Crystal Flash Acquires Owen's Petroleum and Owens Propane

 

Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 19, 2014 – Crystal Flash™ announced today that it has acquired Owens Petroleum, Inc. and Owens Propane Service, Inc. in Albion.

 

The deal will add two new locations, including two Pacific Pride fuel stations, to the Grand Rapids-based energy distribution company. Owens brings approximately 400 new commercial fuel customers and 800 residential home heating customers in Michigan and Northern Indiana to Crystal Flash.

 

The acquisition is the seventh in the past two years for Crystal Flash, which now has more than 230 employees in 16 locations across Michigan. The Charter Group M&A Advisors served as the merger and acquisition advisor to Crystal Flash.

 

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings. Terms of the deal, which was finalized today, were not disclosed.

 

“We are very pleased to once again the expansion of our Michigan footprint with the addition of Owens Petroleum and Owens Propane,” said Crystal Flash President Tom Fehsenfeld. “Like Crystal Flash, the Owens companies are multi-generational family-owned businesses that take pride in delivering quality products and services, which make them an excellent fit".

 

“In addition to strengthening our customer base in Michigan, this acquisition allows us to move into Northern Indiana. We continue to evaluate opportunities for growth throughout the Midwest and look forward to additional acquisition announcements in the months ahead.”

 

Family owned and operated for nearly 50 years, the Owens companies provide petroleum, tank wagon deliveries and bulk oils to commercial customers, as well as propane and home fuel oil for residential customers. Owens also offers a full line of lubricants.

 

Headquartered at 408 N. Albion Street in Albion, the companies serve Michigan counties stretching from Lansing to the Indiana border, as well as the cities of Fowlerville and Angola, Ind.

 

Joe Owens launched the business as a Standard Oil agent in 1968, incorporating seven years later to become Owens-Raymond Oil Co. He changed the name to Owens Petroleum in the 1980s, running the company until he sold it to his daughter, Shelley Purucker, and her husband, Randy in 1994.

 

With the support of The Charter Group, Crystal Flash has also acquired the following Michigan companies since January 2012:

 

  • Drakes Fuel Service in Schoolcraft
  • Elliott Gas & Oil in Gladwin
  • Leelanau Propane in Northport
  • Heartland Propane in Hart
  • CA Murphy in Sturgis
  • C. Barron & Sons, Inc. in Monroe

 

 About Crystal Flash™

Crystal Flash™ is a third-generation family-owned energy distribution company focused on commercial and residential customers throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Established in 1932, Crystal Flash has grown as the demand for energy has evolved, and today concentrates on the sale and distribution of propane, diesel and other fuels. Today, the company is one of the largest independently owned energy suppliers in the state with more than 230 employees in 16 locations.

 

Crystal Flash Propane Fuels Fire Breathing Dragon at Art Prize

dragon2dragon1Crystal Flash is proud to donate the fuel behind Gon KiRin, a giant metal, fire-breathing dragon sitting just outside the B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids. This dragon has been quite popular and is now on ArtPrize’s Top 25 list! To learn more about this amazing 3D representation click here. To see her in action, click here. And don’t worry…she’s feeling much more powerful and fiery now that she’s fueled by CF!

If you have a chance to check out any of the artwork around GR, you will not be disappointed!

New to ArtPrize? Check out the official website (ArtPrize) to plan your visit, get information on all the artwork and artists, or to cast your vote. And in case you’re wondering, Gon KiRin is 54232 if you’d like to cast your vote for her.    

 

Growing Again: Crystal Flash Acquires C. Barron & Sons

Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 29, 2013 – In its largest acquisition to date, Crystal Flash™ announced that it has acquired C. Barron & Sons, Inc. in Monroe, Mich.

 

The deal will bring more than 2,000 new customers, 28 new employees and four new locations to the Grand Rapids-based energy distribution company. The transaction, which closed last week, is the sixth acquisition for Crystal Flash in the past 18 months and will allow the company to expand its product lines, customer base and geographic reach.

 

The acquisition is a direct result of a targeted growth strategy supported by The Charter Group, merger and acquisition advisor to Crystal Flash.

 

Family owned and operated for more than 60 years, Barron provides fuel transportation services to retail and commercial customers throughout Michigan and into Northern Ohio. Barron carries a full line of fuel products, lubricants and diesel exhaust fluids, or DEFs.

 

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

 

“We are delighted to welcome C. Barron & Sons to the Crystal Flash family,” said Crystal Flash President Tom Fehsenfeld. “Tom, Paul and Patty have done an exceptional job of growing the business that their family started in 1949. Their commitment to customers and strong focus on providing excellent service dovetails extremely well with our business philosophy.

