We are thrilled to be celebrating our 75th Anniversary in 2021. 75 years in business – we are so proud of this accomplishment. As we look back at our company history full of success – we wanted to share some thoughts about the journey.
“As a part of the 3rd generation of my family involved in this business, it continues to be very fulfilling to watch our growth continue. We find in an environment surrounded by large companies, with call centers out of state, there is a desire to do business with locally owned operations. Franger Gas is striving to keep offering what our customers request: great propane delivery service at competitive price points. Call us – we answer the phone!”Jeff Franger, Vice President
75th Anniversary: A look at how it all began
In 1946, after serving his country in the United States Navy, Edward Franger started Franger Bottled Gas Company with relative John Foster. They began supplying our returning World War II veterans with propane appliances and fuel for their homes. As a result of the petroleum shortages of World War II, a market for appliances – especially appliances fueled by Propane– grew.
As soldiers returned home and started families, business grew rapidly. In 1950, Mr. Franger and Mr. Foster split the business – each focusing on their own area of interest. Mr. Franger aimed his efforts at delivering liquid propane to his customers while Mr. Foster wanted to concentrate on appliance sales and service. Mr. Franger purchased land on the Old Ft. Wayne Road (now County Road 10) and built the Elkhart, Ind. plant, with the company being renamed Franger Gas.
The propane industry grows, and Franger Gas grows with it
Not long after this, Franger Gas opened a plant in Plymouth, Ind. and another in Akron, Ind. With all this growth, an opportunity to enter the wholesale propane business emerged. We acquired one of the largest propane hauling tanker trucks in the state of Indiana. We then began marketing to other propane retailers. Bottled gas became Bulk gas, with the demand for residential 500 gallon and 1000 gallon tanks growing as propane furnaces and water heaters became very popular. Also, farming found uses for propane, irrigating crops in Spring and drying grain during the fall harvest. When fork lift trucks began running on propane in the 1950s, Franger Gas became a major supplier to businesses in Elkhart County.
Franger Gas’s business footprint had grown enough that we were now able to buy direct from major oil company refineries in Chicago, Ill. and Toledo, Ohio. Additional transport trucking was acquired to accommodate an increase in sales to other propane marketers in the Indiana, Southwest Michigan and Western Ohio regions. Franger Gas sold off all transport trucks in the 1980s but remained in the wholesale business and saw continued growth.
With retail growth continuing, Franger Gas purchased land in Jones, Michigan in the 1970s and built a new bulk plant to service customers in the Union, Vandalia, Cassopolis and Three Rivers areas. Our newest addition arrived in 2016 when AllPro Gas, based in Goshen, Ind., merged with Franger Gas.
The Mentone Propane Rail Terminal
In the fall and winter of 2013 and 2014, there was a significant disruption in propane supply regionally. A large grain-drying demand and very cold weather depleted supplies. The result left many terminals in the Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois region with little to no gas for long periods of time. As Spring arrived, the pipeline-fed terminal in Milford, Indiana announced that it would no longer supply propane. To help meet the need in our region, Franger Gas partnered with a trusted supplier and built the rail-supplied Mentone Propane Rail Terminal. While not having the capacity of the Milford terminal, the Mentone terminal has become one of the most efficient options in the region. Low loading times and zero detention time has made the rail terminal very popular with transportation companies looking to get fuel loaded and back on the road quickly.
Large enough to serve, Small enough to care
Franger Gas has come a long way in our 75 year journey! We have built multiple plants, brought a rail terminal to the region, and entered many new markets. We have continued to invest in growth to serve more and more customers. Integrating new technologies has made us more effective for our customers’ needs. We continue to evaluate all aspects of our business and finding solutions to serve you – our residential, commercial and wholesale customers. And every step of the way, we remain focused on living out our motto: “Large Enough to Serve, Small Enough to Care!”
Thank you for being part of our journey. We’re excited as we continue towards another 75 years!