We make it easy for today's customers to check their tank levels, order gas, pay their bills, and review their usage history. All you need is a smartphone or a computer --- and an account with us.
Not many of our competitors offer these modern conveniences even though we've been around a lot longer than most of them. After all, we've been serving customers for over 80 years. But before you question the old adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, we suggest that you think of values like customer focus and "be better!" as old tricks that most dogs don't learn. Just scroll down this page on a trip down memory lane with us and see for yourself.....
Our grandfather Richard Varner looks pretty dapper in this 1930's era photo. There still were a lot of horses on the road back then, but the dramatic increase in car sales during the 1920s lead Richard's brother Robert to convert an old blacksmith shop in Pittsford, Michigan into a gas station. Richard and his wife Dorothy joined Robert in the business in 1940 and they took it over from him in 1947 and added home heating oil to the product portfolio. The building still stands and is part of a famiy business owned and operated by our uncle.
By the 1950s fuel oil deliveries were becoming an important part of the business, but not enough to build a bulk filling plant for the delivery trucks. In this picture from the 1950s Richard Varner fills a bulk delivery truck from a retail service pump. A slow and tedious process.
Route planning was pretty simple in those days. Auto-fill customers were tracked using 3x5 filing cards and customer usage was based mostly on a calendar system. Today's route planning is done with sophisticated software.
By the 1960s the family was beginning to grow. In this picture from early 1960 Jim and Dolores Caywood may have been planning the opening of a new retail gasoline business in Hudson, Michigan.
On the other hand, they may have been trying to figure out what life would be like later that year when Chris Caywood, one of the current co-owners and president of Caywood Propane, was born.
Hudson Gas & Tire was a core part of our family's business during the 1960s and 1970s. It also served as a customer service classroom for Chris and Mike Caywood, Caywood Propane's current co-owners, and their brother Mitch.
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. Even after the advent of self-service in the late 1970s some customers, including Bill Thompson, the long-time president of his own family business, Thompson Savings Bank, still expected us to fill his tank for him. We did.
This early 1980s bobtail is much smaller than the bobtails we use today. Today's bobtails feature digital meters and computer tablets that are in constant contact with our customer software. These features help us keep costs down and pass the savings on to you.
Family-owned businesses are a lot of work, but work is the last thing on our mind 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.
A lot has changed since the 1930s when our great-uncle opened a gas station on the site of a blacksmith shop, and our family has shifted the business to meet customer needs. We added propane to our home heating business in 1984, added propane tank leasing and maintenance in 1998, exited the petroleum and fuel-oil heating business in 2005, and tripled our delivery area in 2015 with the addition of our Albion and Coldwater Plants to complement our Hudson Plant.
We also moved customer service into the 21st century. Our customers can check their tank levels, order and pay for propane, look up their account history and much more using our website and smartphone apps. We make it easy.