Colonial Group Unveils Historical Marker To Celebrate 100 Years In Business

L-R: Christian Demere, Houstoun Demere, Robert H. Demere, Jr., W. Todd Groce, Ph.D., Senator Ben Watson, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson
L-R: Christian Demere, Houstoun Demere, Robert H. Demere, Jr., W. Todd Groce, Ph.D., Senator Ben Watson, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson

Savannah- based Colonial Group Inc. celebrated 100 years in business on July 21 as representatives of the family-owned company unveiled a historical marker in cooperation with the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) on the site of Colonial’s first service station in Savannah’s historic district.

The occasion was also observed by The Honorable Ben Watson, State Senator for Georgia Senate District 1, who sponsored a Georgia Senate Resolution recognizing Colonial Group for having grown from its “humble beginnings in July 1921 to become one of the leading businesses in the state”; and The Honorable Van Johnson, Mayor of Sa- vannah, who proclaimed July 21 as Colonial Group Day in Savannah.

Representing third and fourth generations of the family-owned business, Demere, along with his father, Robert H. Demere Jr., Chairman; and his brother, Houstoun Demere, VP of Business Development for Colonial’s Savannah Yacht Center; unveiled the marker.

They were joined by the senator and the mayor, as well as W. Todd Groce, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, who also hosted the event.

The historical marker reads, in part:

“Raymond McAllister Demere founded the American Oil Company on July 21, 1921, as Savannah’s first independent wholesale petroleum company, and he opened his first service station at this site in 1923. Renamed Colonial Oil in 1933, the company is now known as Colonial Group, Inc.”

It also acknowledges a business that has grown to become one of America’s largest privately held companies.

GHS created a case study and company profile about Colonial as an educational resource for Georgia middle school students, which will be available to educators beginning with the fall 2021 school year.

As the company prepared to observe its 100th anniversary in 2021, its leadership was encouraged to research and document its history and create an archive of those findings. A historian and local writers worked with many of Colonial’s employees and retirees to develop a book about the company’s first 100 years. The project is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

Additionally, Colonial Group commissioned a commemorative logo that will be used for several years to observe the company’s centennial of service.

For more information about Colonial Group’s history and milestones, visit colonialgroupinc.com/about/history/

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