LPG Spotlight: Fair Propane

March 23, 2021 By    
Photo courtesy of Fair Propane

Fair Propane provides propane to about 30 counties in Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Fair Propane

It’s not often Mississippi freezes over.

The state typically only sees about a half-inch of snow once or twice an entire winter, says Johnny Fair, president of Mississippi-based Fair Propane.

Even a chance of snow is cause for school closures in the South, where the infrastructure is not in place to handle ice or snow. So, when Fair and his team heard the news that a snowstorm, now known as Winter Storm Uri, was on its way to the South in mid-February, they were “cautiously excited,” as he puts it.

However, as the storm drew nearer, it became apparent that the state may see more ice than snow. Fair says the state hadn’t had a major ice storm in about 10 years, and the second-most recent was about 20 years ago.

Fair Propane, which serves about 30 counties in Mississippi from four offices, heeded the warnings before the storm hit and went straight to work in order to prepare. Fair says the company’s pandemic protocols helped it keep up with routes proactively, easing a bit of the stress that the winter storm would normally bring.

“We worked real hard this year to stay really heavy on our routes and stay ahead everywhere we can because at any time a driver, multiple drivers or even an office could go down for COVID,” Fair says. “So, that actually really did help us.”

Nonetheless, the company began working long days, including all day on Saturday and Sunday, leading up to the storm to make all deliveries possible, prioritizing the customers with the lowest tank levels. In fact, the company fulfilled all of its routes for Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday by Sunday evening – when the storm began to hit the area.

On Sunday night, Fair Propane fueled its trucks and parked them to be ready when roads cleared. The trucks were parked from Sunday to Wednesday at two offices and Sunday through Thursday afternoon at its two other offices – the longest trucks have ever been parked since the company’s founding in 1934.

The storm knocked out power and/or water for much of Mississippi, including a Fair Propane office and several employees’ homes. Businesses and schools were closed for days. In some rural areas, power was out for up to two weeks.

Despite several employees lacking power at home, they were eager to help customers who were also impacted by the storm. Fair Propane’s offices, when they had power, were open and staffed for calls – even with the trucks grounded – to ensure customers were faring well.

“It is a time where you see what your company and what your people are made of, and we’re extremely proud of the team that we have,” Fair says.

By Friday, five days after the storm hit, just about all of the roads were safe to drive again, Fair says.

Fair encourages other retailers to “get ahead and stay ahead,” using routing systems to maximize efficiency so when crises occur, they’re already one step ahead. In addition to preparedness, Fair says it’s important to focus on community.

Now caught up on deliveries, Fair Propane can resume its role in the community, whether it’s sponsoring local events or wrapping its truck in pink to promote breast cancer awareness.

“We’re a family-owned business,” Fair says. “That’s important to us. We’re not only serving our customers but also our friends and neighbors and relatives and family. So, being involved [in] the community is always important to us.”

Company Profile: Fair Propane

Year founded // 1934
Founder // John S. Fair Sr.
Owner // John S. Fair Jr.
President // John S. Fair III (Johnny)
Headquarters // Louisville, Mississippi
Employees // 35
Bobtails // 13
Transports // 2

About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) was the managing editor at LP Gas magazine.

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