Storefront Stories – Yates Island Gas, Inc.
Storefront Stories is presented by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. We are featuring various island business in hopes to promote how our local entrepreneurs are adapting to this new environment and promoting the amazing things they are doing for our island community. We will be introducing different businesses to show how they have chosen to pivot, their recent experiences, personal growth, and any tips or advice they have learned over the last 6 months.
Yates Island Gas
is a Silver level Signature Sponsor with the Chamber of Commerce and the leading provider for propane gas to the island of Nantucket. In addition to dependable residential and commercial propane delivery, they boast the most responsive and talented service department to handle your preventative and emergency service needs 24-7.
Their pursuit is to provide their customers with exceptional service. Yates Island Gas is the go-to propane provider serving businesses, seasonal residences, and the Nantucket year-round community.
The Nantucket Chamber spoke with David McDougal of Yates Island Gas, Inc.
1. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced during the time of Covid-19 both personally and professionally?
The biggest challenge for me has been the same thing that I think has affected all of us - the disruption of normalcy.
Like everyone I have family and friends who have had to cancel weddings, are unable to celebrate birthdays with friends, or couldn’t attend graduation ceremonies. My wife Laura is pregnant with our first child, and not being able to be in any of the doctor’s appointments with her has been hard but we’re thankful for smartphone videos and Facetime.
Professionally, setting aside projects that were in motion to focus on operating during the crisis has been challenging, but in the context of the greater crisis – my challenges are manageable compared to the challenges facing other businesses and industries.
2. What are some ways you and your business have adjusted to this ‘new normal’?
The speed at which our businesses have been able to adjust to the new normal is a testament to the adaptability of our staff and managers and the flexibility of the community.
Very quickly in the weeks leading up to executive order closing businesses, our company leadership gave us the resources we needed to adapt to the new restrictions. Staff who weren’t already in the field or in position to work alone were setup to work remotely and we adopted new technology to make up for the inability to meet as groups or work side by side.
It was awesome how quickly everyone adapted to the new changes but even more awesome was how helpful and understanding our customers and community have been in adjusting to the reduced level of service we are able to provide them safely.
Most of the services we offer were already available over the phone, but a lot of it was still done face to face. It was really encouraging how the community adapted.
3. How has COVID-19 made you a better business person or store owner?
The challenges brought on by Covid-19 have really highlighting the importance of clear and timely communication and if I’ve learned anything from this challenge it’s that there is no harm in over-communicating. From talking openly and honestly about the hardships and limitations of employment with management and staff, to explaining restrictions and limitations on services with customers and the community – communication is the glue that holds an organization together.
4. What are some helpful tips and insight that you might give another leader of a business?
I am not one to give advice, but I there is one concept we could all take away from the current situation - don’t fear change.
Change is inevitable, and necessary and whether it happens quickly or slowly organizations need to change and evolve stay relevant.
It has been encouraging and inspiring to watch Nantucket businesses adapt to the guidelines for reopening and in some cases evolve their business model completely to take advantage of the situation.
5. What is your favorite positive outcome of COVID-19?
While the current crisis has physically forced people apart, in a lot of ways it has brought the community together.
Personally, my wife and I now have regular video conferences with family and friends that we may not have had otherwise. Professionally, I am closer to coworkers as concerns about personal health and wellbeing have entered the conversation.
Restrictions have also created deeper relationships with customers, contractors, and vendors as almost every interaction is proceeded by establishing what we can and cannot do for each other and how we might be of help to each other.
The crisis has definitely brought the community of Nantucket closer together by highlighting just how interdependent the people, businesses, and local government really are. By now it feels cli·ché to say it – but we really are all in it together.
"The local companies of Yates Island Gas, Harbor Fuel, and Airport Gas have been owned and operated by the same group for a number of years now. Just in the last two years, in an effort to simplify and improve the customer experience and to upgrade the level of service we offer to the community, we’ve been working to merge the companies into one – Island Energy Services. The merger coincides with the completion of a new and long awaited facility out of town at 11 Industry Rd that will allow for the eventual evacuation of the downtown tank farm. I’m personally excited about the merger because it allows us to continue to improve and build upon the reputations that Harbor Fuel and Yates Island Gas have been built since 1964 and 1973 one of fairness, friendliness, and most importantly – dependability."
Thank you Yates Island Gas for participating in our Storefront Stories Series! Learn more about Yates Island Gas here!