In 1991, 21-year-old Shawn Bellwood had a plan. He would purchase a propane delivery truck and deliver to trailer parks for the summer, park the truck in October and continue with his job at the Fenelon Falls arena in the winter.
Charging $9.00 for a 20-lb refill, Shawn, along with brothers Andy and Jim (ages 14 and 9, respectively) would head out to deliver propane to their customers. Jim recalls that soon after they raised the price to $10.00 because carrying loonies around for change was awkward.
As Bellwood was hanging up the keys for the winter, a construction company working near Dorset called because they needed their 100-pounders refilled regularly over the winter. And that was what kickstarted Highlands Propane into a full-time business.
Still living at home, head office was Bellwood’s bedroom – with a computer desk, a separate phone line and answering machine. The business quickly expanded to include service and installations.
In 1994, Bellwood purchased the former Truck Stop on Hwy 35, and that’s when the business really took off. The fleet was expanded, staff increased, and in 2015 two 30,000 gallon tanks were installed to meet the demands of Highlands’ ever-growing customer base.
Technology was incorporated to provide a more efficient and timely delivery system to thousands of customers in Kawartha Lakes, from Huntsville and Haliburton County to Port Perry and Peterborough County, and beyond.
In 2020, Highlands opened a second location in downtown Fenelon Falls, providing more office space and a beautifully appointed showroom to display their offering of home appliances and fireplaces.
Early in 2021 Highlands Propane became a division of Superior Plus. Jim Bellwood explains, “It is still the same great staff, same great service. There is no change to our business model but we are now part of a buying group and a secure supply chain which spans North America.”
Exemplary customer service has been the hallmark of this company for 30 years, borne of a family long dedicated to community service and strong family values. Shawn Bellwood credits his late father, Roger, with giving him the prodding he needed to take a chance. “He told me ‘you’ll never know unless you try’”.
54 Colborne St., Fenelon Falls and 5077 Hwy 35 N, Fenelon Falls
705-887-1670 or 1-800-810-9289 www.highlandspropane.ca