SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – On Tuesday, a project 100 years in the making was placed in the hands of some of the people who helped develop a Savannah-based company into one of America’s largest privately held companies with several diverse subsidiaries.

A 100th-anniversary book, titled “Mixing Oil and Water,” was presented to a group of more than 50 Colonial Group, Inc. retirees. They gathered for a luncheon at the Enmarket Headquarters to receive signed copies of the book that’s about the history of Colonial.

While the company is still family-owned and led by the fourth generation of the Demere family, at its heart is a group of more than 2,000 dedicated employees, also known as the “Colonial family.”

Former Colonial Group, Inc. Executive Officer (from 1986-2020) Robert H. Demere signs copies of “Mixing Oil and Water.” Since 2021, the company has continued to operate as a privately held business.

The luncheon was to acknowledge Colonial Group, Inc.’s retirees and their contributions to the company.

“When we made the decision to create this book, the intent behind it was for it to be a gift for past, present and future employees. It’s intended to be a gift,” said Annette Youmans, executive assistant to the president of Colonial Group, Inc.

Elaine Longwater, president of Longwater & Company has worked with Colonial Group Inc. for over 40 years. She said, “It’s a centennial book. It’s the story of a privately held company brilliantly run by four generations of Demere’s and people that have worked there. Fifty years of loyalty, how do you find that in Savannah?”

Executive Assistant Annette Youmans (pictures right) holds a copy of the book “Mixing Oil and Water.” Also pictured are Elaine Longwater (left front) and Anastasia Kontos (left back).

Colonial Group, Inc. is a diversified energy and port-related company headquartered in Savannah and one of America’s largest privately-held companies.

Along with the Demere family, the retirees were significant in developing the company and the story. Many of those gathered at the luncheon served Colonial Group, Inc. from its earliest days and all were instrumental in developing the story.

The book tells the story of the company’s founding in Savannah by Raymond Demere in 1921 and explains how the Demere family has served the company and the Savannah community for multiple generations. It also pays tribute to what employees call “The Colonial Culture” and how their work for the company means much more than a paycheck.

Today, Colonial Group, Inc. is led by the fourth generation of the Demere family, and more than 2,000 dedicated employees.

Not only does Colonial Group, Inc. honor the past, they also acknowledge the future.

“The Georgia Historical Society created a case study and company profile about Colonial Group, Inc. as an educational resource for Georgia middle school students, which was made available to educators during the 2021 school year,” said Youmans.

Colonial Group, Inc. operates in numerous states and provides a wide variety of services including wholesale marketing and distribution of petroleum, natural gas and chemical products, retail convenience stores, bulk liquid and dry terminaling services, ship bunkering, mega yacht refit and repair services, and a proprietary product for the water treatment industry.

Over the years, the business has diversified to be the umbrella company of Colonial Oil, Colonial Terminals, Colonial Fuel & Lubricant Services, Enmarket, Colonial Energy, Colonial Chemical Solutions, Colonial Towing, Savannah Yacht Center and Aqua Smart. 

Copies of “Mixing Oil and Water” are not for sale but will be presented to the Live Oak Public Libraries to be made available for public viewing.

For more information on Colonial Group Inc., visit colonialgroupinc.com.