By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Terry and Ann Voigt of Lester Prairie have found a way to make propane use safer and more convenient it’s called Home Run Propane.
Their new business (on the corner of Highway 7 and McLeod County Road 9 north of Lester Prairie) offers propane tank delivery and exchange service to consumers and restaurants in a 10-county area.
“Delivery is free,” Ann said, explaining that people can purchase directly on their website or by phone, at 800-959-2124.
Propane tanks ranging from 5 to 100 pounds are available, perfect for grills, patio heaters, fish houses, camping equipment, and mosquito traps.
Home Run Propane also offers “express delivery” and “hassle-free service,” which includes installing the new tank right on the homeowner’s grill.
“I want to help my customers have a hassle-free grilling experience, by never running out of propane, or having to worry about hauling around cylinders, when their time is better spent doing something else,” Terry noted.
Home Run Propane was created out of the Voigt family’s own backyard barbecue experience.
“We like to eat, we like to cook, and we like recipes,” Terry said. “This was kind of a niche.”
“We grill four days a week, minimum,” Ann added. “In the winter, we’re shoveling snow so we can pull the grill out.”
The Voigts have always wanted to start their own business, and spent considerable time researching various possibilities.
“Nobody else really does home deliveries for propane in the Midwest, but it’s huge on the East Coast, and it’s becoming more common on the West Coast, too,” Terry said.
Terry, who spent many years as an independent process engineer for the dairy industry, remembers seeing a propane home-delivery business across the street from one of his projects in Pennsylvania.
“It was the same company we had seen online. I called Ann right away and said, ‘I think this is a sign,’” Terry laughed.
About six months ago, the Voigts began seriously planning their new business getting delivery trucks, receiving propane safety training, securing a building, lining up vendors, putting together a marketing campaign, and working with the Small Business Development Center in St. Cloud.
“This is kind of a project for us,” Ann said, explaining that it’s fun to have something to do in the evenings, now that their children are grown up.
Their oldest son, Preston, serves on the Lester Prairie Police Department; and their 23-year-old son, Jordan, lives in Norwood Young America.
Preston and Jordan are both involved in the family business, and the Voigts also plan to hire a few people in the near future.
Although Home Run Propane’s first official day wasn’t until July 23, the company introduced itself at the Prairie Days parade two days earlier.
“We grilled pork, and served sandwiches to the police department that night,” Ann said.
The Voigts have found grilling to be a fun, fast way to make a meal outdoors.
“I’m all for no dishes,” Ann said.
“We also think it’s healthier and tastes better,” Terry added.
In addition to a variety of meats, the Voigts enjoy grilling vegetables, pasta dishes, and banana s’mores.
“You just substitute the marshmallow for a banana,” Terry said. “It is absolutely outstanding.”
Although Home Run Propane focuses on free home delivery, people can also come directly to the facility at 1842 Highway 7 in Lester Prairie Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
According to the company website, having Home Run Propane deliver propane right to the homeowner is affordable, costing about the same as a normal propane tank exchange, without the hassle and safety concerns of having to drive to the local gas station or hardware store to exchange the tank.
See Home Run Propane’s Facebook page for coupons and additional information.