In business since 1929, L. S. Jernigan & Son formed a new division in 1940, Jernigan Oil Company, when they became the Shell Oil Company jobber for Bertie and Hertford counties. Their first Shell service station was located at the corner of Main and Rhue Street in Ahoskie, and still stands today as one of the many Duck Thru locations owned by Jernigan Oil Company.
In addition to distributing petroleum products, Jernigan has a chain of 39 Duck Thru convenience stores located from Franklin, VA, throughout the Roanoke-Chowan area, and in northeastern North Carolina from the Outer Banks to Greenville, NC.
Until 2006, Jernigan Oil Company was owned and operated by third-generation owner Jerri Jernigan Harrell and her husband, James “Duck” Harrell, expanding the company to become one of the largest petroleum distributorships in eastern North Carolina. In January 2006 their son, Michael, purchased the business from them, and became president and sole owner of Jernigan Oil Company, Inc. Jerri and her husband “Duck” still provide guidance to their son. Later in 2006, the real estate owned by Jernigan Oil Co., Inc. became Jernigan Oil Properties, Inc. and the vehicles owned by Jernigan oil Co., Inc. became Jernigan Oil Transport, Inc., with Jernigan Oil Co., Inc. remaining as the operating company.
Like the company started by the founders L.S. Jernigan Sr. & Jr., Jernigan Oil continues to grow with an increasing number of Duck Thru convenience store locations. The company currently supplies gasoline and other petroleum products to approximately 20 other area stations and numerous trucking, farm, and heating customers throughout the area.
Michael Harrell, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. degree in Business administration, promises to continue the proud family legacy. “The company will continue like it always has – giving this area good service and meeting their needs, just like it has over the past 60 years,” he stressed.
With Michael continuing the legacy as a fourth generation owner, Jernigan Oil Company, Inc. appears to be headed into the future with as much possibility, determination, and potential as the original founder, L. S. Jernigan Sr., must have felt in 1940.