Empire Photos

Here is a Florida brand that was pretty small and few probably know about. As far as
I know there were never more that 4-5 EMPIRE stations, and maybe only about 3.
The company appeared to he headquartered in the Tampa area with a couple of stations
there as well as this one in Ocala, which had a long life. This station was located
a bit north of town on US 301 north, which later became 301 business north.
Sort of out of the high rent district and away from all the tourist routes of the
Ocala-Silver Springs area. The station had a long run as these photos will prove
as the first one was taken in 1960 and the second on November 19, 1984.

I always felt the company tried to copy Imperial Refineries operation somewhat.
Note the shield sign/logo with the price inside the shield, the outside tanks
and the station building, which was similar to several Imperial had in
Florida at the time.

A number of changes took place over the 24 years besides the price which went from
27.9¢ to $102.9. The outside tanks were gone by 1984 (Maybe the EPA had a hand in
that!!), The sign changed from some kind of metal or maybe even wood, to interior lit
plastic. A canopy was added and the little chimney at the top of the station was
removed. This was always a well maintained neatly kept station, again in the Imperial
mode. I doubt I have been this way since the 1984 photo and know I have not even been
to Ocala since 1988, so I have no idea if the station remains. However, with a good
sized lot, they would have had room to expand into a C-store operation and since there
was not a lot of other stations out that way, they might have been in a pretty good
position to keep their gallonage up. Very small brand, but always a nice station.


Walt Wimer

Two shots of an old Empire sign from Robert Droz, May 2003.