Shared Insights: Guy’s Oil feels community support in tough time
Shared Insights is a new feature in the Voice, where we reach out to successful businesses and organizations to ask them about navigating change. Leaders that faced a shift, adopted a new model, or embarked on a new venture share some lessons learned from their experiences. We hope you enjoy getting to know your fellow members better while gleaning some insights that may help you take on your own challenges and opportunities.
He’s a Niantic George Bailey.
Along with his family, Dick Gada of Guy’s Oil is always generous, always giving back. Whether it’s setting up hot chocolate on the Green for the Holiday Stroll or donating to the police, fire departments or one of the many school or sporting events, the Gada family is there. A member of Niantic Rotary since 1984, a former member of East Lyme’s Economic Development Commission, and many roles in other organizations, Dick Gada has given decades of service.
And just like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the town rallied in a time of need. A May 5 fire at Guy’s Oil destroyed three garages, six oil trucks and damaged the office. The next morning, community members showed up to help with the cleanup and others showed up with trays of food to feed the helpers.
“It’s been overwhelming the number of SHARED INSIGHTS people who have called or stopped by to see me,” said Gada, with the outpouring of support continuing weeks after the fire.
Experiencing this kind of return on his investment of time and care for others was never the motivation for his heartfelt and natural generosity, but it does reflect the tremendous value of being involved and building relationships in the community.
Guy’s Oil has been a family-owned business since 1939, when Dick’s father started delivering heating oil. In 1946, he added the gas station. As a seasonal business, it was a wise business decision to diversify to ensure year-round revenues, but the primary reason was staff retention.
“When he had good drivers, he didn’t want to lay them off and potentially lose them in the fall,” Dick explains. Guy’s Oil continues to retain great staff, many working 20 years, or many more, at the West Main Street location.
The diversification of the business continued to include auto repair, towing services and used car sales. “It fills you in all yearlong. When one portion of the business has a slow time, the other one keeps you going.”
Keeping up with an 80-year tradition over four generations, Guy’s Oil provides strong customer service that builds lasting relationships with customers. Even the day after the fire, scheduled oil deliveries went out on time Monday morning at 6:30 a.m.