Murray Benton, Sr., president and CEO of Jonesboro-based Mid South Sales, and his team of about 100 employees are celebrating a big win during the company's 70th anniversary year. The company was named Top Phillips 66 Lubricants Volume Marketer for 2016.

Murray Benton, Sr., president and CEO of Jonesboro-based Mid South Sales, and his team of about 100 employees are celebrating a big win during the company’s 70th anniversary year. The company was named Top Phillips 66 Lubricants Volume Marketer for 2016.

The honor is especially notable, considering Mid South Sales is competing against marketers able to serve much larger distribution areas such as Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Atlanta.

The fourth-generation, family-owned business, established in 1947 by Benton’s grandfather, has grown from a small wholesale and fuel distribution company to one of the largest privately-owned oil companies in Arkansas, serving Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. With headquarters in Jonesboro and seven other locations throughout Arkansas, MSS sells diesel fuel, gasoline, aviation fuel, motor oils, hydraulic oils, gear lubricants, greases and more to a wide variety of industries.

“Mid South Sales’ growing success can be credited for creating a positive economic impact through job creation and providing a reliable finished lubricants and energy supply to farmers, implement dealers, manufacturing companies, municipalities, car dealerships, oil change shops, tire stores and the trucking companies that are part of its customer base,” says Mike Krampf, manager of Finished Lubricants.

Mid-South Sales, Inc. (MSS) began as a small, family-owned business in 1947 supplying farmers with fuel, tires, batteries, and other tractor or automotive accessories from a bulk plant in Helena. What began as a small wholesale oil and fuel distribution company, MSS has grown to be one of the largest privately-owned oil companies in Arkansas.

With their headquarters in Jonesboro, Arkansas and seven other locations throughout the state,including Lexa,  MSS sells diesel fuel, gasoline, aviation fuel, motor oils, hydraulic oils, gear lubricants, greases, etc. to a wide variety of industries. Farmers, implement dealers, manufacturing companies, municipalities, car dealerships, oil change shops, tire stores, and trucking companies make up a portion of the large customer base.

Mid-South Sales has been a family business now for more than 70 years. M.O. Rasberry, the founder of MSS, was a multi-state tire salesman and growing tired of the travel of his sales job, became an entrepreneur and used his prior sales experience to build the business. Originating as full-service gas stations complete with employees who would pump gas and wash cars for customers, Rasberry, with the help of his son-in-law Bill Benton, Sr., started converting to self-service stations and convenience stores in the early 1970′s.

In 1976, Rasberry sold the business to Bill Benton, Sr. and for the next 35 years, Benton grew the company into a regional convenience store chain along with a growing wholesale fuel and oil distributor. During that period, Murray Benton, Sr., Bill’s son, joined the company and focused on the wholesale business. The retail convenience stores were sold in 1998, and Murray Benton, Sr. has led the company’s change in focus to grow the wholesale business with many acquisitions and improving efficiencies by working with suppliers on pricing while also growing his sales team.

Bill Benton, Sr. sold the business to Murray Benton, Sr. in December of 2012. Murray Benton, Jr., the fourth generation, has since joined the company which will allow further growth of the company. MSS delivers to customers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Missouri, as well as Arkansas. MSS is looking to expand through business opportunities and acquisitions.

Benton’s company added an impressive 320 new customers in the first seven months of the year and credits the company’s success and continued growth to three things:

• Having a well-trained, customer-focused workforce, made up of drivers, sales and office staff who enjoy supporting customers. “They are veterans in the business—a confident and charming group of folks that enjoy working together and being the best,” says Benton.

• Providing a reliable, competitively priced, high-quality product. “It helps me retain customers because we can •Keeping the business diversified and retaining local, in-house experts dedicated to each market segment. “We can serve a larger market share and get trusted, quick service to customers because we’re close to the customer,” says Benton.

Learn more about Mid South Sales at midsouthsales.com.