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LPG Spotlight: Newport Propane

October 12, 2020 By    
Newport Propane Photo by Sara Ferguson/This Old House

Newport Propane’s Peter Sherman Jr. illustrates the dynamics of an underground tank in a high water table area. Photo by Sara Ferguson/This Old House

It’s not every day you feel like a movie star.

Rhode Island-based Newport Propane received a glimpse into the filmmaking life when it was featured on “This Old House,” a long-standing home improvement television series.

The family-owned and -operated retailer serves the entire state and is on its fourth generation of employees, with Peter Sherman Jr. serving as president.

Sherman credits being on the show to a matter of luck. Newport Propane was contracted to install a tank at a home in Westerly, Rhode Island, in July 2019. The home happened to be the central focus of an episode of “This Old House,” titled “Tanks for the Propane,” which aired in November 2019.

As a result, Sherman not only received the opportunity to appear on the show but also gave the audience an inside look into Newport Propane’s work.

Sherman walked through the logistics of the tank, which was to be installed underground. He explained the science behind the installation, including the tank’s necessary 85:15 liquid-to-vapor ratio. He showcased the 17-pound magnesium bar used as an anode, which prevents the tank from being damaged by electrical currents. He also showed how an underground tank would be anchored down in high water table areas.

Appearing on television may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime event, but not for Newport Propane. Sherman says the retailer was invited back to film for an additional episode in September 2020.

“They’re a great group of people,” Sherman says about the crew of “This Old House.” “They were genuinely interested in everything we were doing, whether it be on camera or off camera.”

According to Sherman, the entire process cultivated a large amount of support from the community, and several individuals rallied behind the retailer.

“I even had one building inspector ask for my autograph,” he adds with a laugh.

Photos by Sara Ferguson/This Old House

Newport Propane installs an underground tank during an episode of “This Old House.” Photo by Sara Ferguson/This Old House

In addition to its involvement on the show, Newport Propane is actively involved in the neighborhoods it serves. It engages with customers both virtually on social media and hands-on via local events and philanthropic endeavors.

The retailer supports a variety of charities, including the Special Olympics, Children’s Wishes and scholarship funds. It also supports local youth and high school sports programs, veteran organizations and 4-H, an organization aimed to empower young people with mentorship, projects and leadership.

Sherman says Newport Propane’s investment into the areas it serves is appreciated by customers and is returned with loyalty.

“We have several customers that have said they would never switch to any other companies because they see what we do in the community, and it means an awful lot for them,” he says.

Community engagement is a major priority of the retailer, and Sherman believes such investment should be expected from any business.

“We think it’s important to be a part of the community, and that’s what led to the success that we’ve had over the years,” he says. “We’re kind of old school. We believe in the golden rule and treating people the way you would want to be treated. Using that simple principle, we’ve grown slowly and steadily over the years.”


NEWPORT PROPANE

Year founded // 1959
Founder // Alton Sherman
Owners // Peter Sherman Sr. and Peter Sherman Jr.
Headquarters // Middletown, Rhode Island
Employees // 16
Bobtails // 8

About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

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