James Kolkhorst began driving a bobtail fuel truck for the Exxon consignee in Navasota, Texas in 1962. He split time between running the family dairy operation and managing the Navasota Bulk Plant until 1972. At that time, Exxon promoted James to become the consignee for the Navasota plant. In 1982, James purchased the Exxon Distributorship and Kolkhorst Petroleum was founded and incorporated.
During this period, Kolkhorst Petroleum was primarily a wholesale operation selling gasoline, diesel, oil and grease products to various agricultural and industrial customers in the Brazos Valley. Kolkhorst Petroleum also served the numerous Exxon branded service stations in the area. It was not until 1992 when, at the urging of Exxon management, James and Vivian Kolkhorst built and began operating the company’s first convenience store.
Jim Kolkhorst joined the company in 1994 and took over as President when James retired in 1997. In 2000, Kolkhorst Petroleum added the Shell brand to its retail portfolio. In 2004, Jim Kolkhorst created the Rattlers convenience store chain name and image. These stores portray a clean, crisp, upscale country look that is very appealing to today’s consumer. Rattlers currently operates 11 retail locations in Navasota, Bryan, College Station, Brenham, Chappell Hill and Cameron. In 2008, Kolkhorst Petroleum added the Chevron lubricants brand and the Houghton cutting fluids brand to its commercial portfolio. Kolkhorst Petroleum was picked to be one of Inc. 500′s top 5000 small businesses both in 2007 and 2008.