Panco Petroleum Co.
Panco Petroleum Co. (Panco) has been in business for more than 100 years. The Panebianco family first established Super Fuel Corp. in 1907, which was originally an ice distribution company, In the 1920s, the business expanded into coal. The Panebianco family established Panco as a division of the fuel company in 1976. The business became independent in 1981, taking over territory in Rockland and Orange counties in New York, as well as Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties in New Jersey. In the early years, Panco provided exclusively petroleum, but has expanded over the years to offer propane and fuel oil to customers in the Tristate area.
In 2015, the family remains involved in the business. Nicholas Panebianco, a descendant of the company founder, serves as vice president. He and his brother both spent several years working in other industries, though Nicholas has been with Panco for 30 years. He and his family lead a team of 35 employees working out of five customer centers in New York.
Full service fuel fulfillment
Panco operates four oil storage facilitates and two 24-hour CardLock station within the service area. With a total storage capacity exceeding 3 million gallons, the business has fuel on hand for customers around the clock. The company also engages a large fleet of delivery trucks to make deliveries of fuel oil, gasoline, propane and lubricants to more than 6,000 residents and businesses day in and day out.
While traditional fuels remain the focus of the business, Nicholas and his team continue to add products and services to the company’s offerings. Most recently, Panco has started edging into the natural gas and electricity markets. “This is something very different for us,” he explains. “We are working with existing utilities as a common carrier. On top of that, we have started doing some in-house HVAC work. We hope to expand that area of the business over the next few years as well.”
Keeping it together
While business has been steady, Nicholas and his team have faced a unique set of challenges. When Hurricane Sandy touched down on the coast in late October 2012, Panco’s largest location was in the path of the storm. “We went through a tough couple of years,” Nicholas says. “During the hurricane, we were hauling fuel in the back of a pickup truck. It was three weeks before we could come back to our headquarters. We were able to continue service to all of our customers, which helped us pull through.”
The building was severely damaged and the company lost computers, credit cards and cell phones. In the immediate wake of the storm, the Panco crew frequently traveled as far as Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut, to retrieve supplies. The team has spent the last two years rebuilding and at the end of 2014, the location had regained 90 percent of previous capabilities. “We got our marine fuel dock back over the summer,” Nicholas notes. “We should be back to 100 percent by the summer of 2015. We are fortunate to have such a good bunch of people working with us who have helped us keep going and maintain important relationships with our customers.”
Relationships are the backbone of the business, which relies on partnerships with fuel companies and materials suppliers to operate efficiently. This network was integral to survival throughout the post-Sandy recovery and continues to play an important role in everyday functions of the business. Meanwhile, the economy is on a gradual slope of improvement and Nick is optimistic about the future of the business and the country.
Over the coming years, Nick and his team are focused on maintaining relationships and expanding the company’s network. “We see ourselves growing,” he says. “Our goal is to be more inquisitive, to communicate with our customers more to better serve their needs. We are considering acquisitions, but we have nothing set in stone just yet.” He gauges the company’s success partially by the numbers, but also by his team’s ability to evolve with the market. As the business grows, Panco Petroleum Co. will continue to break new ground, taking on new markets and adding additional services to increase value for customers.