Smitten with the love of oil distribution, the founding Schmidt family owns and operates U.S. Venture (formerly U.S. Oil). The company's U.S. Oil division (formerly U.S. Petroleum Operations) supplies refined oil products to residents in the Midwest, and does a lot more. In addition to the wholesale distribution of oil products (its largest revenue generator), the company operates gas stations, and installs gas pumps, tanks, and other petroleum-related equipment. U.S. Venture also provides plumbing and HVAC services (Design Air), collects used waste oil to be processed into burner fuel, and has a metal custom manufacturing unit.
The company operates about 20 Express Convenience Centers with gas stations and convenience store operations. Under its U.S. AutoForce brand, U.S. Oil also operates about a dozen warehouses in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin offering auto parts (for brakes, exhausts, and suspensions) and tires. U.S. Venture operates 12 refined products terminals across the Midwest (with a total storage capacity of about 127 million gallons at its bulk fuel storage tanks), including the Cheboygan 164,000 barrels facility. It also stores and wholesales biofuels.
The company has grown its geographic presence through acquisitions of complementary companies. In a move to expand its MidContinent petroleum products distribution business, in 2010 the company acquired Houston-based refined products marketing and trading company Saracen Energy Partners.
Growing is presence in North Central Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 2012 the bought Draeger Oil Company's branded dealer division. Under the terms of the deal, U.S. Oil provides fuel supply to more than 50 retail gas stations while Draeger retains the transportation portion.
U.S. Ventures ( U.S. Oil) also expanded its petroleum products distribution presence in Indiana in 2012 through the purchase of Farmersburg-based Trueblood Oil's branded wholesale fuel supply business.
U.S. Oil was established in the 1950s as Schmidt Oil by the sons of local fuel distributor Albert Schmidt, who landed his first job in the oil business in 1923. The company changed its name to U.S. Venture in 2010 to reflect the company's increasingly diverse portfolio of entrepreneurial businesses. – less