When Alan Hicks says, “You know, I’ve got gas in my blood; I’ve got diesel fuel veins,” it is hardly the exaggeration one may first imagine it to be. Meade County may not be ground zero for petroleum production, but for Hicks, it’s the lifeblood that has sustained his family for three generations now. Midway Petroleum has fueled not only engines all around this county but many surrounding counties as well.
Hicks has decided it is the right time to walk away, and a great time to offer the right person an opportunity to continue to build what he has spent a lifetime constructing. On March 1, that day will arrive, as he hands over his fuel truck keys to Corey Redmon, opening a new chapter for the business he started back in 1990.
For Hicks, the journey began long before he was even born. He says back in the 40s and 50s his grandparents had a garage, restaurant, bulk fuel plant and propane where Midway Petroleum is now located. They eventually got to a point they decided to retire and get out of the business with no one wishing to carry on the trade. Then in 1966, his parents opened a bulk plant under the Ashland flag just down the road in Irvington. It was at that point Hicks got involved in petroleum and as he puts it, “That’s just all I’ve ever done.”
“So, we had that from ’66 to 1990 down there, then Ashland decided to get out of the bulk plant business, so that’s when I came up here and built my own (in Midway) in 1990, and it just took off from there,” Hicks explains. “Built the food court up here, motel, the whole nine yards, and this was the engine that pulled the train right here.”
The one obvious thing, that can’t be missed, when talking to Hicks is his love for this county and appreciation for the countless people who have supported him over the years.
“I’m thankful for everything they have put on my plate so to speak for years and years and years. They made it all possible, 100 percent. This county, I wouldn’t want to have a business anywhere else,” explains Hicks. “Your loyalty here is true loyalty. I might not always have the best price, but I always have the best service, I’ll guarantee that. And I think Cory’s learned that in the last month and a half with him going around talking to people. That’s the first thing they say: I’ll order and Alan’s here. That’s just something I built; a relationship with my customers over 40 plus years.”
He went on to talk about the factors that led him to make the decision to get out now and offer Redmon the opportunity to take the reins.
“I’m 61 years old, and it’s time to get out on a high. With all the new business coming in here, it’s a perfect time for me to get out and an ideal time for a new face to come in here,” says Hicks. “So that’s my intention, and Cory is going to take it and run with it like it hasn’t been run with for a long, long time. It’s a blessing to get out where I’m at and get somebody like Cory in here to take over what I’ve built all these years. I think it’s the ideal situation.”
Midway Petroleum sells anything and everything petroleum based from gasoline, diesel fuel, bulk oils, diesel exhaust fluid, hydraulic oil, industrial oils and ethanol free gasoline which he says is popular with local boaters and small engine owners.
“I knew he had a successful thing going here. The more I’ve come here, the more I’ve checked it out, the more I just feel like it’s a good move,” Redmon says, as he explained what led him to look into buying the business. “I just feel like it’s a good fit. Ninety percent of the customer base, I know them on a personal basis already. There’s some I need to get out there and know. I just feel like it will be a good move for me and my family.”
Hicks says that has been his goal all along. He never wanted to sell it to a big oil company that cares only about their bank account. “This is a huge satisfaction to me that I can sell it to somebody here locally that’s in the community, active in the community, active in the churches, and I found that individual. There’s no doubt in my mind,” Hicks said of selling his business. “You live in this community and you’re going to die in this community. These big oil companies come in and they have no interest. They won’t support the schools. They won’t support the fair. They won’t support anything else.”
Redmon says he has big shoes to fill, “All we keep hearing is service, service, service. So that’s going to be our main thing is making sure we can keep up with the service he’s always done. We’ve got some shoes to fill but we’ll make it.” Redmon says he’s up for the challenge, even if that means showing up at local farmers, rock quarries, school bus depots or the many other stops that will come calling at 4:30 in the morning just like Hicks done.
The one thing that was clear is it may be a while before you see the two apart. Alan says he’ll probably have to be run out even once the business switches hands officially at the beginning of March, but Cory says he doesn’t plan on letting Hicks leave any time soon. The fuel hose may soon be in another set of hands, but it appears this is one home grown, Meade County business that will continue to thrive on the same values and dedication to service that its foundation was originally built on for many years to come.