James Robert (J.R.) Addington, a Scott County native, founded the company after graduating college in 1929. He first worked for S.E. Massengill Drug Company in Bristol but wanted to return to Scott County to marry his high school sweetheart, Julia Kate Broadwater.
Upon the untimely death of his older brother, Gus, in 1932, the Sinclair Refining Company was looking for a new agent. J.R. was called, applied for the position and was chosen as the new Sinclair Refining commission agent.
Initially the company sold gasoline and kerosene through country stores. Deliveries were made with a tank mounted on a wagon and drawn by a team of horses. After about six months into this method of delivery, J.R. bought a truck and retired the horses.
Then World War II struck with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and all petroleum was rationed. Since there was very little product to sell, J.R. took a second job in the payroll department at Holston Army Ammunition plant.
At the end of the war, Sinclair chose to pull out of the East Coast market. Shell Oil Company, however, was expanding and J.R. became a Shell Oil Jobber. “With all the service men and women returning home, the automobile companies were once again making cars and airplanes instead of tanks and airplanes,” explained Jim Addington, son of J.R.
Auto sales took off and this meant that more gasoline was needed. The new norm for selling gasoline was through “full-service filling stations.” J.R. was able to build four of those new stations — two in Gate City and two in Weber City.
In 1957, at the age of 51, J.R. suffered a fatal heart attack. At the time, Jim was a sophomore in college at the University of Virginia, majoring in commerce. His first inclination was to quit school and come home. “My mother, said, ‘No.’” She managed the business until Jim finished school in 1960, at which time, he returned home and took over management of the company.
By 1965, Addington Oil started converting the “full-service filling stations” into “self-service” convenience stores.
“We provide 100 percent pure gasoline at all four of our convenience stores to meet the needs of our customers,” Jim said. The Weber City Quik Stop and Red Roof Discount Cigaret Center also sells ethanol gasoline.
In 1989, the company made the conscious decision to become an “independent” distributor of petroleum. “We chose the name ADDCO as our brand,” Jim said. “This allows us to purchase product of the highest quality from several different major suppliers.
In addition to convenience stores, Addington Oil provides on-site fueling for truck fleets, and bulk deliveries to farmers, contractors and industrial customers. ADDCO has a fleet of four tank trucks plus two transports which enables the company to provide prompt service on short notice.
Today, Addington Oil is owned by Chris Kimbler, Jim’s son-in-law; Jim’s daughter, Allison, and his grandson, Noah. Chris joined the company in 1993, and under his leadership, according to Jim, “the company has expanded.” Allison is currently employed by the Scott County Schools as a teacher at Shoemaker Elementary. Noah, while attending college, works part-time in the business and also manages his own lawn care service company.
Jim remains active in the business. “I have enjoyed my 59 plus years in the petroleum business, having been blessed by loyal customers and dedicated employees. I know that my father, J.R., would be proud to know that the third and fourth generations now lead the company that he founded.”
Community contributor Pam Cox is director of Scott County Tourism.