With his home phone number as the business number and his own Volkswagen as the business delivery car, Amy Bogue’s grandfather, Joe Gillis, started Dutch Oil Company in 1972 with a vision to serve a community in need.
During the early stages of Dutch Oil Company, Gillis was responsible for many “firsts” in the Golden Triangle area, including the first convenience store to operate 24 hours a day, and the first to offer a same-day dry cleaner in a convenience store.
“You talk about starting something from nothing,” Amy said. “It’s pretty fun, thinking about how my granddad was able to start all of this.”
Now, Joe just “oversees” business operations. Amy, her father Rex Gillis and her husband Matt have taken the reigns of quite a diverse set of businesses.
“This is about how often we see each other,” Amy quipped as she passed her husband in the hallway of Allegro Plaza in January. “We’re in and out all day.”
What started as a 100 percent petroleum-based company now includes fuel distribution across four states, 36 convenience stores, real estate, pharmacies and primary care clinics, all falling under the umbrella of The Dutch Group.
Oil and healthcare may be an unconventional pairing at first glance, but that combination started back in 1990 when Joe opened the first pharmacy inside of a traditional convenience store.
Matt acknowledges people get confused at the combination of gas and health care. “It’s really always been about what was needed at the time and meeting those needs,” Matt said. “Joe and Rex have always had the same mindset of ‘if we are able to meet the needs of those in the community, no matter what the business is, we can be successful.’”
Although her grandfather could not actually see into the future, Amy said, he had a unique way of preparing for future businesses that complemented his existing businesses. He was truly a visionary, she added.
Most recently, the company transitioned into primary care, opening the first clinic in New Hope in 2013. They purchased the 19,000 square foot former Trustmark building at the corner of Highway 45 and Bluecutt Road in Columbus, and in 2016 oversaw a complete renovation. The building was renamed Allegro Plaza, and a second clinic was opened there in 2016. The company also acquired two other Columbus clinics in late 2017.
At the time the clinic in New Hope opened in 2013, they were already nearing 26 years of pharmacy operations. Matt said they had identified a need for primary care in New Hope, and because they already operated a pharmacy in the area and had land available, they were provided a unique opportunity.
“As people that had always been in the fuel distribution business, and then opening a medical clinic, I think we all kind of fumbled our way through,” Matt said. “It was a completely new thing, but we learned through every step of the process, and we made mistakes, but they made us better.
“Now, we look up and it’s five years later, thinking ‘goodness gracious,’ this is bigger than we ever thought it would be.”
“I think we have the business side — not perfect — but pretty down pat,” Amy said. “So, our goal is to let providers see patients, and our pharmacists fill prescriptions. I think all of our business entities have a small-town feel, so we want to let (care providers) do what they are good at, and not worry about the business side and the paperwork.”
Although The Dutch Group does consider broadening their services to different areas, especially in the pharmaceutical and medical aspects, the Bogues agreed that serving the Golden Triangle has always been a top priority.
“Columbus and the entire Golden Triangle area is home to us,” Matt said. “We want to continue serving this area, locally, and in ways the community really needs us.”