The History and Stories of Blossman Founders in a four-part series. Part I
Woodrow “Woody” Blossman founded Blossman Gas in 1951. He moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after his brother, who operated a large propane company in Covington, LA, sold his Gulfport and Pascagoula, MS stores to him. Taken from a historic video made for the company’s 60th anniversary in 2011, Blossman said, “My objective was to create the work environment where employees could develop their full potential. I came up with the idea to create a company where everybody could have a sense of belonging, and be part of an organization with a sense of security as well as comfort.”
Woody Blossman started the business with just 10 employees on the premise that a company should exceed its customer’s expectations and that the employees should be its most valued asset. “All of our competitors had money, equipment and everything that we didn’t have, but they did not have the people we had. Those 10 that we started out with tipped the ball, and made the company function,” added Blossman.
In 1969, Woodrow Blossman asked his son, John Blossman, to join the company. He named his son president and stepped aside, keeping the position as chairman of the board. John Blossman retained the young managers his father hired in the mid 1960’s, Bob Mayer and Al Allen. The trio made acquisitions throughout the Southeast United States and added 63 branches to the Blossman portfolios by the end of the 1990s.
Bob Mayer worked for Blossman Gas in Ocean Springs for 35 years, retiring as President. During his career with Blossman, he work with both father and son. Mayer shared, “Woody Blossman was tough to work for. He was dynamic and had the personality to go with it. I found John Blossman to be a good boss. He would set up the plan, and then get out of the way. Between John, Al [Allen] and me, we were a good combination.”
John Blossman continued to emphasize employee contributions to the company, a principle started by his father Woody who died in 1990. Almost 70 years later, the company has grown to over 800 employees, and remains a family-owned business that still follows Woodrow’s founding philosophy.
Thanks to Susan Ruddiman and South Mississippi Living for contributing to this article. “The Blossman Family is a Gas,” August, 2013.
Updated June 2018