 

“The addition of Barron not only strengthens our footprint in Michigan, it gives us an entrée into Northern Ohio and allows us to better serve several new areas in the Great Lakes states. We continue to look for opportunities to add new companies and to grow Crystal Flash.”

 

Headquartered at 87 Jerome St. in Monroe, Barron also has facilities in Ypsilanti and Toledo. A significant player in the Michigan/Ohio fuel market, Barron annually distributes 6 million gallons from its transports, 5 million gallons via its tanker fleet and 1.5 million gallons through seven Pacific Pride fuel locations. Additionally, the company hauls 40 million gallons for freight each year.

 

Barron distributes a wide variety of products, including:

  • Engine and hydraulic oils
  • Transmission fluids
  • Grease and gear lubricants
  • Anti-freeze
  • Industrial oils

 

Brothers Tom and Paul Barron, who have led the company, will move into senior consulting roles with Crystal Flash to ensure a smooth transition. Their sister, Patty Arnold, will retire from her role in human resources when the transition takes place.

 

“Barron is extremely pleased to join Crystal Flash,” said Paul Barron, president of Barron. “Over the past three generations, our family has worked to build a strong company committed to providing the best products and services to our customers. We are convinced that this tradition will continue under our new ownership, which was critical to me and my family.”

 

Since January of 2012, with the support of The Charter Group M&A advisors, Crystal Flash has also acquired the following Michigan companies:

  • Drakes Fuel Service in Schoolcraft
  • Elliott Gas & Oil in Gladwin
  • Leelanau Propane in Northport
  • Heartland Propane in Hart
  • CA Murphy in Sturgis

 

About Crystal Flash™

Crystal Flash™ is a third-generation family-owned energy distribution company focused on commercial and residential customers throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Established in 1932, Crystal Flash has grown as the demand for energy has evolved, and today concentrates on the sale and distribution of propane, diesel and other fuels. Today, the company is one of the largest independently owned energy suppliers in the state with more than 250 employees in 14 locations. For more information, visit us online at www.crystalflash.com.

 

Crystal Flash Secures First Three AutoGas Customers in Michigan

Energy Distributor Helps Municipalities, School Districts Save Money,

Improve the Environment by Switching to Propane

Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 3, 2013 – After joining Alliance AutoGas Network six months ago, Crystal Flash™ has secured its first three Michigan customers.

The Grand Rapids-based energy distribution company has been working with Flint Mass Transportation Authority, Charlotte Public Schools and Reed City Area Schools to supply their vans and buses with propane autogas, a fuel that is nearly as efficient and powerful as gasoline or diesel – but with virtually no tailpipe emissions.

The largest of these, Flint MTA will bring 60 new propane-powered regional vans into service on June 15 on its way to building a fleet of 92 within the next year. Reed City has purchased and put six new propane buses into service while Charlotte has replaced five of its old diesel buses with new propane vehicles.

All three operations agree that the new propane-powered vehicles provide a quieter ride, cost less to run and require less maintenance. They also get up to speed faster than their diesel counterparts and boast a faster take-off after stopping.

“We welcome Flint MTA, Charlotte and Reed City schools to the Alliance AutoGas family,” said Crystal Flash President Tom Fehsenfeld. “Autogas is a smart choice for many light-duty vehicles from both a financial and environmental perspective.

“We were gratified to help these three forward-thinking organizations make the switch to propane and look forward to securing even more converts to autogas – a cleaner and more affordable alternative fuel option.”

Unlike ethanol, biodiesel and other alternative fuels, propane autogas is cheaper to produce and easier to supply. Fleets that run on autogas currently save approximately $1.50 per gallon over those that utilize gasoline. It is also about 1/15 of the cost to build an autogas station than one compressed natural gas, or CNG, station.

That was critical in Flint MTA’s decision to make the switch, according to General Manager and CEO Edgar Benning. When the transport authority – which serves seniors, the disabled and other passengers in 640 square miles around Flint – began taking a hard look at cutting costs, it didn’t take long to settle on autogas as the best option among alternative fuel sources.

“Given the job losses and impact of the real estate bubble in our community, we had to find ways to reduce costs while doing the responsible thing for our environment,” Benning explained. “We looked at hydrogen, natural gas and other fuels, but they all had significant barriers to entry. With autogas, we had no special storage requirements and found it relatively easy to train the drivers on how to fuel the vehicles.

“Everything about the conversion was a win-win. Those who have had a chance to ride the new propane-powered vehicles we have in service think they are really exceptional – quieter, yet lots of pep that delivers an outstanding performance.”

