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Transfer in ownership allows Fick & Sons to keep local workforce

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 12:00 PM EST

A Grayling company with over five and half decades serving gasoline, propane and fuel needs in the region will maintain its roots and workforce of local employees due to a new ownership agreement.

For the past several years, numerous larger fuel companies from mid-Michigan and southern Michigan have expressed interest in purchasing Fick & Sons, Inc.

Fick & Sons, Inc. was first established by Charles F. Fick in 1958.

Over the past 55 years, it has grown into a company which currently employs over 90 local residents.

While Charlie Fick and the Fick family had some interest in selling the business, the family was concerned that a sale to a larger downstate company would result in the loss of employment for several Fick & Sons employees.

In the spring and summer of 2012, a group of Fick & Sons employees expressed interest in acquiring the business from the Fick family. The sale was closed in late December.

"The Lord has blessed me," said Fick, who said it became harder to run the firm in the current business environment. "All of the employees have got their jobs, many who have been with us for 15 to 20 years."

The new owners of Fick & Sons are: Scott T. Gabriel, Michael G. Creps, AnnaMarie Huntley, Jay G. Hollingsworth, Melanie J. Hamnia, Linda R. Woloszyk and Richard J. Jaskowski.

They are all local residents of the Grayling, Roscommon and Houghton Lake areas and have been employed or have performed services for Fick & Sons for several years prior to the sale. The new owners have a combined experience of over 100 years with Fick & Sons.

"This was a win-win for the Fick family and the local community," said Creps, the president for the new board of directors for Fick & Sons, Inc. "We were able to accomplish a transfer of the ownership of the business, yet still maintain the local presence and employment that Fick & Sons offers to our community."

Creps said selling out to a larger fuel firm would have resulted in the elimination of local corporate leadership, dispatchers and truck drivers, about half of its workforce.

"I think that would have been devastating for Grayling," Creps said. "That was a huge concern."

Fick & Sons provides residential propane and fuel oil delivery for home heating, and wholesale delivery of gasoline, diesel and propane. The company provides home heating delivery in the Grayling, Roscommon, Houghton Lake, West Branch and Lincoln areas. The company also operates Charlie's Country Corner Travel Plaza and Super 8 Motel, located at Four Mile Road in Grayling, the Sunny Spot gas station in Roscommon and the Marathon gas station in Lincoln.  The company supplies fuel to 50 gas stations in northern and Central Michigan.

Fick & Sons has been a long time financial supporter of local activities, youth programs and charitable organizations.

The new board of Fick & Sons intends to continue to provide financial support for the local communities.

The new board of Fick & Sons indicated that their first priority is to ensure that the company is providing the best possible services to all of its customers. The new board further noted that a change in ownership would not any way affect the services currently provided by Fick & Sons.

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