The Little General Story
When Mike Cox got out of the U.S. Navy in San Francisco in 1970, he had no plans for his future. His father was a partner in a small oil company back in Tennessee, so Mike packed up and moved east to keep the books for Triway Oil Company. He stayed with Triway Oil Company for only six months before he branched out on his own in the fall of 1970. He took over three closed convenience stores in Memphis, keeping one and selling the other two.
By 1971, Mike's father, Eddie Cox, had left his partnership at Triway Oil Company and joined his son in business. In the early days, the company was mainly focused on fuel sales. At one point in time the profit margin on fuel sales was around 98 percent. Business was good and Mike watched his company experience slow, but steady growth.
By early 1974, Mike had 13 service stations. Then came the energy crisis and everything changed. He was forced to close several of his stores and his company almost went broke. It was during these difficult times when Mike made the decision that made all the difference. He decided to change his main focus off of fuel and on to the convenience store side business. In the long run it was a wise decision that put Cox Oil Company on the right track for success. With just a handful of convenience stores, he went to work developing a focused business plan. He realized that he was spinning his wheels trying to make a go of his business in the Memphis market, so he relocated to Union City in 1979. Mike began by developing markets for convenience stores and he brought aboard key managers familiar with the grocery store business to help him establish his market.
Mike had just a few different home office locations before he found the one that we are still located at today 30 years later. The home office for Cox Oil Co. is on Perkins Street in Union City, TN. The lobby of the home office is warm and inviting with several large pictures of the Cox Oil "Family" from over the years. Ask anyone, Mike Cox is a good man, who is loved by many. He is quick to dish out praise to his employees, from those at the company's headquarters to all those who work full-time and part-time at his convenience stores. In all today, Cox Oil Company has about 600 employees with an annual payroll more than $6 million.
Today the company owns many Little General and Maverick convenience stores across the region. The name Little General comes from Mike's purchase of three Little General stores from Junior Blackburn of McKenzie. He liked the name, developed the logo and the rest is history.