Siouxland Propane keeps lawn business, sells rest

Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:00 am

Siouxland Propane.psd

by Steve Peterson

Siouxland Propane Inc., with offices in Ireton and Akron, has sold its propane, heating and cooling business operation to STAR Energy of Manson.

Siouxland Propane Inc. owners Scott and Greg Vreeman announced the sale of those divisions at a press conference Monday. The sale was effective as of Dec. 1.

The lawn equipment, propane and heating and air conditioning services actually give the business three businesses in one, said Scott.

“(The sale) started five years ago but got serious again when Greg announced at our annual meeting he would like to slow down,” said Scott. “Greg and I have no boys to pass the business onto. Is this the best time, or five years from now, no one will ever know.”

Greg and Scott Vreeman have been with the company for 40 and 30 years, respectively. Their dad, Bud Vreeman, founded the Ireton company 50 years ago.

“Over the years we have had very little employee turnover, said Scott, “The reason for it is dad hired some of these people 30 years ago, and they are still working here. We realize employees is what will make the business successful.”

“All our employees have been hand-picked, we never advertised for employees and we picked STAR,” said Scott.

“Siouxland Propane will still be a viable company located in the same location in Ireton as before and now be concentrating on the full John Deere and Country Clipper line of lawn care equipment and the Echo brand hand-held equipment,” said Scott, adding the lawn care staff of Siouxland Propane, whose name will eventually be changed, will be eight.

Greg said he will miss the relationships built along the routes and the “fun times” of servicing people through snowstorms and other challenges.

“One lady gave us a candy bar and a Pepsi every time we came,” he said.

“In looking at STAR we did our research,” said Greg. “We looked at the companies they have acquired in the past and how their employees and customers have been taken care of. The employees and the customers are the top two concerns.”

We give a lot of thanks for the relationships we have built with our supplier, and our customers, said Scott, and with this transition we want it to be as transparent as possible.

“Things we liked about STAR are they will have more to offer in terms of options,” said Greg.

“They will be offering refined fuels, offering the employees attractive packages and a future with possible advancements in their employment,” said Scott. “This is the beginning for them. This company will be growing.”

Siouxland Propane officials said they have about 5,000 area propane customers and their contracts will be honored by STAR, or Safety Tops All Requirements.

“STAR Energy shares our values and commitment to serving customer needs,” said the Vreemans. “We are confident you will be pleased with their professionalism and reliability as your propane supplier.”

“STAR will operate all of the existing facilities: Akron, Centerville, S.D., and Ireton,” said STAR Energy General Manager Dave Brecher. “The message we want to send is we’re local. We’re going to employ all of those people in Siouxland and they’ll work for STAR Energy.”

“It is critical our customers understand we have local presence,” he said. “We have a geographic area that we serve. We’re in Spirit Lake, Ocheyedan, Hartley, and our area has been west of Interstate Highway 35 and north of Interstate 80.”

“We will serve a new area of Northwest Iowa and Southeast South Dakota. said Brecher.

“The message we want to send to our customers is it is the same people,” said Brecher. “It’s the same service with more options. The Akron office will operate as it has under Siouxland Propane and have the same personnel.”

Customers can place their propane orders with STAR Energy’s toll-free phone number, 888-437-3835.

According to the company’s website, STAR Energy was formed on Oct. 1, 2000. The energy assets from FS Energy, Midstates Energy and Twin Lakes Energy were merged into one to form STAR Energy. STAR is centrally located and maintains a professional, customer-service focused staff to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of their customers.

FS Energy was formed in April 1996 as a result of the sale of petroleum businesses of Cal-Car Service Company of Rockwell City, Farm Service Company of Storm Lake, and NW Farm Service Company of Le Mars. C-D Farm Service of Spencer, Iowa merged with FS Energy in 1999.

Midstates Energy was formed in 1987 as a result of a petroleum partnership between Consolidated

Cooperative of Gowrie and Farmers Cooperative of Farnhamville. Consolidated Energy was the managing partner. In 1993 this partnership was dissolved, Consolidated Energy received the petroleum assets from Farmers Cooperative. Consolidated Energy continued to use the Midstates Energy name for marketing purposes. In May 1995 Consolidated merged into West Central Cooperative of Ralston.

Twin Lakes Energy was formed in 1992 by NEW Cooperative as the result of a consolidation of Farmers Cooperative of Pomeroy. The energy business remained after the consolidation.

STAR Energy became a wholly-owned subsidiary of GROWMARK Inc. in July 2007. The unification of these cooperatives allowed for a marketing focus concentrated on the energy needs of our customers.

STAR Energy provided the means to significantly improve product distribution and overall efficiencies that each organization could not duplicate individually.

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