1953-1965 Full Service
Town Pump operates full service unbranded gas stations located in separate markets and in separate towns. The separate market strategy allowed for greater protection from price fluctuations and price wars.
**Founder, Tom Kenneally Sr. would hand his customer his wristwatch to time his oil change guaranteed to take less than 3-minutes or the oil change was free.**
Town Pump is the first to bring self-service to Montana and the first to install bill acceptors in gasoline pumps. The goal was to sell a higher volume at a lower price to make up for lower margins. Today about 97% of gasoline sales in Montana are made via self-service.
**The Kenneallys', saw self-service as an opportunity to be more competitive by offering something new. At the time this was a very risky undertaking as most people said it was ludicrous. Many were convinced that there would be explosions due to untrained individuals handling this combustible product.**
1974-1979 Product Shortage
In 1974, Town Pump faced its greatest challenge. The product shortage across the nation had a devastating effect on all 48 gas stations. As unbranded independents Town
Pump Inc. struggled to cope with the restrictions and impositions major oil companies levied. The shortage limited supply and it was a challenge to buy enough product to fill the tanks. This required hours of operation to be cut severely. During this period our growth stopped, we couldn’t expand and our survival was in question.
**Knowing this was a turning point the Kenneally family traveled to Washington D.C. to appear for a hearing before the Department of Energy requesting allowance to import product from outside the U.S. whenever it was unavailable in the U.S. If not for the successful petition Town Pump would not have survived. Town Pump imported product from Canada using a United States Government assigned Import Quota.**
1980-1989 Convenience Stores
The 1980’s were ushered in with a glut of petroleum product that flooded the market. Convenience store upgrades and expansions began in the 1980’s after we felt reassured there was ample supply of petroleum. The move into convenience stores was in response to what customers wanted in terms of greater conveniences; more groceries, deli, services and fully automated pumps.
**Town Pump began reinvesting in current locations by building new and larger convenience stores. These stores required more employees and together we began to learn a new business. Some weaker locations did not warrant further investment so we needed to close, sell or lease them to other types of businesses that were considered more viable. In these nine years we stopped selling gasoline at 14 of our pre 1980 locations.**
1990-2003 Business Diversification
Town Pump opens truck stops, car washes, laundromats, motels, quick serves, delis and gaming establishments. The “whole package” concept is born out of never being complacent. We provide a multitude of goods and services all across Montana, 24 hours a day. We keep up with the improvements that our customers and competition require.
**Through continuous reinvestment we are able to meet our customers’ demands and complement our current business structure. By paying attention to details we have more fuel pumps with less waiting, better lighting for security and comfort, larger parking areas and driving lanes for better traffic flow and extensive inventories to offer more selection for our customer.**
Since we started the business in 1953 all our retail and service businesses have been in Montana. Our future plan is to continue to develop exclusively in Montana. We will continue our policy of reinvesting all net income back into our Montana communities and businesses as we expand our product offerings to meet our customers needs. Montana is our home and by focusing our attention where we live we can better understand population and business trends and react better to what our Montana customers want. We are committed to serving our customers by continually changing to meet their needs. We will continue to meet our goal of being Montana’s best.
"The World is changing and so is our Town Pump business. It is an absolute requirement from a cost standpoint that we discipline ourselves everyday so we can compete and deliver our best to our customers. This requires from each of us a relentless pursuit to be productive and efficient in everything we do. For well-run companies like our Town Pump, there is never an end to that pursuit.
We are improving and we need to continue to improve our business operations. This will lead us towards further stability of our Town Pump economic picture. Dedication to Team Town Pump gives each of us the assurance that if we each do our job to the best of our ability while satisfying our customers needs we will not only survive the competition but we will continue to prosper and grow.”
Tom Kenneally Sr.
President and Founder