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Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
#775597 Thu Mar 03 2022 12:54 PM
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Kunz Oil Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota was founded in 1888. They originally manufactured and distributed lubricants for mills and of course Minneapolis is a historic milling city. They transitioned to automotives as that industry evolved. In 1937 they became local distributors of Diamond D-X products. Their early pump globes and signs featured a car speeding by some saw-tooth pine trees with the slogan: Best for the North.

I'm mainly interested in finding color images of more recent Kunz retail gasoline stores, signs, and logos for their service stations. I'm looking between about 1964 and 1989 when they went through a series of rebranding phases.

Their service stations were known as KO or KO Gasoline from 1964. But the name KO was getting confused with a Conoco brand called Kayo.

So they changed their name again to just K in 1978. They might have been called K-Gas sometimes. But this was getting mixed up with K-Mart and Kerr McGee. The letter K just wasn't giving them the distinctive draw they needed with major petroleum companies moving into their local market.

In 1989 under pressure from competition and other trademarks they rebranded all of their service stations one last time to Peoples Plus. They had 31 stations in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area in 1989 and 1 more in International Falls, MN on the Canadian border.

I'm pretty sure it was the following year, 1990, that Kunz's Peoples Plus chain was bought up by Fina. And that was probably the end of the Peoples Plus identity.

I found some newspaper clippings that feature the K logo for their K Stations and Peoples Plus in the 1980s. One announcing their transition in February 1988 is attched to this post. I'm hoping to find color images of their stations, their store signage, and other branding for KO, K, and Peoples Plus.

I'm especially interested in their "K" period.

Of course, this should not be confused with Circle K which is an entirely different entity. smile

Any suggestions or any collectors with anything they can help me with, I'll be indebted. I'm working on a little local history piece that features one of their stations and it's changing name over the years.

K Stations become Peoples Plus - Star_Tribune_Fri__Feb_5__1988_.jpg

Primarily researching Kunz Oil Company 1964-1990 including images of their KO, K, and Peoples Plus branding and stations.
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Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Sierra Tango Golf #775598 Thu Mar 03 2022 01:25 PM
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a couple examples of the kunz logo .. ... cool

1aaa.PNG1a.PNG
Last edited by advertologist; Thu Mar 03 2022 01:27 PM.

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Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Sierra Tango Golf #775599 Thu Mar 03 2022 01:30 PM
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Great info on the People's Plus. I knew about the rebranding, but always thought the company was more about distribution. I didn't realize they had stations that late. I'll do some digging and see what I can find to help.

I'd love to learn more about their history.


Alan
Collecting MN and Minneapolis gas and oil related items
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Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
advertologist #775620 Fri Mar 04 2022 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by advertologist
a couple examples of the kunz logo .. ... cool

Thanks for adding these!


Primarily researching Kunz Oil Company 1964-1990 including images of their KO, K, and Peoples Plus branding and stations.
Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
mapper #775621 Fri Mar 04 2022 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mapper
Great info on the People's Plus. I knew about the rebranding, but always thought the company was more about distribution. I didn't realize they had stations that late. I'll do some digging and see what I can find to help.

I'd love to learn more about their history.

Thanks, mapper. Most of what I've been able to learn about their history I've got from newspapers dot com, a digitized newspaper archive you have to have a subscription to use. There's all kinds of surprises in some of Kunz Oil's newspaper ads. They sponsored a local WCCO radio show in 1931 called the "Best for the North Program." They boasted that they were the "Oldest and largest independent oil company of the Northwest."

If you're into the Minnesota stuff, it might also interest you that the original president/founder of Kunz Oil Company was also one time co-founder and President of Minneapolis Brewing Company which brewed Grain Belt Beer. Both Kunz Oil and Grain Belt (Minneapolis Brewing) have a history on Nicollet Island on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

Last edited by Sierra Tango Golf; Fri Mar 04 2022 09:52 AM.

