The Tropic and Twin City story has its roots in the early 50's. Bill "Mac" McCullough was a Conoco Oil Company executive who visited his parents in Sarasota, Florida. Mac got the idea that southwest Florida in the 50's was ready to take off and independent operators would do well in that environment. So, much to his wife's dismay, he quit his job, packed up his six kids and moved the family to Sarasota to open up his first gas station.
In those days, convenience stores as we think of them today did not exist. Mac made friends with the local Budweiser distributor and they hatched a scheme to sell Budweiser at Mac's store. The plan worked and in short order Mac added milk, eggs, soda, and cigarettes and the modern convenience store was born. Ultimately that one store led to a chain of what became known as "Poor Ole Mac" stations and a juggernaut was born that sold more beer in Sarasota county than the combined sales of the dominant local grocery chain.
By the time Mac was ready to retire the next generation was involved in the business with day-to-day operations managed by his daughter, Coletta Pitchok, with help from his son Michael McCullough. As Mike got more involved he recognized that the value that his father had seen in southwest Florida no longer existed and they needed to look farther afield to grow the business.
It was then that a passing conversation with a business associate changed the course of Tropic's future. Hisham Mubaidin, an engineer by training but an oil company expert by virtue of his 30 plus years in the convenience store industry, suggested that Tropic consider Sunoco branded sites outside the state of Florida. And thus Twin City was born. That passing conversation left an indelible mark on the people involved and the Tropic family gained a new member. Hisham’s vision, optimism and strong connections throughout the industry from senior oil company executives to single site dealers is unparalleled. Hisham emphasized the need to incorporate technology to offset the razor thin margins in the industry, while still maintaining a focus on the people who are the backbone of the dealer network.
The first stores were purchased as part of a sale mandated by the Federal Trade Commission anti-trust compliance division. Mike utilized his background of 30 plus years as a trial attorney to maneuver through the minefields of the federal bureaucracy. At one point he told the lead FTC representative, "I've done my job, you need to do yours. Fish or cut bait." The FTC representative was thunderstruck and said "No one talks to us like that, we're the FTC." Mike's response was "I don't mean any disrespect, I've answered all your questions and met all the requirements, you need to make a decision." The FTC did and Twin City was authorized to purchase the stations.
Subsequent purchases have followed and now Tropic/Twin City spans from Florida north to Minnesota and Wisconsin, east to New York, and west to Iowa. The combined company now has Marathon, Sunoco, and BP brands available and can supply fuel anywhere in the United States.
Oh my how times have changed
Founder Bill "Mac" McCullough