Our History | 1985-1999

yardnew02_250Through out the years, the business continued to grow. In 1985, realizing that the company had out grown its location on Flora St., Dowler-Karn purchased property on Hwy # 3 east of St. Thomas from Bill Thompson of Thompson Transport. This location has continued to be the head office of Dowler-Karn Limited through to today. Also that same year Dowler-Karn bought the St. Thomas and Aylmer Branch’s of Maple City / Sterling Fuels from Bob Gilbert.

Another major step for Jack was taken in 1987 when he completed a deal with Imperial Oil to purchase the customer list and become one of the first “Branded Resellers” in Canada. This allowed Dowler-Karn Limited to operate out from under the dictates of Imperial Oil, giving them full control of the day to day operations of the business.

Lacey Fuels, a Sunoco agent in St Thomas was purchased in 1987 from Robert Lacey.

Ball Truck and Auto Repair was purchased from Ted Ball and moved to the Hwy # 3 property in 1990. This acquisition provided two benefits to the company, as the company was now able to perform their own MTO inspections and vehicle maintenance for an ever-growing fleet, while providing conversion services for those customers who wish to convert their vehicles to propane.

Also in 1990, Imperial Oil approached Dowler-Karn with regards to taking over the London agency from Rowberry Fuels. A deal was completed to allow Dowler-Karn to purchase the accounts from Imperial Oil. Later in the fall of this same year Imperial Oil purchased the operations of Texaco Oil Limited, through which Dowler-Karn acquired Dykxhoorn Fuels who had operated in Aylmer as the local agent.

Maple City Gas and Oil, the largest heating oil supplier in London with a second office in Lucan, was purchased from Bob Gilbert in 1992.

Sarnia Propane, with offices operating in Sarnia and Chatham, was purchased by Dowler-Karn in 1993 from Ross McEachran. This is a major purchase that almost doubles the size of Dowler-Karn’s propane operations. That same year Dowler-Karn was offered the Imperial Oil agency in St. Mary’s which was operated by Victor Hearn for many years. Dowler-Karn purchased the accounts and took over operations from the Imperial Oil property located on 509 Queen St. West.

It was only two years later in 1995 when Dowler-Karn purchased Hammond Propane from Chum Hammond which operated in the St. Mary’s / Stratford area. This acquisition allowed Dowler-Karn to expand propane operations into a market in which they already had a presence through their petroleum product division.

1996 was a very busy year for the company. The St.Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce presents Dowler-Karn with the “Free Enterprise Award” at its annual banquet. The award is in recognition of their significant contributions, not only in the business community, but to the St. Thomas and Elgin County community as a whole.

Ontario Propane Association LogoWith the company’s ever-expanding propane business, Jack Karn becomes one of the driving forces behind the formation of theOntario Propane Association. Dowler-Karn is recognized as one of the founding members with Jack Karn becoming the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Also, Jack becomes a member of the Propane Advisory Council of the TSSA.

As 1996 was winding up, Dowler-Karn acquired Elgin County Fuels, an independent fuel distributor operating in St. Thomas and Elgin County. This customer base was absorbed into the St. Thomas operations.

In 1999, Neville Fuels, an Olco fuel distributor in St. Thomas was purchased from Don Neville.