Who We Are
While in his late 20's, E.L. “Buck” Kent started to work for Wickett Refining Company as a traffic clerk responsible for monitoring the railroad shipment of the refinery's products. He later was promoted after convincing the owners and management of the refinery to let him become a local salesman. This idea helped the refinery go from losing money every month to becoming very profitable. Over the years he was promoted and was allowed to buy stock in the business.
In the late 1950's, Wickett Refining Company was liquidated. E. L. "Buck" Kent, as President and major stockholder of Wickett Refining Company in Wickett, Texas, purchased Reed Oil Company and Reed Distributing Company of Big Spring, Texas. These new companies operated as subsidiaries of Wickett Refining until the decision was made to sell the refinery. Upon the sale of Wickett Refining, Inc.. In 1957, E. L. Kent, a West Texas native from Eldorado, took 100% ownership in Reed Oil and Reed Distributing. Upon assuming complete ownership, the names were changed to Kent Oil and Kent Distributors.
In 1975, the company opened its first convenience store, when it remodeled one of its service stations in Odessa at 601 West County Road. This was the beginning of a new direction for the Kent companies as selling retail gasoline by itself was a marginally profitable business.
Kent Lubrication Centers is formed and began operating full service quick oil change centers in the Midland and Odessa area. Kent Lubrication Centers were the first ten minute oil change operations in West Texas.
In 1978, Bill Kent, Buck's youngest child, joined the companies full time after graduating from Arizona State University.
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, a few service stations and 6 Kent Lubrication Fast Oil Change Centers.
In 1988, Kent Lubrication Centers agreed to become a franchisee of Avis Services, Inc., operators of Avis Lube Fast Oil Change Centers. Avis Lube was a subsidiary of Avis, Inc., a world leader in the rental car business. In August of 1991, Avis decided to exit the franchise business for quick lubes and through negotiations the franchise agreement was terminated. Kent Lube then entered into a licensee agreement with Avis and today all of the units operate under the Avis Lube Fast Oil Change Center name.
It doesn't get any easier than ice cream and that's why The Kent Companies decided Baskin Robbins was the perfect addition to our family of companies. Oh yeah, and Mr. Kent loves his chocolate ice cream. It was his dream as a child to own his own ice cream store. In the mid 1990's the Baskin Robbins franchise was acquired and Bill Kent's dream was a reality.
KF Financial was created, which consisted of being a Mr. Payroll Check Cashing Franchisee in the Permian Basin. Mr. Payroll, the franchisor, is a subsidiary of Cash America, a publicly traded company. The business conveniently cashes payroll/income tax checks, accepts utility payments, provides Western Union services, and miscellaneous other financial services.
In 2003, the company purchased the ATM machines that were located inside of the Kent Kwik Convenience stores.
In 2007, The Kent Companies became a franchisee of Huddle House Incorporated upon purchasing an existing location in East Texas.
The company revamped its in-store food program for all of the Kent Kwik locations. The new model consisted of all food being made fresh daily and delivered to all locations. This is why the Kwik Eats brand is known for having fresh, great tasting food at all times.
The company got into the car wash business when it opened its first state of the art car wash with three bays (2 soft touch and 1 touch free) open 24 hours with attendants to do pre-scrub and complementary drying.
Our History and Philosophy
The Kent Companies have been making West Texans lives easy since 1957. The roots of this family-owned business trace back to the 1930's during the great depression, when E. L. "Buck" Kent, The Company's founder, got his chance in the refining business by going to work for Mr. William B. Hassett, the owner of Wickett Refining Company, in the tiny West Texas town of Wickett. From this humble beginning as a railcar traffic clerk for Wickett Refining, Buck Kent went on to become president of the company, a major stockholder, and eventually founder of Kent Oil and Kent Distributors in 1957. Today, The Kent Companies still operate with the same attitude and spirit that made Buck such a success – hard work, dedication to our customers and employees, and a never ending drive to be the best. The Kent Companies are now led and owned by the second generation, Bill Kent, Buck's youngest son. Being named after Mr. Hassett, the founder of Wickett refining gives Bill the added incentive to continue this long standing West Texas legacy. From this beginning in 1957, the Kent family of companies has grown to include Kent Lubrication Centers, Arizona Kent Lubrication Centers, Inc., Professional Lube Management, Inc., Wescon Management Group, Inc., K F Financial, LLC, Kent Tire Company and Team Kent Motorsports. All of these companies work together in making our customers' lives easy!
The Kent Companies Management Team
Management at the Kent Companies is comprised of people who started on a register and under the hood of a car, college graduates, and team members outside our industries looking for a new challenge. It is our belief that The Kent Companies will grow stronger only with visionary thinking and good leadership. We think we have that and we need more!