Outdated computers, a fax machine and handwritten materials characterized G&S Gas Service Inc. when Raleigh Garrett joined his family’s propane business a few years ago.
Garrett, vice president of G&S Gas, entered the family business not long after it celebrated its 50th anniversary. While the central Georgia retailer performed quality service, its marketing and business methods seemed antiquated. Even in 2013, the retailer lacked a website and social media presence. Its primary way to advertise was through phone book advertisements.
“Growth probably wasn’t a strategy for us at that point,” Garrett says.
Garrett recognized that the company needed to modernize if it hoped to advance in the propane industry. He approached his father and G&S Gas owner, Larry Garrett, to share his vision to rebrand and embrace new marketing techniques.
“I told my dad that I didn’t think many people were looking through the phone books to find us,” Garrett says. “I then asked him what he does when he’s looking for a company to provide him a service. And he said, ‘I look at my iPhone.’”
G&S Gas launched a rebranding effort in 2015, and it invested in a graphic design company and web developer to create a unified look for the company. Through their assistance, G&S Gas introduced a new logo, a website, a Facebook page and an Instagram account.
The company’s presence on social media has helped significantly in reaching out to new and existing customers. The retailer has encouraged its employees to post photos from in the field to its social media pages.
“We spend very little money running advertising or content on Facebook,” Garrett adds. “We can target the exact audience we want.”
The retailer’s updated branding, social media presence and its new showroom and office have spurred additional business, particularly in the homebuilder market. G&S Gas’ showroom now features a number of appliances such as generators and fireplaces, which attract homebuilders to consider the retailer’s business.
Garrett notes that homebuilding construction is rising in central Georgia, averaging between 30 to 40 new house permits per month. Most of the homes are also off the natural gas grid, making propane a practical option for the homes. The retailer has also made more connections with homebuilders at regional homebuilders association meetings and online.
Although G&S Gas’ rebranding efforts are mostly complete today, Garrett sees this as something to continue to maintain into the future.
“We are still embracing new technology more and more,” he adds. “We’ve got some service technicians using iPads in the field. But we still run manual copies of work orders. The goal is for us to be an all-digital company at some point.”
Founders: Raleigh and Ray Garrett, Tommy Simmons
Owners: Larry Garrett and Darryl Simmons
Headquarters: Milledgeville, Georgia
Customers: About 6,000