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LPG Spotlight: Red Cap Propane

June 23, 2023 By    

In 1992, Kevin Core and his brother, James, founded Core Fuels, a derivative of their parents’ company, Core Petroleum. Based in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, the petroleum company has grown steadily and serves a variety of industries.

Due to that consistent growth, they, alongside their senior managers, Steve Culliton and Scott Skinner, entered the propane business – a decision that Kevin Core considers “a natural fit,” as it helped them complete their energy offerings. Focusing on agriculture and residential propane in particular, the quartet created Red Cap Propane in 2004.

Much like Core Fuels, Red Cap Propane has grown every year that it’s been in business.

“Each of the companies benefit from the other, as they share staff, equipment and resources,” Kevin Core, the president, says. “Core Fuels is busy in the spring and fall, while Red Cap Propane tends to be busier in the winter.”

The 60,000-gallon bulk tank has improved the efficiency and reliability of propane deliveries. Photo courtesy of Red Cap Propane Ltd.

The 60,000-gallon bulk tank has improved the efficiency and reliability of propane deliveries. Photo courtesy of Red Cap Propane Ltd.

As a result of Red Cap Propane’s growth, the quartet decided to install a 60,000-gallon underground propane tank – Ontario’s first – adjacent to its headquarters in Stratford. The retailer’s 30,000-gallon tank at its Alma, Ontario, location was maxed out, and other options presented logistical difficulties. Plus, it wanted to address supply chain disruptions and reduce its truck mileage.

Red Cap Propane installed the tank in May 2022 and placed it into operation a few months later. Buried 3 ft. below the surface, the tank was a challenging task. Everyone involved was “breaking new ground at almost every step,” Core says.

Despite the difficulty, project leaders remained focused on the positives.

First, with Red Cap Propane’s headquarters located in an industrial neighborhood, safety was the most critical aspect of the project. Second, by installing the tank underground, the retailer would save a substantial amount of real estate in an aesthetically pleasing way.

“An increase in storage has helped our entire operation. Logistically, it saves miles and provides more delivery hours for each truck,” Core says. “It also provides us peace of mind to know we have an inventory of products on hand to ride through shortages and poor road conditions.”

To complete the project, Red Cap Propane hired Alex Beatty, owner of Beatty Petroleum Consulting, to oversee all diligence and compliance issues. James Deboer, owner of James Deboer Contracting, was hired to install the tank and finish its loading bulk heads, piping and pumps. Finally, Matthew Hiltz, owner of Hiltz Propane Systems, sourced, delivered (from Marietta, Pennsylvania) and, alongside Deboer, installed the tank.

Dozens of professionals were involved with the project, including Red Cap Propane’s staff members.

“Sometimes propane retailers need to save space or they’re in close proximity to their neighbors. At other times, their local fire departments have had concerns about aboveground installations,” Core explains. “For these reasons, I’d recommend any propane retailer to install an underground propane tank.”

Company profile: Red Cap Propane

Year founded // 2004
Owners // James Core, Kevin Core, Steve Culliton and Scott Skinner
Headquarters // Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Vehicles // 9 bobtails, 4 cylinder trucks
Annual gallon sales // 4.5 million
Online // corefuels.ca

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