The History of Blarney Castle Oil
Back in 1933, in the midst of the Depression, a gas station was built in Bear Lake, Michigan, by Dennis E. McCarthy. He named the station “Blarney Castle #2,” after the historic Blarney Castle in Ireland. Denny sold Gulf Petroleum products and based his business on service, friendliness, and an attractive, clean facility.
While Denny served five years overseas in the army during World War II, his wife Helen handled the day-to-day operations of the station. In 1945, when Denny finally returned to Bear Lake, Blarney Castle #2 was renovated and modernized. The first delivery truck was purchased in 1947, and that summer, the first Blarney Castle Oil Company Bulk Plant was built in Onekama.
As a wholesale and retail business, Blarney Castle Oil Company grew, year by year. Fuel oil customers, farm and commercial accounts, and several dealers were acquired. A distributorship with Texaco was negotiated. Opportunities to expand were considered and when at all possible, small distributors and locations for service stations were purchased. Soon, offices and bulk storage plants were established in Scottville, Cadillac, and Cheboygan.
The seventies saw changes in the management of the company. Dennis Brent McCarthy, Denny’s eldest son, after a hitch in the army, moved to Cheboygan and took over the management of that northern area. Three years later, William J. McCarthy, his younger son, joined the family business.
In the late seventies, after Texaco pulled their operations out of Michigan, Blarney Castle became a multi-brand marketer, selling several brands of petroleum products, as it remains today. Remaining, also, is the desire to give good service, be friendly, and provide customers with a positive experience. The Blarney Castle stations were established as EZ Mart convenience store locations, dedicated to providing the superior customer service and quality products patrons have come to expect.
The new millennium brought changes and growth to the company as well. In 1998, Dennis Patrick McCarthy, Dennis Brent’s oldest son, came to work for the company. He was joined by his younger brother, Brian C. McCarthy, in 2001, and most recently by his cousin Will McCarthy, Bill’s son.
Blarney Castle #2, from which all of this started, is still in full operation in Bear Lake, along with 90 additional EZ Mart locations from Grand Rapids to Sault Ste. Marie. In 2001, the construction of a new main office in Bear Lake was completed, adjacent to the original office and BC #2. With nine offices in northern Michigan, fuel oil, propane, and lubricant sales, Blarney Castle Oil has come a long way since 1933.
While the face of the company has changed, its values have not. A large part of the success of the business can be attributed to the over 800 capable and loyal employees, many of whom have worked for Blarney Castle for many years. The founder of the business and his sons and grandsons, with the help of the employees, is anticipating a long and successful future, marked by continued growth, hard work, and commitment to the principles on which the company was founded.