Cal-Ohio History

Cal Ohio History

Our Founders – Hav and Helen Sahli

In 1954 my father, H.W. Sahli, was working for McCullough Transfer in Struthers, owning two dump trucks and hauling coal for local mining companies. He heard of an opportunity to purchase a small oil company in the Canton area and Cal-Ohio Lube Products Company was born. The “Cal” came from Standard Oil of California, whose lubricants he sold and the “Ohio” obviously pinpointing the state of the firm’s origin.

Without a formal warehouse, sales experience, delivery truck or fork lift, my father, mother and uncle used a small barn for storage. Our first customers were equipment owners my father knew from his coal mining days – truckers, coal mine companies and excavators.

I remember going with him to purchase a gray pickup truck from Lloyd’s Packing Company where I-80 and Route 46 intersect. Now the burden of his Pontiac station wagon was somewhat lessened.

The buying list of lubricants was a fraction of the choices today. One sheet contained all the Chevron lubricants available compared to a thick catalog of current products.

Our customer base has also diversified from the previously mentioned areas and expanded into agriculture, gas & energy, industrial, bus fleets, refuse haulers, repair centers, drilling, concrete/paving firms and many others.

After about two years of “barnhousing” the lubes, my father purchased property within 200 yards of where he grew up in North Lima. Our warehousing facility has expanded four times – the most recent being a 50% addition in the spring of 2013.

Cal Ohio History

Hav receiving an “Award of Excellence” (1960’s)

Although he lacked sales experience, my father could sell the most important “product” in business – himself. Throughout his pre Cal-Ohio days, he gained the trust and friendship of his colleagues and their referrals of “Give Sahli a call” started Cal-Ohio’s growth beginning nearly sixty years ago.

Sixty years of business longevity illustrates that the trust and confidence our customers had in Cal-Ohio in the 1950’s still exists today.

Our goal then and now is to provide our patrons with superior value, unsurpassed service, technical assistance and customer/supplier rapport that builds strong relationships.

Customer satisfaction surveys over the years have shown that Cal-Ohio has been consistently ranked #1 nationally among all Chevron Marketers.

We’ve come a long way since the gray pickup and the frigid air blowing through the slats of the barn. We thank you, the customer, for making this progress possible. We look forward to servicing you and future patrons with the highest of business standards for many years to come.


-Bob Sahli