Clipper Petroleum, Inc. originally started as an Amoco Oil Distributor based in Gainesville, Georgia serving the North Georgia area. W. F. Homeyer founded W. F. Homeyer Oil Company in 1933. Several years later, Mr. Homeyer took an around the world trip in the famed Pan Am Clipper airplane. He was so impressed by that famous airplane that upon returning to Georgia he renamed his small oil company Clipper Petroleum.
During the mid-1900's, Clipper served service stations, country stores, farms, and industries in North Georgia. Mr. Homeyer incorporated as Clipper Petroleum, Inc. in January of 1958. He retired in 1969, and turned the operation of the business over to his right hand man, Curtis Hudgins. Mr. Hudgins continued to operate the company from the site adjacent to the railroad tracks off of Myrtle Street in Gainesville.
On May 1, 1974, Tom Bower and Robert Braff purchased Clipper Petroleum. Mr. Bower and Mr. Braff had been employed with Amoco Oil Company and saw this as an opportunity to be in business for themselves. Clipper Petroleum was selling approximately 300,000 gallons of petroleum products per month. In 1977, Mr. Bower's son, Tom Bower III, joined the company.
The company started the Circle M Food Shop convenience stores in early 1977. The first store was located in Gainesville off of Green St. Circle. The original store was called Circle Amoco because of the street name, Green Street Circle. In the late 70's, the store became Circle Mart. And, in the 80's, the "art" in Mart was dropped to form the name of Circle M.
The first store built from the ground up was Circle M #4 in Cumming in 1981. Stores have continued to be added over the years to give Circle M excellent market recognition in North Georgia.
In 1994, Mr. Bower and his son bought out Mr. Braff's holdings. Clipper Petroleum continued to grow the Amoco brand (now BP) at its own Circle M stores and at independently operated dealer stores. Mr. Bower and his son were proponents of the major oil brand. In order to maintain the fuels growth they wanted to achieve, Clipper Petroleum became an ExxonMobil Distributor in 2000. Shortly thereafter, Clipper purchased 16 locations from ExxonMobil, immediately expanding Clipper's presence into Metro Atlanta. Over the next few years, Clipper also became Distributors of Shell, Citgo, and Chevron branded fuels.
Clipper Petroleum has had a similar growth focus on the convenience store side. After the purchase of the ExxonMobil sites, some of those locations were retained as Circle M stores. Clipper has added many new-to-industry sites in the last 10 years. In 2009, Clipper purchased 18 stores from BP in Metro Atlanta, solidifying Clipper's market share in the Atlanta market.
Today, Circle M Food Shops operate throughout Metro Atlanta, North Georgia, and South Carolina, and Clipper Petroleum is recognized as one of the largest petroleum Distributors in the Southeast.