When William E. Palmer opened a general store and post office in North Salem, New Hampshire, in the early 1900s, he was likely unaware of just how far his roots would grow.
That business laid the foundation of what is now Palmer Gas & Oil, which opened in 1932 when William’s son-in-law, Charles A. Ermer, founded a kerosene and oil business.
Today, Palmer Gas & Oil is in its fourth generation of full-time family employees and provides commercial and residential fuel, including propane, to customers throughout New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts and southern Maine.
Ninety years after its founding, the company has no plans of slowing its growth. Last year, Palmer Gas & Oil further expanded by installing a propane storage facility in Somersworth, New Hampshire. In addition to Somersworth, the company has fuel storage facilities in Atkinson and Raymond, New Hampshire, and a facility in North Hampton.
The new storage facility includes four 30,000-gallon bulk tanks and aims to provide more fuel security to its customer base. The installation process lasted about three years and was commemorated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October 2021.
According to Peter Iacobucci, general manager of Palmer Gas & Oil, the convenient location of the new facility allows employees to service customers more quickly and efficiently by creating one more supply point for drivers out on the road – an added bonus during a cold New England winter.
“We did some research, and we decided that Somersworth was the [best] location for a couple of reasons: easy access to on and off the highway [and] the fact that the majority of the growth that we’re experiencing out of the North Hampton office was in that area,” Iacobucci says. “It just made sense to start looking in that area for land.”
Perhaps most importantly, however, is the supply security the facility offers. The Somersworth facility opened just as the 2021-22 heating season unfolded, and the company says it didn’t experience the same issues as others with supplying fuel in the region during the winter.
“Starting out as a small independent and growing over the years, storage is key to success,” Iacobucci says. “At some point, there’s going to be infrastructure issues with getting fuel to New England; there have been over the years … If you don’t have the storage and something happens to the supply, you could be in trouble real fast.”
The company has more growth plans in the works as it looks to build a 16,000-sq.-ft. office and warehouse facility near its Somersworth storage plant, with hopes to break ground this summer and move into the facility in early 2023.
Despite Palmer Gas & Oil’s growth, it is not lost on Iacobucci that many of its current customers have been loyal for decades, and he sees those relationships as instrumental to the success of the company from its founding 90 years ago.
“We just recently had a 90th anniversary party, and we invited a number of customers that have been longtime customers,” he says. “Everyone said basically the same thing: that Palmer Gas has been there for them for a long time. We had customers there that have been buying fuel for over 50 years.”
Company Profile: Palmer Gas & Oil
Headquarters: Atkinson, New Hampshire
Founder: William E. Palmer
Owner: Bill Ermer