Our grandparents, Richard and Dorothy Varner, started Pittsford Oil Co. in the 1940s when they purchased a gas station and fuel delivery business started by Richard’s brother in the 1930s on the site of an old blacksmith shop. The building still stands and is part of a family business owned and operated by our uncle.
Filling delivery trucks was no easy task in the 1950s. Richard Varner filled his delivery trucks from his retail pumps.
“Family-Owned Businesses Since 1939”
- 1930s: Robert Varner begins operating a gas station and fuel business on the site of an old blacksmith shop in Pittsford, Michigan.
- 1940s: Richard and Dorothy Varner take over Robert’s business and start Pittsford Oil Co.
- 1960s: Jim and Dolores Caywood start Hudson Gas & Tire.
- 1980s: Jim and Dolores Caywood purchase a gasoline and oil distributorship in Hudson, Michigan and merge it with the Pittsford Oil Co.’s distribution business.
- 1984: Jim and Dolores start what is now known as Caywood Propane Gas, Inc. as customer conversions from home heating oil to propane accelerate.
- 1997: Chris and Mike Caywood become owners of Caywood Propane Gas, Inc. and the family oil and gas distribution business.
- 2005: Chris and Mike Caywood exit the oil and gas distribution business to focus on Caywood Propane Gas, Inc.
- 2015: Caywood Propane Gas, Inc. triples geographic reach with the addition of plants in Albion, Michigan and Coldwater, Michigan.
Jim and Dolores Caywood owned and operated businesses in southern Michigan for over fifty years, including Richard and Dorothy Varner’s fuel oil and gasoline distributorship and what is now known as Caywood Propane Gas, Inc.
One of our first jobs was pumping gas for mom and dad beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s. We were expected to run from the building to the customer’s car, and purchases for more than $2.00 got you an oil check, tire check and clean windshields and windows. Times sure have changed.
Jim Caywood liked to do a lot of his own maintenance work. DOT regulations, environmental disposal rules and sophisticated equipment have largely eliminated the ability to do internal maintenance.
Family-owned businesses are a lot of work, but work is the last thing on our minds in this picture taken in the late 1980s before knee, achilles heel, hand injuries and other middle-aged ailments caught up with us in addition to the loss of our dad. Pictured left to right are Jim Caywood, Mike Caywood, Chris Caywood and Mitch Caywood.
Chris and Mike Caywood today. A lot has changed since the 1930s when our family got its start in the energy and home-heating business. What remains unchanged is our dedication to delivering reliability, transparency and value to our customers. Experience the difference.
One of our first bobtails from the 1980s. Our bobtails now are much larger and use state of the art technology.
We exited our gasoline and fuel oil distributorship in 2005 to focus on propane. Pictured here is our transport truck in the late 1990s.