ARICHAT: It’s the end of an era in some respects but, if you ask Lisa Boudreau, the outgoing managing director of Boudreau’s Fuels, the torch has been passed to very capable hands.
“I don’t think we could have found a better match for the sale of our company,” Boudreau told The Reporter on January 2, just after announcing she and her husband Brian were selling their family business to Sullivan Fuels.
“They are a family-owned business themselves, and they have a good track record of keeping the status-quo and that was really important to us,” she said.
“We didn’t want to sell to a multi-national and see the business close, the office close, and the employees amalgamated or dropped.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. It was like a marriage made in heaven.”
Boudreau’s Fuels has been supplying home heating oil to families all across Richmond County and the rest of Cape Breton for the past 22 years. In 2006, the company branded itself as Caper Gas and own 12 retail outlets across the island.
In 2014, Boudreau’s Fuels launched the “Fuel for Food” fundraising campaign in support of local food banks.
Sullivan Fuels has a similar history. The business dates back to 1957 when it was founded by Mike Sullivan. Since then, two additional generations of Sullivans have captained the ship: Alan and Mike (Sullivan’s sons) and Wade and Emily (Sullivan’s grandchildren).
Wade spoke to The Reporter last week, and he said his company has always had high regard for what Boudreau’s Fuels accomplished.
“We never really thought they’d be willing to sell until we asked the question,” he said. “We’re thrilled.”
This isn’t the first time Sullivan’s has taken over a similar business, but that doesn’t mean such a maneuver is easy. There will be a significant amount of work involved, he said.
“Each business has its own ins and outs, but you learn them and you see how you can make it work,” he said.
“We aren’t going to be changing a whole lot of things. We like to maintain the status-quo. We’ll use some of our trucks to assist the current drivers here, but for the most part things will be the same for Boudreau’s Fuels.”
The Boudreaus might be happy to have stuck a deal, but Lisa said stepping away from the business leaves them with a whole lot of mixed emotions.
“It’s like having raised a child from birth and then having to pass that child over,” she said. “I’m anxious and excited, sad, happy – all at once. We’ve made lots of friends over the years, made lots of great relationships.
“We still have other businesses that we’ll keep and grow.”
Lisa and Brian are also known for HomeGrown Rewards, a company with the sole objective of networking small locally-owned and operated retailers and providing them the sophistication necessary to offer value-added promotions to their customers. The company was registered and trademarked in 2010.