Ron is a boy from a working-class family out of Beckemeyer, Ill. He paid his way to college building silos and bagging groceries as a high schooler (even though his guidance counselor told him he would never make it). After graduating from SEMO, Ron enlisted in the Marines. He worked his ass off again when he joined corporate world, though he decided to trade in his suit and tie for a pair of coveralls and buy a gas station on I-57. That was 1977, and that single gas station turned into 15 because Ron's philosophy was “friendly, fast, and clean.” Even though Ron worked harder than hard and hired the good ones, some of those gas stations didn’t sell so much gas. So Ron, Mitch, and Joe had a meeting. They decided that smoke shops should replace the stations that weren't pumping fuel.