St. Joe Oil Co.

Family businesses that stay in families for generations is a practice that extends itself to Americana just as much as it does success. The longevity that makes a small-town business unique is – sadly – a fading tradition, something mostly only found in small towns.

Something modeled by businesses like St. Joe Oil.

St. Joe Oil Co.

Run purposefully, with a focus on adaptability and innovative business practices, St. Joe Oil has managed to maintain a successful presence in St. Maries while continuing to focus on what makes it unique: It’s focus – and insistence – on family.

That approach can be attributed to owner Sherry Sumner.

Her mindset extends itself to the work environment and is a testament to the longevity not just of St. Joe Oil as a business but of St. Joe Oil as a place to work, a place to establish a career.

It isn’t rare for employees’ time with the company to span several years. In fact, three of the nine employees have worked there nearly two decades apiece, one of whom is just finishing his 36th year with the company.

The employees aren’t the only ones with a history. As is often the case in a small town, businesses tend to stay in families and are nurtured with each generation.

Gary and Sherry Sumner purchased the business in the 1970s from Sherry’s parents, Dan and Margaret Holstein. Sherry’s daughter, Jennifer, began working in the office in 1998, and Jennifer’s husband, Kenny, joined the business in 2004. Gary passed away in 2007, and Sherry has directed the business and operations of St. Joe Oil since, always keeping the focus on what has served them best over the past four decades: family-focused, friendly, reliable service.

It’s clear the customers benefit from Sherry’s business model. Her focus on her family extends to quality service to her customers. St. Joe Oil provides heating fuel to half of St. Maries, covers a distribution area that spans most of North Idaho – running from the Washington to Montana border, South to Moscow and North to Mullan – and operates a gas pump at its Railroad Avenue location.

For more information about St. Joe Oil Co. and the specific products and services they provide, check out their Web site.