Local and family-owned for over 75 years
Bourne’s Energy is a local, family-owned, and operated fuel delivery business for 75 years and counting. Bourne’s has always supported our Vermont community in many ways including stewardship programs, event sponsorships, volunteering and donations, but Bourne’s is considered a leading-edge innovator when it comes to our environment and its future by forging the path with environmentally friendlier heating fuels and high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment that help reduce our carbon footprint.
As we celebrate our 75th Anniversary Peter Bourne has provided this brief look at the company through the years.
This year marks Bourne’s Energy’s 75th year in business and my 49th year with the company so I thought I’d share a little bit of the company history on how we got here and mention a few of the people who helped create this story.
My time started in 1972 working in the Bourne’s Oil world. At the time there were 2 other men in the field, Alan Hanford and Ernie Ferland. The oil trucks were snub nose Ford trucks that could turn on a dime for the tight driveways. There were 2 delivery trucks, and we were delivering heating oil and kerosene (the Kero was for the pot and wick burners that a lot of the older people had at the time). The lead service man was Wally Tillitson whom I trained under to get my Masters Plumbing license. Over the years a couple of my brothers worked with my parents as well, Marvin was on board until he retired. Gary was there for a couple of years and then found his calling in other aspects of the energy world. Over time Bob and Julie purchased the business of Izor Brothers in Waterbury which was eventually rolled into Bournes.
Over the years we handled Reading Coal which was brought in by the railroad and by truck. Trust me when I say that unloading a full railroad car of coal that was frozen is no longer on my bucket list! It was in the early 1990s that we started to expand our offerings. We had been doing plumbing for a number of years and consumers were burning wood, in many cases, as the primary home heating choice. As my brother Mike and I were trying to figure out the way forward, we figured that propane was the best option to have as a product our customers would use. This fortunately turned out to be a case of the right place, right time, with the right product.
It was in the mid-to-late 1990s that we recognized that fossil fuel as we all knew it needed to change. So we added Biofuel as a regular product. In the time since we started using bio, we have delivered over 1 MILLION gallons of bio in place of pure fossil fuel. And they’ve all been delivered without any changes to the customer’s conventional heating systems. In fact, we have a number of customers burning almost 100% bio (our B-99 product). This is something we’re really proud of, especially given the climate today. We still feel Bio is one of the easiest, most economical, and most important options to reduce carbon.
Around 2010 we started to offer wood pellets. This is yet another carbon neutral product that we are delivering in all our service areas (and even southern VT), in both bagged and bulk delivery. It’s led us to offer bulk pellet bins and a full product line to assist homeowners and businesses that want to burn wood pellets.
Throughout all of this, there have been many challenges to weather including the 70’s fuel crisis, the 2008 recession, blizzards, floods, and most recently COVID and the crisis in Ukraine. Our people and our commitment to the communities we serve have motivated us to push through them all.
Today we have my son Levi who was recently appointed as the President of Bourne’s Energy, and Mike’s daughter Abby working in accounting. The next generation is firmly in place and starting to lead which is an awesome sight for both Mike and me! I should also mention that our mother Julie is still going strong, and, to everyone’s delight still supplies the occasional batches of chocolate chip cookies.
With the efforts of the entire Bourne’s Energy team, we’ll continue to offer the products that will help keep you, our customers, safe and warm, with minimal impact on our environment for another 75 years and beyond.
Thank you all for your faith, trust (and at times patience),
A Timeline of Key Events During Our First 75 Years in Business