In 1931 Nick Capitano, founded Radiant Oil Company of Tampa as a home and commercial fuel oil supplier. Radiant Oil Company grew as America's petroleum demands increased In the early 1950's, as fuel needs changed, so did Radiant Oil Company. Nick Capitano recognized the enormous potential the Port of Tampa offered to a petroleum supplier and became the chief supplier of petroleum products to ships entering Tampa's port. This began Radiant Oil Company's relationship with Texaco as Radiant purchased diesel fuel from Texaco to sell at the Port.
Joseph Capitano, Sr. joined his father at Radiant after graduating from Florida Southern College In the mid 1950's. As the market for petroleum products grew, Radiant expanded its relationship with Texaco into a distributorship. The Capitano family began distributing Texaco products to retail outlets. This began a period of steady growth as the Capitano's began building and servicing conventional service stations in the Tampa market.
A major highlight, during the early 1970's, was Joseph Capitano, Sr.'s successful negotiations of the first Exxon distributorship in the State of Florida. This was a key component of Radiant Oil Company's growth in the mid 1970's as Radiant was able to capitalize on its steady supply of motor fuel. Radiant Oil Company further broadened its supply base by acquiring additional local distributorships which culminated in the acquisition of the Fina distributorship. The Capitano's emerged as one of the first multi-branded distributorships in the state of Florida. The Capitano's quickly recognized the emergence of the convenience store trend and entered into supply and consignee agreements with local and national convenience store chains. The Capitano's greatest growth in this area began in 1973 when they began their business relationship with Sparky's Food Stores. With the Capitano's gas marketing expertise and Sparky's convenience store concept, Sparky's chain grew to more than forty stores with sales in excess of 25 million gallons of gasoline annually.
During the mid 1970's to early 1980's, the Capitano's won numerous awards from Exxon for its excellence in the gasoline business including "The Most Improved Chain" and "The Best Chain in the Southern Region." Hard work, vision and a commitment to excellence were the prime ingredients of the Capitano's success. Joe, Sr. was recognized for opening Exxon's first self service gasoline station in the State of Florida, and successfully marketed retail gasoline/convenience store outlets on primary locations.
The Capitano's growth in the motor fuel business continued until the mid 1980's and reached a peak volume in 1986 of 75 million gallons annually. It was during this period that the Capitano's suppliers desired to enter the Tampa Bay market for direct supply. Increased environmental regulations, shrinking gas margins, and the Capitano's need for diversification led them to restructure a segment of their portfolio. In 1987, the Capitano's and Sparky's sold more than 40 locations to Texaco (also known as Star Enterprise). Furthermore, this transaction led to the Capitano's diversification into the commercial real estate market of tenant-occupied buildings.
In 1989, Exxon acquired leasehold interest in numerous Capitano locations. Exxon currently maintains occupancy on six (6) primary locations in Hillsborough County.
After the Texaco and Exxon transactions, Joseph Capitano, Sr.'s desire to compete and grow with the petroleum industry led him to begin rebuilding in late 1991. Through acquiring an Amoco distributorship, a renewed business relationship with Sparky's, co-op stores, and open dealer accounts, the Capitano's volume doubled.
Vento Oil Company and its Amoco distributorship was acquired in 1988. Since that time, the Capitano's have quadrupled the volume in this distributorship.
In late 1991, Joseph Capitano, Sr. reformed a partnership with Sparky's to fuel Radiant's immediate growth. Together, Radiant Oil Company and Sparky's rebuilt.
Beginning in early 1993, the Capitano's made an internal commitment to future growth through company operated stores. Many factors led to this strategic objective, such as the strong customer demands of the 1990's, along with quality image and brand acceptance. However, it was the entry of the third generation to Radiant Oil Company's management team that prompted Radiant's commitment to grow through co-op stores.
In August 1995, the Capitano family formed Glover Distributing Company, Inc. and purchased certain assets located on the east coast of Florida.
In 1996, Radiant build two premier facilities, better known throughout Radiant as "Generation IV" stores. Radiant's "Generation IV" concept is one of total customer satisfaction. While marketing a major oil company brand, Radiant is leveraging facility design and layout, a minimum of 3,000 sq. ft., complete with car wash, quality fast food, 20 flavors of fountain and a premium coffee concept. Radiant is encouraged with the early results of their "Generation IV" concept. Since this time, an additional six units have been developed under this concept.
As part of an orderly transition to the third generation, The Radiant Group, LLC was formed on August 1, 1999. The LLC was formed to simplify an organizational structure which had grown fairly complex over the prior 68 years. For its part in the family business, the LLC leases real property from the various family owned real estate holding companies. The LLC company operates 14 locations and dispenses motor fuel products through another 110 consigned agent and dealer locations.