During a recent celebration, Burl Williamson Jr. and his wife Connie showed appreciation for their employees wearing T-shirts saying “90 Years Strong.”
“We have 16 of the hardest working employees that you’ll find anywhere,” Connie said about B.J. Williamson Gas Inc.
For Connie, customers service is the heartbeat of the successful business in Sampson County. It was started in 1928 by Burl Williamson Sr. During that period he worked for Nelson Rockefeller at Standard Oil Company. Later, the business developed into Esso, which became Exxon.
Williamson Gas continues to diversify and grow. They once sold oil, but now retail propane accounts for the majority of the business. Less than 20 employees provide services to homes, industries and agriculture. Through a 24/7 call line, assistance is provided any day of the week.
Several subsidiaries are operated under B.J. Williamson. The branches include Williamson Gas and Williamson Greenhouses.
“We pride ourselves on customer service and customer relationships,” she said. “Everybody here is local. We love our employees and we love our customers. We feel that our customer relationships are very important to us.”
Connie expressed how that affection is shown through all of their employees.
“They are wonderful for service and Williamson Gas wants to continue the reputation that our business was built on,” she said.
The greenhouse business started in 1978 with Burl Williamson Jr. and using the innovation of growing containerized tobacco plants in a greenhouse environment, he sold greenhouses and brokered tobacco plants for his customers. The company no longer offers the service of plant sells, but assistance is provided to customers that need help with growing techniques. A list of subcontractors to build greenhouses for customers are available. Williamson also operates a plastics division which makes batten tape for the greenhouse, window clips, plastic moldings and tubing.
Williamson Gas is one of the few locations that sells Lannen Planters, which are made in Finland. The device is used for tobacco and vegetable farming.
To celebrate the 90th anniversary, B.J. Williamson Inc. developed a new logo to represent the company’s tobacco and greenhouse businesses. She expressed how it’s one way to show excitement about the future, while keeping the values and customer service the same.
“We want to grow enough to take care of our customers, but we don’t want to get so large that we lose the integrity of of being able to support our customers and meet their needs, ” she said. “Our goal is not to grow bigger. Our goal is to grow stronger.”
Williamson Gas pride itself on the slogan “Meeting our customers’ needs since 1928.”
“We have a very low turnover and we’re very fortunate to have some great people working with us,” she said.
The family business has always been community and church oriented. The Williamson family are rooted in the First Baptist Church. Connie and her husband attend Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church.
“We feel very strongly about supporting our church and our church is supportive of us,” she said.
Burl has served with many organizations as president. Some of them include the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Grape Growers Association, N.C. Propane Gas Association and the National Propane Gas Association. With pride, Connie said Burl is about helping people.
“We love Clinton and we love Sampson County,” she said. “I don’t want to live anywhere else and I know Burl wouldn’t want to either. We just think the people here are fabulous. There are some good people in this area.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.