Forward

Corporation

 

Since it was founded in 1925, Forward Corporation has owned and operated many brands and businesses across Michigan. Today, we are a fifth-generation company that proudly employs over 1,000 people across four divisions spanning 24 counties. We pride ourselves in taking care of the people we work with every day. At Forward, you’re not just an employee, a customer, or a vendor: you’re part of the Forward Family. And our mission is to help everyone in that family enjoy today, be proud of yesterday, and look forward to tomorrow.

94 Years of Forward Momentum

1920 – 1940


1925, Austin G. Forward, along with a partner, purchased the “Welcome Garage” in Standish, Mich. Their wives opened a small restaurant in the corner of the garage, which consisted of two tables and eight stools. Soon, people heading north knew it as one of the best service stops. In succeeding years, Austin Forward purchased his partner’s share of the business and went on to develop a network of Shell Stations in Arenac, Iosco and Ogemaw Counties.

1940 – 1960


In 1955, Austin N. Buttrick and Benjamin G. Buttrick, grandsons of the founder, purchased Forward Oil Company. The new owners immediately launched an expansion program. Old stations were remodeled and ultramodern stations and food facilities were constructed. Diversification rocketed the company into retailing tires, motor oil, ice, and auto parts and included a home and farm fuel delivery division.

1960 – 1980


As the expressway moved north in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Forward Corporation moved quickly to join the expressway age. The company built the first service plazas in Standish, Alger and West Branch, offering travelers clean restrooms and the convenience of one-stop shopping for gasoline and food. Having paved the way, Forward was followed by McDonalds, Burger King, and all the other fast food marketers in West Branch. The development continued along I-75 into Grayling and Gaylord, and on US-10 in Midland and Sanford.

1980 – 2000


In In 1986, a Quality Inn Hotel was added to the property in West Branch. It featured a conference center, full-service restaurant, lounge, 24-hour coffee shop and convenience store. Further diversification came to Forward Corporation in 1987 with the merger of McTaggart Wholesale. They specialized in warehousing and delivery of sundry items such as inflatables, hats, toys, books and more. They also ventured into screen-printing and transfers for shirts, caps and jackets. In 1988, propane was added to the ever-growing list of products offered by the company. Later, in 1994, a Super 8 Motel was added to the West Plaza to pick up the overflow from the Quality Inn.

2000 – Today


In 2005, T.R. McTaggart purchased Kristin and Company Candles, adding soy candles to its tourism and resort offerings that already included screen printing and embroidery items. Since then, they have become a recognized name in the hand-crafted candle business with candles sold in more than 300 independent retailers across the country. Forward Corporation also expanded its reach towards the suburban Detroit area with the acquisition of 43 Subways in 2017 and now operates nearly 60 across 16 counties. In June of 2019, Forward Corp announced the acquisition of Reese-based Hirschman Propane, expanding its service territory across Bay, Midland, Saginaw, and Tuscola counties and bringing the total number of counties it serves to 23

Our Businesses

A History of excellence in Michigan

Forward Convenience Stores


Known primarily for its convenience stores, Forward Corp owns and operates 26 Shell and 3 Marathon convenience stores across Central and Northern Michigan and the Thumb.

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Subway Restaurants


One of the largest Subway franchisees in the state, Forward owns and operates nearly 60 Subways in 16 counties

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Forward Energy


A home energy supplier, Forward Energy offers propane, diesel, and fuel oil to homes, farms and businesses across 23 Michigan counties.

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T.R. McTAGGART


A full-service screen print/embroidery company located in Standish, Michigan primarily serving tourism destinations like resorts, souvenir shops, museums, and national parks. Kristin & Company Candles, a hand-crafted soy candle brand, is offered through T.R. McTaggart.

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Forward Conference Center and Hotels


The beautiful West Branch Quality Inn is home to 80 hotel rooms, while the Forward Conference Center can accommodate up to 250 guests and offers on-site catering. Forward Corporation also owns and operates two Super 8 Motels in West Branch and Houghton Lake.

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LumberJack Food & Spirits


A popular tourist stop, the LumberJack restaurant in West Branch takes you back to the days of logging yore with unique décor and delicious food with LumberJack-sized portions.

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Forward Convenience Stores


Known primarily for its convenience stores, Forward Corp owns and operates 26 Shell and 3 Marathon convenience stores across Central and Northern Michigan and The Thumb.

Visit Website

Subway Restaurants


One of the largest Subway franchisees in the state, Forward owns and operates nearly 60 Subways in 16 counties.

View Locations

Forward Energy


A home energy supplier, Forward Energy offers propane, diesel, and fuel oil to homes, farms and businesses across 23 Michigan counties.

Visit Website

T.R. McTAGGART


A full-service screen print/embroidery company located in Standish, Michigan primarily serving tourism destinations like resorts, souvenir shops, museums, and national parks. Kristin & Company Candles, a hand-crafted soy candle brand, is offered through T.R. McTaggart.

Visit Website

Forward Conference Center & Hotels


The beautiful Quality Inn and Forward Conference Center in West Branch can accommodate up to 250 guests and offers on-site catering. Forward Corporation also owns and operates two Super 8 Motels in West Branch and Houghton Lake.

Visit Website

LumberJack Food & Spirits


A popular tourist stop, the LumberJack restaurant in West Branch, Mich takes you back to the days of logging yore with unique décor and delicious food with LumberJack-sized portions.

Visit Website