Our Businesses Make Our Customers’ Lives More Convenient and Rewarding.
The Wills Group aims to be the preferred choice for employees, customers, and business partners in our chosen markets and geographies. We strive to have a deeper understanding of our customer’s needs, and we are sincerely committed to meeting those needs to the best of our ability. We are committed to developing and building businesses that deliver a superior customer and client experience.
We operate several brands focused on convenient access to life’s essentials when you’re on the go.
1926Jim Wills and Harold Swann, two civil engineers working on road construction, saw an opportunity to capitalize on America’s growing fascination with the automobile. The pair got together and acquired the La Plata Oil and Mechanicsville Oil Companies. Thus began Southern Maryland Oil.
1936The company switched from rail transport to 2,000-gallon tank trucks to bring oil from Baltimore to the Owings Plant. It also began distributing Texaco Havoline Motor Oil in quart cans, prompting the first dealer meeting to introduce the new product.
1936The invention of the gun-type burner for fuel oil opened up the residential heating market. The company was quick to adapt to include this innovation and soon began offering weekly and bi-monthly fuel oil deliveries.
1940In an early example of the company’s commitment to treating its people right, The Wills Group introduced a variety of new benefits to its employees, including a vacation plan, sick leave, and a Christmas bonus.
1942Challenged by the fuel rationing implemented during World War II, the company secured a contract with the Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River) to be the principal fuel supplier.
1946The company begins to build service station sites and as the growth of the company accelerated, it was converted from a partnership to a corporation. The name changed from Southern Maryland Oil Company to Southern Maryland Oil Company, Inc.
1948In October, the company suffered the loss of one of its founders, Harold S. Swann, who was serving in the capacity of Vice President and Treasurer. His death was a tremendous loss to everyone connected with the organization.
1950Continuing the tradition of valuing employees, President Wills proposed increased coverage in the Hospitalization Plan for medical services.
1953Employee benefits continued to improve, and in December, Jimmy Wills announced the Harold S. Swann-James W. Wills Jr. Profit Sharing Plan. The Wills Group was the first company in Maryland to offer a plan in which employees received a portion of year-end profits for their retirement.
1957Following the tragic death of Founder Jimmy Wills, his wife Julia B. Wills became President of the company. She was succeeded four years later by her son, Blackie Wills.
1964This year marked a major geographic expansion to the Eastern Shore as the company received the Texaco franchise in the Annapolis area, and the next year, construction began on the Annapolis Bulk Plant.
1966In 1966, the Installation Department was created. During this era, the company completed its new main office on U.S. Route 301.
19691969 marked another growth year and our facilities were extended to the eastern shore with our newest business unit, Delmarva Oil.
1973America was shaken by the Arab oil embargo, which led to supply shortages, and federal regulations of supplies and prices.
1981In 1979, the next generation of Wills Family leadership, J. Blacklock “Lock” Wills Jr., was given $6,000 and a challenge...
1984Following the success of the early convenience retailing experiment, Lock, along with a rising generation of leadership...
1986On its 60th anniversary, the company announced a new corporate structure that created a holding company, The Wills Group, Inc., for subsidiary corporations including: SMO, Inc., Dash In Food Stores, Inc., Delmarva Oil, Inc., and Southern Maryland Oil, Inc.
1987With growth and success came another form of recognition, when the company was honored by the state of Maryland with a Certificate of Commendation for its response to underground testing regulations.
1995The company continued its tradition of caring for employees with the announcement of an enhanced 401(K) plan.
2000At the tail end of 2000, the company announced a major acquisition: purchasing 137 Texaco and Shell-branded motor fuel outlets from MOTIVA Enterprises.
2003The company opened a next generation Dash In prototype facility to replace a facility destroyed in a tornado the year before.
2005Continuing to build on the revamped Dash In, The Wills Group continued to modernize the Dash In Food Store offering and introduced a new “Franchise” business model. The first franchise was the Beantown Dash In in Waldorf, Maryland.
2009The company announced it’s first joint venture with MOTIVA and the formed a new operating company: Potomac Energy Holdings (PEH).
2010On February 14, 2010, the company mourned the loss of extraordinary leader and former president, Blackie Wills. His business acumen and personal charm were vital to the company’s survival and success, and his contributions laid the foundation for achievements beyond his tenure.
2016We celebrated our 90th Anniversary in grand style with an Employee Celebration at the Renaissance in Washington, D.C. on March 19.
2016The company completed a major Corporate Brand Refresh project in the Summer. Besides creation of the new TWGI logo, we established a new Purpose for our next decade . . . Lives in Motion.
2017Going forward the Wills Group will continue to invest in its business and its employees. In the coming decade the company will focus even more on understanding and serving its customers.
Wills Group Leadership
Our Executive Team and Board of Directors help The Wills Group stay focused on our mission to build businesses that deliver superior customer and client experiences. They do this by setting the corporate strategy for The Wills Group, as well as overseeing the execution of that strategy.Leadership Team
Why Southern Maryland?
We are proud of our roots in Southern Maryland and are eager to share the unique benefits of our geography with visitors, potential employees, and other stakeholders. Southern Maryland is an area of natural beauty and connectivity; our proximity to Washington, D.C., affords us access to world-class cultural institutions such as The Kennedy Center and The Smithsonian, while our picturesque setting provides us easy access to Southern Maryland’s beautiful scenery and coastline. Whether attending an NFL game at FedEx Field, or taking in a day on the water in Historic Annapolis, Southern Maryland is a family-friendly destination that offers something for everyone.Learn More About Our Region