Do you remember Hess Gas Stations?
If you haven’t seen that green and white emblem at the pump lately, it’s because Hess was bought by Marathon Petroleum Corp. in 2014 and is sadly no more. However, if you’ve had your eye on one of their famous toy trucks, the company is still releasing models.
The Hess name will disappear from gas station signs after a $2.87 billion deal to sell the chain to Marathon Petroleum’s Speedway, but the holidays will still see the popular Hess toy truck.
The deal gives Marathon Petroleum the retail operations of Hess, the largest chain of company-operated gas stations and convenience stores on the East Coast. The Hess stations will all be rebranded as Speedway beginning in 2015
A builder, visionary, entrepreneur, patriot and leader. Above all, a great father and family man. The remarkable qualities that made Leon Hess so special are at the heart of the Hess Toy Truck. Born in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 1914, company founder Leon Hess grew up during the Great Depression. In 1933, after finishing high school and unable to afford college, a then 19-year old Leon Hess bought a second hand 615-gallon oil delivery truck and started a business delivering fuel oil to homes in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
By 1937, recognizing that large power companies were switching from coal to oil, Leon Hess purchased five additional trucks and expanded his business to include post-refinery residual fuel oil. Just a year later purchasing facilities to unload barges and tankers. By the mid-1940s, Leon Hess expanded the company greatly, applying lessons he learned during his U.S. Army experience during World War II as a petroleum supply officer, and his knowledge of the industry.
In 1964, just four years after opening the first Hess branded gas station Leon Hess decided to offer families a fun, high quality and affordable toy for the holidays as a goodwill gesture to customers. With that decision, he created a toy for kids of all ages, the Hess Toy Truck, that has become a hallmark of the holiday season. Leon Hess wanted a toy truck made with outstanding craftsmanship and innovative use of electronics, and he wanted to offer it at a price families could afford with batteries included— a concept that endures to this day.
By the time he retired in 1995 after six decades of leadership, Leon Hess had grown Hess Corporation into one of the world’s largest energy companies and the Toy Truck had become one of the most popular and enduring toys in American history.
Today, Hess Corporation, is led by CEO John B. Hess, as an independent energy company which responsibly helps to meet the world’s growing need for energy. In 2014 Hess Corporation transformed into a wholly focused exploration and production company, selling the legacy gas station business that had been the only retail outlet in its 50 year history.
The Rise & Fall of Hess Gas Stations
Click through the gallery above for some of the most popular forgotten retail spots that are now gone, but never forgotten. Did we miss one of your favorites? Share your memories in the comments.