Primarily researching Kunz Oil Company 1964-1990 including images of their KO, K, and Peoples Plus branding and stations.
Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Sierra Tango Golf #776843 Wed Apr 13 2022 11:20 AM
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I'm still looking for KO, K, and Peoples Plus ads, logos, photos, etc. Not easy to come by since there were so few of these stations in Minnesota in the 1980s.

The black & white image I've attached to this post is the Kunz Oil Company logo for their K stations. I found it on the United States Patents and Trademarks Office site. The horizontal and vertical lines in the drawing are USPTO color coding.

The color image is my own work. I used Inkscape, a vector image editor and followed the color codes from the USPTO drawing.

Maybe seeing it in color will ring a bell or help you guys to keep it in the back of your mind during your travels.

kunz oil company - K station trademark.gifkunz oil company - K station trademark.png

Primarily researching Kunz Oil Company 1964-1990 including images of their KO, K, and Peoples Plus branding and stations.
Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Sierra Tango Golf #779513 Sun Jul 24 2022 09:24 AM
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Still hunting for K branding as seen in my profile avatar.

This Kunz Oil Company newspaper ad from 1984 shows a simplified version of their K logo and lists many of their K stations in the Twin Cities area.

Kunz Oil K stations Minneapolis.jpg

Primarily researching Kunz Oil Company 1964-1990 including images of their KO, K, and Peoples Plus branding and stations.
Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Sierra Tango Golf #779641 Thu Jul 28 2022 11:20 PM
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I don’t know the time frame of this one but I’ve never seen another

FEB1EFED-23E6-461D-A22A-8F930432AA08.jpeg
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Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Trevor #779654 Fri Jul 29 2022 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Trevor
I don’t know the time frame of this one but I’ve never seen another

That's a beauty. Do you own this? Just gorgeous.

I can't be sure of the date, but I'll take a stab at it.

That's harness oil for horse harnesses. Possibly pre-automobile era.

Kunz Oil Company began making oil for sawmills on Nicollet Island on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in 1888. This can shows the name KUNZ stylized as cut logs. I've never seen that before.

I've also never seen the fox crest.

The K imposed on the B brand I have seen before in very old sperm oil and grease cans. You'll see them in Google Images searches.

I think this is possibly pre-incorporation for Kunz which happened in 1905. It's just a guess. It could be a little more recent than that, but it looks very different than anything you see from the 1920s onward. I think the cut log lettering is telling.

Beautiful artwork on that can. If it's yours you might want to hold onto that one and have somebody more knowledgable look at it. I'm really just beginning to learn about this company.

Last edited by Sierra Tango Golf; Fri Jul 29 2022 03:44 PM.

Primarily researching Kunz Oil Company 1964-1990 including images of their KO, K, and Peoples Plus branding and stations.
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Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Sierra Tango Golf #779656 Fri Jul 29 2022 05:08 PM
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another example: .. ... cool

1aakunzcn.PNG

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Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Sierra Tango Golf #779657 Fri Jul 29 2022 05:38 PM
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It’s definitely a great can. Yes it’s mine, or was. I just sent it to a proper home in Minnesota. Doesn’t belong in Canada as much as I really like it, it belongs in a Kunz collection. I sent it off to a friend there that has a great Kunz collection and has never seen one before either. Some things belong in the right collection and I felt this was one of them. It was a win/win with no money exchanged

Re: Kunz Oil Co. > KO > K Stations > Peoples Plus
Trevor #779704 Sat Jul 30 2022 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Trevor
It’s definitely a great can. Yes it’s mine, or was. I just sent it to a proper home in Minnesota. Doesn’t belong in Canada as much as I really like it, it belongs in a Kunz collection. I sent it off to a friend there that has a great Kunz collection and has never seen one before either. Some things belong in the right collection and I felt this was one of them. It was a win/win with no money exchanged

That's great, Trevor. I'm glad to know the can has a loving home smile I wonder if you might turn your friend onto this thread. I'm hoping to see images of more recent Kunz branding. If he has a Kunz collection I wonder if he owns any examples of their KO, K, or Peoples Plus branding or would have ideas where to look?


Primarily researching Kunz Oil Company 1964-1990 including images of their KO, K, and Peoples Plus branding and stations.

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