METCO: A Family Business Before It Was Even a Business

March 6, 2018

METCO has been a Family Business Center member since 2015 and we thank them for the years of family business knowledge they are able to bring to all of our programs.

METCO was officially formed in 1979 by Ralph Knower, but the knowledge, skills, and experience he needed to make the business a success was passed down to him from some helpful folks – his family members.

Ralph’s father Harold got the family business started in the fuel service industry in 1923 when he opened his first Pure Oil gas station in La Crosse. He would go on to open several other stations in the area during one of the most difficult times in our nation’s history – The Great Depression.

Using the knowledge that his father had passed down to him, Raymond Knower (Ralph’s brother) founded Kickapoo Oil in 1959 and had tremendous success from the get-go. In the first year, Kickapoo Oil sold over 100,000 gallons of fuel!

In 1965, Ralph finally got his start in the fuel service industry when he joined Kickapoo Oil. Finally, in 1979, over 55 years since his father opened his first gas station, Ralph formed METCO to provide full fuel system sales, installation, and service.,/p>

METCO has been a family business from the start. Just one year after opening, Ralph’s son Paul would join the company. His other son Charlie and daughter Beth have also taken on roles in their father’s business.

Today, Paul Knower - using what he learned from his father, uncle, and grandfather - oversees METCO, and with the knowledge he has gained he will keep METCO’s slogan “Excellence through Experience” true for years to come.