Small Business Corner - Schrader Oil celebrates 75 years in business
Schrader Oil, which owns 17 convenience stores in Fort Collins, will celebrate its 75th anniversary as a Fort Collins business this summer with an adult tricycle SOC Grand Prix on July 20 behind its corporate headquarters at 320 N. College Ave. All proceeds from the event will go to Junior Achievement of Rocky Mountain Inc.
ERepresentatives of the City’s Economic Health Office sat down with the Schrader family recently to determine what has kept them in business for 75 years. Of the company’s 204 employees, 10 are immediate family members, representing four generations, including Wayne Schrader, his children Steve, Perry and Jennifer, and several grandchildren. Family employees range in age from 24 to 84.
What has kept them in business for 75 years besides working with family?
"Our customer service," said Steve Schrader. "One of the compliments we get is that our stores are generally clean, we have better customer service. That’s one thing where we’re really trying to compete if we’re being compared with other companies."
The Schraders acknowledge that running a business is costlier than it used to be. In the 1950s and 1960s, Fort Collins was such a small town that planning a new building just took a quick conversation at City Hall. Today, the planning process takes longer. But the family agrees that Fort Collins will always be home and the business has just adapted and changed with the community.
"It’s complicated now," Wayne said. "The good thing about it is that government programs are in place for the health of Downtown businesses. Every patio is packed, businesses are flourishing. That redevelopment and draw is bringing people to this community. All of us little guys get some business out of that. Private companies and city government have worked together to pursue a greater good for our wonderful city."