The Kent Cos. has a long history in Texas. This year marks the company’s 60th anniversary in the convenience store industry. The company got its start after as the oil market began consolidating. During the 1950’s, Reed Oil Co. was a chain of gasoline service stations serving a major portion of West Texas, with offices and a warehouse in Big Spring, Texas. In 1975, the company opened its first convenience store, when it remodeled one of its service stations in Odessa, Texas. This was the beginning of a new direction for the Kent companies. The company’s management at that time consisted of Bill’s father, Buck Kent and his oldest son, Jim Kent. Together, they made the decision to expand into convenience store retailing by converting service stations to retail space. Bill Kent joined the company full time in 1978 after graduating from Arizona State University and continued the company’s push into the growing convenience store industry while exiting the service station business. In November 1984, Bill Kent purchased 100% ownership of Kent Oil and Kent Distributors. The companies at that time operated 12 high volume convenience stores and a few service stations. Bill Kent also assumed majority ownership of Kent Lube, which was up to six locations, through this transaction. In December 1985, Kent Oil and Kent Distributors were combined into one entity, Kent Oil Inc. The company has since expanded operations to include Avis Lube Fast Oil Change Centers, Mr. Payroll and two Kent Tire stores. It is also a franchisee of the Huddle House and Baskin Robbins brands. Today, the company operates 43 convenience stores and has more than 1,000 employees throughout Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.