Benning said that Flint MTA experimented with its first two propane vans in 2011 before jumping in in a big way this year. Its upcoming delivery of 60 new vans will allow it to replace most of its current fleet vehicles, which have anywhere from 350,000 to 700,000 miles on them.

Flint MTA also has funds and will begin to purchase 34 mid-sized buses, similar to those used by school districts. Combined, the two fleets should have 150-160 propane-powered vehicles by the spring of 2014 – giving Flint the largest propane fleet in the country.

The savings have already started to add up. From an environmental standpoint, Flint MTA has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent with its new vehicles. Benning estimates they will reduce fuel and maintenance expenses by $500,000 this year. As more vehicles come online, that will jump to $750,000 in 2014 and beyond.

While the numbers aren’t in for the Charlotte school year, Belinda Hoyle said the district is already saving on fuel and maintenance with the five new propane-fueled buses that are in operation. Charlotte Public Schools operates 16 routes that cover 124 square miles of territory south of Lansing, and Hoyle eventually wants to replace all of her diesel-burning buses with new propane models.

“The buses are quieter than my car,” said Hoyle, transportation supervisor for the district. “They require fewer oil changes and less replacement parts. While we are getting fewer miles to the gallon, the propane is cheap enough that it has made up the difference in the costs. We see the financial and environmental benefits to using cleaner-burning fuel.”

Hoyle encourages other districts to do their research and compare conversion and operating costs when considering a switch to propane. For Charlotte, the initial investment has been worth it – particularly since the district was able to secure a grant from the EPA to offset some of the costs.

Paul Lewis in Reed City agrees. His district, situated equidistant between Grand Rapids and Traverse City, purchased six new propane-powered buses this year to carry students on six of their 15 routes, which cover over 215 square miles.

The driving force behind that switch was the price, Lewis notes. While propane-fueled buses are a little more expensive upfront, the lower fuel and maintenance costs make them worthwhile over the long term.

“Crystal Flash has been a great partner,” noted Lewis, facilities and transportation director. “They put in a filling station with their equipment, so we didn’t have to buy our own. They resolved what few start-up problems we had, and our program is now up and running well.

“Everyone should take a serious look at making the transition. The savings are there – and you’re not polluting in the same way.”

About Crystal Flash™

Crystal Flash™ is a third-generation family-owned energy distribution company focused on commercial and residential customers throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Established in 1932, Crystal Flash has grown as the demand for energy has evolved, and today concentrates on the sale and distribution of propane, diesel and other fuels. Today, the company is one of the largest independently owned energy suppliers in the state with more than 250 employees in 11 locations. For more information, visit us online at www.crystalflash.com.

 About Alliance AutoGas

Alliance AutoGas enables fleet managers to use clean, economical, American-made autogas through vehicle conversions, on-site fueling and ongoing safety training and technical support. The Alliance AutoGas partner network of international propane marketers and conversion centers is experiencing tremendous growth, currently spanning 40 states, Washington D.C., and now the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba in Canada. For fleets interested in new propane autogas-powered vehicles, Alliance also provides OEM vehicles through partnerships with automotive experts at ROUSH CleanTech as part of the complete program. Learn more at www.allianceautogas.com.

 

Crystal Flash Adds CA Murphy, Expands Footprint in Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 2, 2013 – Crystal Flash™ announced today that it has acquired some of the assets of Sturgis-based CA Murphy, its fifth acquisition in the past 16 months.

The Grand Rapids-based energy distribution company will now be able to expand its service to residential and commercial customers in the Michigan-Indiana border area. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings.

 “We are very pleased to welcome CA Murphy to Crystal Flash,” said Crystal Flash President Tom Fehsenfeld. “As we look to strengthen our footprint in Michigan and expand further into the Great Lakes states, we will continue to pursue the path of acquisitions. Our company is financially strong and well positioned to grow.”

 Located at 1100 N. Clay Street, Sturgis, CA Murphy opened its doors in 1976 and delivers home heating fuel, as well as commercial and agricultural fuels. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

 “We are very pleased to join Crystal Flash,” said Kelly Murphy, president and CEO of CA Murphy. “For more than 30 years, we have worked diligently to establish a company focused on providing exceptional customer service. We are pleased that our reputation for excellence will continue under the Crystal Flash name.”

 Since January of 2012, Crystal Flash has also acquired:

  • Drakes Fuel Service in Schoolcraft
  • Elliott Gas & Oil in Gladwin
  • Leelanau Propane in Northport
  • Heartland Propane in Hart

 The Charter Group serves as the exclusive merger and acquisition advisor to Crystal Flash.

 

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