Changes are coming to a Third Street convenience store.
Randy Splett recently sold the convenience store and car wash side of Randy’s Tire & Auto Repair business, 520 Third St., to Orton’s Oil Company, a fourth-generation business based out of Walker, Minn.
“I’m going to continue to run the shop side of the business,” Splett told The Journal, adding there will now be two businesses under one roof. “I’m not going anywhere. I knew (the Orton family) were good operators... I was wanting someone who would take care of the business.”
When looking to sell the convenience store side of the business that Splett has owned for 20 years, he felt comfortable selling to the Orton family because of its reputation. Splett said he felt the family would run things similar to how he did for two decades.
Frank Orton, who was in International Falls last week, said he plans to continue the success Splett has built.
“He does great business,” Orton said. “We plan to just add a few things to what Randy has been doing... There will be some tweaks to pricing strategy. There’s just going to be some enhancements to what’s going on here.”
In addition, Orton said it’s a goal to continue a good relationship with Splett and the service station.
“They have a solid group of employees, who have longevity in this business,” Orton said. “We have 14 other stores in rural Minnesota, we’re familiar with small-town communities. We feel this is a good situation for us... We look forward to being part of this community.”
Orton family history
According to ortonoil.com, the history of the business goes back to 1950, when Leland and Maude Orton purchased the Bennett Motor Company, a Ford dealership. Orton Motor Company operated as a Ford dealership and Standard Oil service station.
In 1958, Frank and Lois Orton bought Orton Motor Company, passing the family business to the next generation. In 1969, the Ford dealership was sold and focus was put solely on the oil and gasoline side of the business.
In 1976, Tim and Kathryn Orton, newly married and just out college, moved to Minnesota and started a bulk oil and gas station business in Wadena, Minn. Two years later, they moved to the Walker area to assist in Orton Oil Company’s Convenience Store development.
In 2008, Tim’s son, Frank Orton, joined the family business moving the company into it’s fourth generation.
Orton Oil Company currently operates 15 company owned sites, provides wholesale gasoline and fuel various dealer clients and operates a bulk plant that services the Walker and surrounding areas with home heating fuel and resort gasoline.