- 1936 Dee Colborn originated Economy Boat Store in Wood River, IL
- 1951 Colborn pioneered the midstream fueling concept
- 1973 Economy acquired Frankie & Johnny’s Boat Store in Memphis, TN
- 1983 Economy acquired FOSTI Fueling Service in Port Arthur, TX expanding along the US Gulf Coast
- 1987 Greer Radcliff started Radcliff Marine & Fuel Co. in Mobile, AL
- 1988 Economy established a location in Wickliffe, KY. Economy sells all TX and LA operations
- 1992 Economy entered into a joint-venture with Greer Radcliff to form Radcliff / Economy Marine Services in Mobile, AL
- 1993 Economy acquired Waterways Marine in Memphis, TN
- 1996 Economy acquired Midstream Fuel and Tri G Marine in Baton Rouge, LA
- 1997 Radcliff / Economy purchased the MOCAR fuel terminal in Pensacola, FL
- 2003 Economy entered into a joint-venture with John W. Stone Oil Distributor, LLC to form Economy /Stone in Baton Rouge, LA
- 2005 Radcliff / Economy sold its Mobile and Pensacola operations
- 2010 Radcliff / Economy re-entered the Mobile, AL market via the acquisition of TransMontaigne’s Blakely Island Terminals
- 2013 Radcliff / Economy purchased a third terminal in Mobile Harbor from Plains All-American /Chippewa, LLC
- 2015 Pilot Thomas Logistics acquired a 70% controlling interest in Economy Boat Store and Radcliff /Economy Marine Services, with the Barton Family and Greer Radcliff owning the remaining interest.
From its early beginning in 1936 when Dee Colborn assembled a supply order, delivered it in person by row boat and stowed it aboard a customer’s work boat, Economy Boat Store established its tradition for personal service. Growing the Wood River, IL business by word of mouth, Colborn, with his partner Floyd Shilling, expanded Economy Boat’s range of products and services offered to include: groceries, newspaper delivery, postal services, laundry, crew changes, marine supplies, fleeting and limited line trades. By 1938, the US Army Corp of Engineers had upgraded the navigation channels of the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois Rivers to a minimum 9-foot depth. A dependable navigation channel insured the supremacy of the powerful fuel-efficient marine diesel engine and the screw propeller over steam powered vessels. Marine transportation established a new post-war market for the refineries of the Wood River, IL area by selling diesel fuel dockside.
By 1951 Colborn had identified an opportunity to streamline marine re-fueling operations on the river. The opportunity included the delivery of fuel and supplies to vessels in transit. Harbor boats and fuel barges were used to deliver fuel and supplies, thus enabling vessels to continue under power. Economy Boat Store’s service of ‘midstream fueling’ became the first of its kind on the inland waterways. As the “Originator of Midstream Fueling,” Economy Boat maintained a leading position in the Wood River and St. Louis marine markets. Economy Boat’s innovative idea of delivering fuel, lube oil, groceries and marine supplies midstream to the barge industry is still the standard in the industry today.
In 1971, a group of investors led by Richard Scheffel, James Barton and Charlie Newton formed a company called MERS, Inc. and acquired Economy Boat Store from Colborn. Richard Scheffel became President with Charlie Newton in control of the company operations. MERS Inc., (dba Economy Boat Store), significantly expanded the company through a combination of internal growth and outside acquisitions; thus establishing a presence on the Upper & Lower Mississippi River and US Gulf Coast. Economy Boat currently serves the marine transportation industry today from Wood River, IL; St Louis, MO; Wickliffe, KY; Memphis, TN; Baton Rouge, LA and Mobile, AL.
In 1999, the Barton family acquired Scheffel and Newton’s remaining interests in the company and became 100% owners of Economy Boat Store.
In 2015, Pilot Thomas Logistics acquired a 70% controlling interest in Economy Boat Store and Radcliff / Economy Marine Services, with the Barton Family and Greer Radcliff owning the remaining interest.
Economy Boat Store and Radcliff / Economy Marine Services operate a strong and trustworthy business because of their outstanding employees. Dedicated to our customers, Economy Boat Store serves the marine industry with dependable mid stream service, quality products and competitive pricing; 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.