Vesco Oil was founded in 1947. Vesco has been owned and operated by the Epstein family who entered the oil industry in 1930. The timeline below encompasses over 80 years of history which shaped Vesco into the company it is today.
1930 - The Epstein Family Enters the Oil Industry
Nathan Epstein, businessman and father of Vesco founder Eugene Epstein, entered a partnership with William Fisher, father of the philanthropist and diplomat Max M. Fisher. Together they helped found the Keystone Oil Refining Co. on Schaefer at Ford Road which introduced the world to the concept of recycling oil. The business flourished as a result of low overhead incurred with recycling and reselling oil. The threat to major oil companies was large enough for them to try to lobby congress to pass a bill for additional taxes on recycled oil.
1947 - Victor and Vesco
Following his father into the oil industry, Eugene Epstein became a partner at Victor Oil with Harry Victor and Aaron Silverman. He brought with him business from Keystone as well as their plant manager. At the time, Dearborn Oil was re-refining used motor oil and cutting oil which Keystone Oil would then repackage and sell. Victor Oil’s primary business was selling home heating oil and gasoline. Using the first letter from each of the partners last name (Victor, Epstein, Silverman, Co.) they created Vesco Oil, a subsidiary of Victor Oil. In its early years, Vesco was the wholesale arm of Victor Oil. Gasoline or heating oil sales to other oil companies were billed through Vesco Oil.
1964 - Automotive Shift
In 1964 Eugene made the statement “Service is the backbone of our operation” and this ideal is still at the center of Vesco’s beliefs more than 50 years later. Once Victor’s primary business and name had been sold, Eugene shifted his focus to Vesco and the motor oil business, which he had kept through the sale. He began talks with oil heavyweight Valvoline and eventually penned a deal with them to sell oil to auto dealerships around Detroit. Vesco set up shop in the back of Valvoline’s East Warren facility. The company consisted of Eugene, 2 drivers/repair men/equipment installers, 3 salesmen, and 3 office personnel. The relationship between the two companies prospered as automotive customers found they could nearly double the distance between services using Valvoline’s oil, which was paired with Vesco’s unmatched customer service.
1964 - Change is in the Air
There was a dramatic shift in business for both Vesco and Victor Oil in 1964. By this time Eugene had bought his partners out of Vesco, becoming the sole representative of the company, and he was acting Manager-President at Victor. Victor Oil was canning oil for service stations around Michigan, and home heating oil and gasoline were still the primary focus of the company. The decision was made in 1964 to sell Victor Oil’s name and primary business to Marathon, which later became part of what is now the large Marathon refinery on Detroit’s west side. Other parts of the business were sold to Red Seal Oil Company which was headquartered in Ferndale, MI. At the time of the sale, Victor Oil was rated as one of the top 5 oil marketers across the state in terms of volume and customer service thanks to the excellent management and customer driven service Eugene had helped build and instill within the company.
1982 - Shaping the Future
Under the tutelage of Eugene, Vesco Oil rapidly became a dominant force in the automotive lubricant industry. He assembled a team who shared his beliefs about customer service and were as hungry for expansion as he was. In 1982, Vesco secured a contract with Texaco (now part of Chevron) to distribute their industrial lubricants. This proved very successful for Vesco and did not go unnoticed.
1985 - The Next Generation
In 1985, Eugene’s son Richard Epstein took over as President/CEO, which would be the 3rd generation of the family involved in the oil industry, and the 2nd at Vesco. With oil in his blood and growth on his mind, Richard wasted no time expanding Vesco’s customer base, supplier relationships, and market base.
1987 - Mobil Lubricants
In 1987, Mobil made the decision to begin using a distribution network rather than direct sales for their industrial lubricants. They approached Vesco and the two signed a contract leading to Vesco eventually becoming one of the top distributors of Mobil industrial lubricants in the country.
1989 - Environmental Origins
In 1989 Vesco obtained a license to haul used industrial waste and began recycling used parts cleaning solvent for their customers, the beginning of Vesco’s Environmental Services. The following year, Valvoline and Vesco signed a landmark contract, establishing Vesco as the exclusive bulk distributor of Valvoline’s automotive lubricants in Michigan. It also established Vesco as Michigan’s hauler for Valvoline’s First Recovery used oil program. Knowing that the used oil business was financially ambiguous, Richard pushed the program forward because it was a need for Vesco’s customers. By 1991 Vesco was collecting used oil from approximately 60% of its new oil customers. Vesco continues to offer cradle to grave environmental support.
1990 - Diamond Oil
Vesco's first major acquisition was Diamond Oil Distributors in Grand Rapids, MI in 1990. Richard had successfully expanded Vesco’s products and services and was now looking to expand geographically. Diamond Oil was a successful industrial lubricant distributor in western Michigan. With the acquisition, Vesco expanded the scope of its sales and marketing efforts throughout the lower peninsula of the State of Michigan.
1995 - All in the Family
With the untimely death of Richard, his brother, Donald Epstein, took over as President/CEO of Vesco. He would be the third member of the Epstein family to hold this position. Together with Marjory Epstein, his wife and corporate Vice President, Vesco continues to grow organically and through acquisitions.
2001 - Kelly Distributing Company
In 2001 Vesco acquired Kelly Distributing Company headquartered in Jackson, MI. At the time of the acquisition, Kelly was one of Mobil's top distributors. Vesco has continued to build on the base of automotive and industrial lubricant customers that were acquired in the course of the Kelly Distributing acquisition.
2003 - Keeping with Tradition
In keeping with tradition, Donald Epstein’s daughters Lena and Lilly joined Vesco in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
2008 - Maintaining Environmental Excellence
Since its inception in 1989, the environmental division of Vesco has stayed at the forefront of developing recycling technologies. Beyond re-refining and recycling used oil, Vesco offered to process used oil filters for customers. Filters are collected alongside the oil and sent to an approved recycling facility. The business took off and Vesco later brought the processing of used filters in-house. Using a machine called “The Kruncher” purchased in 2003, Vesco processes up to 25,000 used filters per day at the Detroit location. The development and implementation of this process lead to Vesco being awarded the Environmental Achievement Award from the Environmental Management Association in 2008.
2010 - Service Chemical Expansion
In 2010 MOC Products presented Vesco with an opportunity to grow geographically as well as strategically. Between 2010 and 2012 Vesco was awarded the MOC distribution rights in Columbus, OH, Cleveland, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA. The opportunity expanded Vesco's geographic footprint and service chemical offerings.
2012 - Valvoline Drives Ohio Expansion
In 2012 Valvoline offered Vesco the opportunity to distribute bulk oil, Car Brite, and service chemicals in Northeast, OH. Vesco constructed a state of the art distribution center in Medina, OH to keep pace with the expanded territory and increased sales.
2012 - Women Owned Business Certification
Vesco became eligible for Women Owned Business Certification from the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Vesco was certified in 2012, and the following year was listed as the 7th largest Women Owned Business in Michigan by Crain's Detroit.
2015 - Britsch Acquisition
The acquisition of Britsch Inc. expanded Vesco’s presence in Northwest, Ohio including the Toledo area. The staggering amount of similarities between the two companies made common ground easy to find. With the acquisition, Vesco now had a deeper penetration into the industrial lubricant market.
2017 - A New Era
Lilly Epstein Stotland was promoted to President of Vesco Oil in June of 2017, becoming the 4th Epstein to take the reins. Sharing the same appetite for growth as her grandfather, she played a pivotal role in the 2018 acquisition of Dayton, OH-based Acculube.
2018 - Acculube Acquisition
Vesco widened its product offerings in the industrial fluid market with the acquisition of Dayton, OH-based Acculube.