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SELMA— Pope Transport and Handy Mart celebrated its 100th anniversary April 23 at Selma’s oil terminal with an appreciation cookout for employees, families, customers and guests.
According to third-generation president and owner Judson Pope, who attended the celebration, Pope Transport was founded in 1919 at Mount Olive as a coal and lumber hauling business by his grandfather, Emmett J. Pope Sr.
E.J. Pope Jr. took over in 1954 and Judson Pope has been president of the company for the last 35 years.
Pope said the company got into the convenience store business in 1975 by purchasing what is now its sister company, Handy Mart, also based in Mount Olive.
In 1984, Pope Transport obtained common carrier rights for petroleum products, which means it offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body.
The company delivers petroleum products and propane, and its customers include gas stations, convenience stores and energy companies located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.
Since its beginning a century ago, Pope Transport has grown to a company that is 550 employees strong with more than 50 trucks and 85 trailers in its fleet.
“We have had a lot of good long-term employees over the years that laid the foundation for success to carry us for another 100 years into the next century,” said Judson Pope.
“Pope Transport is one of the premier petroleum distributors in the Southeast and we are proud the company has a presence in Selma,” said Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver. “It is committed to providing safe and prompt petroleum delivery that is supported by professional customer service that extends to the customers of its Handy Mart stores.”
Oliver said it’s also evident the company is committed to its employees through its wages, benefits and training opportunities.
“I congratulate Pope Transport on its 100th anniversary and wish them continued success,” said Oliver.