Founded: 1932Generations: FourEmployees: 115MIDDLETOWN – For nearly 90 years, Schagrin Gas Company has been one of Delaware’s largest providers of heating fuel.
[caption id="attachment_205204" align="alignright" width="489"] Andrew Levinson | Photo by Luigi Ciuffetelli[/caption]
The company was founded by Harry Schagrin – the grandfather of current CEO and company Chairman E.B. “Rick” Levinson and great grandfather of current President Andrew Levinson – after he came across gas cooking stoves and decided to begin selling them. That venture quickly added the sale of propane, the gas fuel for the stoves, which became a fateful choice. Schagrin Gas grew across the decades and expanded into the Elkton, Maryland, area with the acquisition of a competing business.Family has been an integral part of Schagrin’s history, with the Levinsons joining the Schagrins through marriage starting with Milt Levinson. After finishing college, Milt Levinson joined the business, initially working in sales and helping to grow the company. Today, his son Andrew and daughter Jill Levinson-Shields lead the company.“Being a family-owned business allows us to give more personal service to our customers, because we live and breathe that idea of family all day, every day,” Andrew Levinson said, noting that focus extends to the company’s employees as well.The company grew significantly in the ‘80s and ‘90s after securing contracts and building relationships with new home builders in northern Delaware, Chester County, Pa.; and Cecil and Harford counties in Maryland. In the 2000s, Schagrin saw another expansion for services in Sussex County, as homebuilding exploded near coastal Delaware. The company has six locations, including in Middletown, Rehoboth Beach, Georgetown, Millsboro, West Grove, Pa.; and Elkton, Md.In the last three decades, Schagrin has also expanded its gas appliance sales, including branching out into heating and air conditioning systems. Andrew explained that as customers look to switch from heating oil or electric to gas, Schagrin can help facilitate their needs with a whole range of products.“It’s another way to further gear ourselves to our customer base,” he said.Although the COVID-19 pandemic hit all businesses, Andrew explained that Schagrin’s focus on the energy business coupled with a chilly spring and an uptick of people working from home and working on their homes led to an OK year for the company.“In 2021, we’re just hoping to get back to doing more growing again and just moving forward,” he added.Along with growing its business over the decades, Schagrin has also given back to its community, sponsoring a number of charitable organizations’ fundraising events in their service area, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation's annual Mud Run and the American Heart Association's Southern Delaware Heart Ball, among others.