Nov. 7, 2018 – Washington Co., WI – A family-owned business for 88 years has been sold. Watch as the Tri-Par gas stations in Washington, Ozaukee, Dodge and Sheboygan Counties take on a new look as the stations have been sold to Casey’s General Store.
“It’s bittersweet,” said owner Steve Gall, 56. “We think it’s a good fit for our 95 employees. They’re taking all seven stores and keeping all seven stores open until they’re remodeled. I think we did the best we could.”
Steve Gall of Cedarburg owns the business with his brother Mark. Their grandfather Herbert was one of the founders. “The store has been in my family for 88 years,” Steve Gall said. “He started it 1930 and had a door-to-door route with a delivery truck.”
The Gall stores that sold to Casey’s General Store include the Tri Par on Highway P and Mile View Road in West Bend, Highway 60 in Slinger, Highway 33 in Newburg, Hustisford, Cedarburg, Highway 33 in Saukville and Random Lake.
Photo courtesy Casey’s General Store
“Casey’s approached us and some other people approached us,” Gall said. “It wasn’t ideal timing because my brother and I are fairly young yet but it just seemed like it was time.”
Casey’s General Store has a signature look with a red shingle top and yellow-and-black signage. “I’m sure some of the stores they’ll remodel and others they will rebuild,” said Gall.
Gall, 56, said customer reaction has been mixed. “People don’t like change,” he said.
Casey’s is making a wave of acquisitions quickly across the state.
In January 2018 reporter Samantha Sali broke the story about Casey’s General Store a development in Hartford. That store on the corner of Highway 60 and Liberty Avenue received approval from the Hartford Plan Commission.
Currently Casey’s General Store has over 2,000 locations. The company has made a name for itself with “clean stores and friendly employees who pride themselves in customer service.”
Gall said the sale of the seven Tri-Par locations will close at the end of November.
On a history note: The family-owned Tri-Par stores have an interesting story. The post below is courtesy Steve Gall.
Built on Family Values
Tri Par was founded in 1930 by Herbert Gall, Clarence Gueller, and Jack Klein. The name Tri-Par was bestowed upon the business by a depot agent, as the men could not come to consensus and did not want any of their names on the bill of lading for a train car of gasoline. The German depot agent used the German word for Three, which is Drei , the English equivalent Tri, and Par as the shortened version of partner.
Mr. Gall, Mr. Gueller and Mr. Klein decided to go their separate ways after a year of working together. Herbert Gall continued to use the Tri-Par name as he went door to door selling fuel to farmers in Ozaukee and Washington counties. His business steadily grew and he opened an automobile repair shop in the 1945 in downtown Cedarburg. He installed a pump out in front of the shop to fuel automobiles. Herbert bought the northwest corner of the Washington Avenue and Western Avenue and built his first stand-alone gas station in the early in 1950’s. A second location was added in downtown Sheboygan a few years later.
The expansion continued. Tri-Par had eight delivery trucks on the road in the 1960’s.
Herbert had two – 200,000 gallon fuel tanks built to store fuel oil and gasoline. He bought motor oil direct from manufacturers in Pennsylvania. Retail locations were added in West Bend, Hartford, Manitowoc, Port Washington and Saukville.
Herbert sold his company to his sons in 1970’s and they started to add convenience stores and convert the retail locations to self-serve. They developed the reputation for having competitive prices and quality merchandise. They began selling gallon milk and had a stamp program that allowed customers to earn stamps for each purchase, with a full stamp book reedemable for a cash rebate.
Herbert’s son Robert bought Tri-Par from his brothers in 1986. Robert built the Newburg site in 1988, followed by Slinger and Hustisford. Each of these sites filled the need for a gasoline and convenience store in a small town located on a state highway. Most recently, the Random Lake store was constructed in 2004, the store on Hwy P in West Bend was rebuilt shortly thereafter, and the most recent reconstruction was Saukville in 2012.