Ray Coulson got his start with Amoco Oil Company in Indiana. In 1969, seeing a need for additional fuel products and services in his home state, he and his wife Lois started Coulson Oil Company in North Little Rock. The Coulsons soon partnered with their long-time friend Jim White and, in 1975, welcomed their son Mike to the team.
In its first month in business, Coulson Oil sold more than 83,000 gallons of fuel at its six dealer-operated service stations. With an eye on innovation, Coulson Oil developed the nation’s first self-service diesel fuel stop in 1976. They also put in place the nation’s first price-oriented billboard to encourage those on the road to keep driving until they reached their exit. It worked like a charm, increasing volume 50 percent on its first day alone.
In 1978, Coulson Oil was growing exponentially and averaging 22 million gallons of fuel across 51 locations. By 1983, Coulson had signed an exclusive contract with Shell Oil Company for nearly all of Arkansas to develop and expand its Shell Superstop locations. Three years later, the company had 69 Shell locations, including 20 conventional stations, 37 Superstops, seven pumpers and five truck stops.
As the company expanded, Mike assumed more leadership responsibilities and helped the company stay ahead of industry trends. Under his guidance, Coulson Oil purchased two Road Runner convenience stores and, in just a few years, grew the brand’s presence across the state. Today, with John Harris at the helm, Coulson Oil is recognized as the leading branded-gasoline marketing supplier in Arkansas, with convenience store and fuel outlet customers across the southeastern U.S., supplying more than 250 million gallons of gasoline and diesel.