Midland Services traces its roots back to September 1930. The A&B Co-op Oil Association was sparked by a February 1930 suggestion to Frank Anderson of Ashland that “ this area ought to have an oil cooperative”. Cooperatives were being formed all over the Midwest, created to provide fuel and oil to the rural areas of America. Frank and a group of area farmers worked to have several local “buying groups” and cooperatives in Ashland, Marengo, Washburn, Morse, Bibon, Silver Brook, and Benoit contribute cash to start the new cooperative. In February 1932 it was reported to the membership that the initial seed money had been paid back and A&B Oil Cooperative was providing savings for the membership. Looking back at an Audit Report for 1948, the cooperative had sales of $140,560 from its bulk fuel and service station. The A& B Cooperative was providing gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, antifreeze, and tires to the Ashland area. Another cooperative at the time, Equity Farmers Produce Cooperative, provided for a feed milling operation and a grocery store. The cooperative also provides a market for eggs and barley shipped to Milwaukee. One of the earliest locations was between 11th and 9th Ave West, along the railroad tracks
In 1965 the A&B Cooperative, the Equity Cooperative, and store associations of Sanborn and Marengo consolidated into “Midland Services”. The new Midland Services provided petroleum, grocery, and feed services for the urban and rural areas of Ashland and Bayfield Counties. In 1965 Midland
Services built the first fertilizer depot in Northern Wisconsin. The predecessor to our Sanborn Convenience store was built in 1967. Midland Services grew further over the years with the acquisition of Range Coop in Hurley in 1981 and the purchase of Cooperative Services in Maple in 2004. In the 1980’s Midland services was a well-diversified company with a hardware store, feed mills, fertilizer plants, convenience stores, bulk propane and fuel, and a truck stop.
In the early 1990’s Midland Services began a change to the intensive energy cooperative that exits today. The feed mill and fertilizer plant were sold; the truck stop and hardware stores were also spun off. Today Midland Services stands as a major growth supplier of energy, through its convenience stores, large propane gas division, and bulk petroleum department delivering fuel to residential and commercial accounts
Midland Services operates five convenience stores located in Hurley, Ashland, Mellen, and Brule. The Mellen Station is the most recent, being purchased in 2013. The station on Sanborn Avenue was built new in 2007 and the other three stations have gone through complete remodeling projects since 2007. The refined fuels department operates two delivery trucks; delivering fuel oil to residences, diesel and gas to commercial accounts and the farm community. The propane gas division operates with nine delivery trucks, delivering propane gas from Superior, across Northern Wisconsin, and into Upper Michigan. Our most recent growth was the purchase of location in Ironwood, Michigan in 2013. Our predominant supplier for fuels is CHS Cooperatives (CENEX) and Midland Services is one of the ten largest propane dealers in the coop system. Our new “MIDLAND ENERGY” logo states our vision as “PROVIDING ENERGY FOR YOUR HOME, AUTO, AND LIFE”.
In Operation since
Midland Services was founded as a cooperative form of business. The profits are returned to the members in the form of “patronage refunds”. The profits are returned locally, not sent to an entity in another state or country! It was reported at an annual meeting in 1948 that the cooperative “saved members 8 cents/gallon on the price of home heating fuel”. The last several years Midland Services has returned over $400,000 each year to its members. Last year Midland Services members saved over 10 cents/gallon on propane and fuel oil, and over 15 cents/gallon at the gas pump. A portion is returned as cash and the balance as stock. The stock is used for operating capital and returned at a later date. This year again over $400,000 will be sent to our members in September. This will have a great positive impact to our economy in Northwest Wisconsin.
Midland Services employs about 75 full time and part time people. The annual payroll exceeds $1.4 million with benefits amounting to over $350,000. Midland Services supports community organizations with over $25,000 in local donations each year. We are proud of our employee’s participation in church programs, 4-H, boy scouts, little league, as EMT’s, firefighters, and as volunteers in many other organizations.
Midland Services is an innovative energy supplier. Midland was the first company in our area to offer propane-heating contracts, computerized scheduled delivery programs, and budgeted payments programs. As an energy supplier Midland Services is active in renewable energy and energy conservation. The Sanborn Convenience Store is the only station in NW Wisconsin offering a biodiesel blend and our newest service truck was ordered E85 compatible. Midland Services stations were the first to convert to the new Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, lowering sulfur emissions to the atmosphere. Our stations only offer Road Master Premium Diesel, increasing fuel mileage, lowering diesel emissions, and enhancing the use of BioDiesel. Our facilities have participated in Wisconsin Focus On Energy programs to lower energy usage.
The People and Our Future
The growth and success of Midland Services is a result of the dedication and quality of the employee group. We are very proud to have many employees with over 10, 25, and 30 years of experience. The longevity of the employee group attests to the dedication and investment those employees have in developing a successful company. Midland Service employees carry pride in their customer service and asking for customers to become new members.
Midland Services has an eight-person board of directors, elected from the membership at our annual meeting each year. The Board Of Directors and management are active in educating members about cooperatives, and influencing laws and regulations that affect the membership they serve.
Midland Services is a financially successful company with over $36 million in sales and returning over 5% profit back to the members we serve. The board of directors, management, and employees are poised to consider other opportunities in our trade area that provide a benefit to members with a financially sound return.