E. P. Nisbet founded the company in 1927. His interest in new mechanical devices led him to purchase a Williams Oil-O-Matic oil burner franchise. The oil burner was an innovation in home heating and a disrupter to coal furnaces. At his customers’ request Nisbet bought a small oil truck and began home deliveries of heating oil. The business grew as the E.P. Nisbet Company “looked after” customers’ heating needs.
In the 1950s, the E. P. Nisbet Company began installing Carrier air conditioners in homes. Leadership by Jim Kuykendall and F. H. “Bub” Orr contributed greatly to the company’s growth and reputation in the heating and air business.
Jim began building the heating oil business, and led the company after Nisbet’s death in 1960. Seeing growth opportunities in the wholesale gasoline business, he founded Nisbet Oil Company in 1962, and began supplying country stores and “filling stations” in the rural areas of Mecklenburg County, such as Mathews, Mint Hill, Pineville, and Shuffltetown. As the business grew he began purchasing corner lots and building gas stations. In 1966 Jim teamed up with Wendell Boggs and bought Rhodes and Beal Oil Company, a small firm in Lincolnton, North Carolina, which now serves the western Piedmont of NC.
In addition to Nisbet’s founder, the business has been led by Presidents Mary McLure Nisbet, 1933-86; James J. White III, 1986-2000 (now chairman); and James J. White IV, 2000-present. William F. Purvis, vice-president, 1964-86; Joseph W. Grier, Jr., Esq.; William S. Johns, Jr., corporate Secretary-Treasurer since 1981, have also greatly contributed to Nisbet’s success. The management considers employees the company’s greatest asset.