Best Oil finds a new home ... but it's still in Cloquet
The Cloquet Business Park has a new tenant with a familiar name.
Best Oil Company purchased the former Cloquet Home Center Building on Jan. 25, which sits at the entrance to the business park and had been vacant since spring 2016.
Cloquet Community Development Director Holly Hansen — who also oversees the business park — said the purchase of the Cloquet Home Center building by Best Oil will provide the company improved office space, vehicle storage and more efficient transportation access onto Highway 33.
Although Best Oil is a business with 70 years of history in Cloquet, its owners are relatively new to the area. In 2015, the McKinney-Lindholm family sold the company's Little Store convenience stores to Travel America and the bulk fuels operations to Nuway Cooperative out of Trimont, Minn. The Windom, Minn.-based Staples Oil joined with Nuway on the bulk fuels business team a month ago. Staples Oil is a family-owned business with more than 40 years of experience in the petroleum industry.
"There has certainly been a development uptick in 2017 and the purchase of this building by Best Oil represents a strong commitment to Cloquet," Hansen said.
The purchase provides a much needed boost to the Cloquet Business Park, which was down to one tenant. The 44 lots at the business park already have access to city water and sewer, broadband internet, electricity, natural gas, phone, paved roadways as well as walking trails and ponds and lots are "shovel ready," Hansen said.
She pointed out that the location adjacent to Highway 33 North will be good for the bulk fuels Nuway/Staples operations. The business will retain 15 local jobs.
According to their website, Staples Oil provides wholesale supply of refined fuels, oils and lubricants to convenience stores, co-ops, independent bulk fuel dealers, and commercial businesses as well as local, state and county municipalities.The also have direct relationships with all the major refineries in the southern Minnesota area.
Best Oil provides wholesale fuel oil delivery to 110 independent operators from International Falls and the Canadian border all the way to Ashland, Wis. Annual sales were estimated at more than 27 million gallons in 2015.
Hansen said the current Best Oil office complex and the auxiliary buildings on Avenue B are still owned by the McKinney family. The McKinneys also own the Frank Lloyd Wright gas station on the corner of Highway 33 and Cloquet Avenue.