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Nobles County Co-op Oil completes merger, move

WORTHINGTON -- Within a span of a few days, Nobles County Cooperative Oil Co. (NCCO) completed a merger and consolidated two of its Worthington locations into one.

On Dec. 31, the member-owned cooperative was purchased by Osceola County (Iowa) Cooperative Oil Co. (OCCO), bringing an end to the 79-year-long run of NCCO. Until a new name is selected later this spring to reflect the combined cooperative, NCCO will operate under the OCCO name.

Three days after the deal was complete, NCCO closed its 10th Avenue location in Worthington, moving all of its staff and products to the Second Avenue locale. The site had been partially vacated by NCCO about a year earlier, when the cooperative decided to try and sell it.

"Originally, we tried to sell this whole property, but there was no interest in it," said Bernie Ahlberg, manager. "So, we decided to list the 10th Avenue location as well."

But as time went on and no offers were made on either parcel, Ahlberg said the cooperative decided to move to the Second Avenue site because the building was newer and the fuel station pumps were up to date. The 10th Avenue location remains for sale, and fuel pumps will continue to operate there via card-trol card only.

"(The Second Avenue site) has a canopy (over the pumps) and a larger office area," Ahlberg said. "We just felt it was in our best interest to locate downtown."

While the Second Avenue fuel pumps remained in operation during the past year, customers were required to use a card-trol card to purchase gas beyond the Monday through Friday day-time business hours. Today, the pumps are programmed to accept all major credit cards, and customers can still pay inside during business hours, which are 7 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ahlberg said having the fuel pumps in full operation downtown once again will hopefully bring back the customers.

"We are the first station people can come to from the south or the east," he said.

An extensive remodeling project that spanned 13 months included the addition of a loading dock and extra office, as well as the creation of more office space. The remaining portion of the building, once used as a tire and service center, is now used as a warehouse and work area for oil packaging. Ahlberg said while the new location is comprised of less land space, the building space is about equal to what they had at their 10th Avenue business.

"We believe it's going to work out very well for us," he said of the move.

With the move, customers can now purchase their fuel, oil, propane and cleaning solvent at one site. Ahlberg said they also have their service area in operation at the new facility, where employees can fill and repair LB White and propane heaters.

"All fuel oil, propane, gas and diesel orders are taken and dispatched out of this location, and that's made us far more efficient," Ahlberg said.

Merging with OCCO is hoped to increase that efficiency.

"It should improve the business -- they're a very profitable company with a good staff," Ahlberg added. "(The merger) will eliminate cross-over of service in propane and fuel delivery."

Sibley, Iowa, will serve as the headquarters for the merged cooperative.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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