Don Childers established Childers Oil Company in 1966 when he began selling bulk petroleum products to retail and industrial customers in eastern Kentucky. He bought three small trucks and hired two drivers to help him deliver products to remote mine sites.
In 1972, Don opened the region’s first self-service gas station consisting of gas pumps, outside restrooms and vending machines.
While many convenience stores evolved from service stations that added snacks and drinks to their retail fuel business, double kwik’s operations were driven by food service from the beginning. In essence, it all started in Peggy’s kitchen.
Don and Peggy opened their first full-service, 24-hour convenience store in 1977 with daughter Donna as manager. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were prepared using recipes straight from Peggy’s kitchen.
This store was the blueprint for the new location that opened the next year and others that followed. Peggy managed all the retail sites including design, construction, hiring and management.
In 1982, the Childers family embarked upon a new venture – a restaurant that sold gasoline. In addition to an expanded selection of homestyle meals, Sugar Shack featured hand-dipped ice cream and made-from-scratch donuts and desserts. Sugar Shack outgrew its facility and was replaced by Pine Mountain Grill in 1997.
The first venture outside Childers Oil’s coal-country market area was a truck stop located in London, Kentucky. Situated near exit 41 off I-75, the truck stop can accommodate nine commercial trucks and 12 other vehicles simultaneously. The restaurant located inside has received several “Best of the Best” awards from the local community and is a favorite stop for repeat customers from Canada to Florida. Donna has managed the London operation from the start.
The company now operates 41 convenience stores and Pine Mountain Grill. Peggy retired in 1992, but her assertion that successful operations depend heavily upon each store’s ability to serve consistently good food still rings true.