LUMBERTON — As his voice echoes in the nearly-empty room, Gregory Lane, the general manager of Lumber River Propane, talks about his new family business at 101 Warwick Mill Road that opened April 5.
“We will be a full-service dealer,” Lane said. “This room will have a full line of heaters, gas logs, tankless hot-water heaters, grills, and bulk storage propane tanks.”
Lane has been in the propane business for 17 years and was most recently the manager of M&J Gas Co., now owned by Amerigas Propane. He said owning the business will allow him flexibility when dealing with customers.
“Here, all of the decisions will be made locally and based on local demands,” Lane said. “I want to keep money here in Lumberton and the surrounding areas.”
Currently, the business employs four people, including Lane and his wife Melissa, and they hope to grow it from there.
With the use of two service trucks, Lumber River Propane is capable of delivering bulk-storage propane tanks to homes and businesses throughout the area. Lane is inviting the public to come in and set up accounts for servicing bulk-storage propane tanks.
“Once completed, we should have that account serviced in two to three days,” said Lane, who says the business will stress customer service. “If people have an issue, they can come talk to us. They don’t have to wait three to four days to have something handled. They will always have a name to put with a face.”
He said the business will offer discounts to law enforcement and senior citizens, as well as discounts for those whose a bill within five days of receiving it.
Lumber River Propane will also offer a running special on Wednesdays for customers to fill up one gas-grill propane tank and get a second filled for half the cost.
“Our mission is to keep our overhead down so that we can pass on the savings to the customer,” Lane said.
Although propane has been expensive recently because of the volatility of crude oil, Lane said it has many advantages. He said it is more convenient — it can still be used during a power outage and it heats efficiently.
The business will hold a grand opening May 4 starting at 8 a.m. and as part of the celebration will offer discounted cylinder fills and free hot dogs and drinks.
Lumber River Propane is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 910-536-1203.