family-owned business.

The Collins family also is targeting commercial development of Hammond land holdings in which it has an ownership stake, the report added.