One of Morenci’s oldest family-owned businesses was sold last week when Inergy Propane acquired Pennington Gas Service.
In addition to the headquarters in Morenci, Inergy bought Pennington operations in Coldwater, Coopersville, Fenton and Stockbridge, Mich., and in North Baltimore and Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Pennington delivers propane to nearly 15,000 customers and ranks among the top 35 retail propane companies in the United States.
In a news release issued last week by Inergy, the company’s president and CEO John Sherman said, “We have much respect for the way Mark Pennington and his family have grown Pennington Gas Service over many years. These transactions represent an attractive opportunity for Inergy to further strengthen its operations. We welcome the employees of both companies to the Inergy team.”
The purchase of Pennington marks Inergy’s 88th acquisition since its founding in 1996.
Parent company Inergy, L.P., with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., is described as one of the fastest growing master limited partnerships in the country. Inergy serves more than 700,000 retail customers from more than 300 customer service centers throughout the United States.
Inergy also operates a natural gas storage business; a supply logistics, transportation, and wholesale marketing business that serves independent dealers and multi-state marketers in the United States and Canada; and a solution-mining and salt production company.
Pennington’s propane business began in the early 1950s as one of the services provided by Clair and Theola Pennington at their small grocery store on Weston Road.
Their son, Richard, joined the business and eventually the delivery of propane pushed groceries by the wayside. A bulk propane plant was built on Weston Road and business grew.
All five of Richard’s sons eventually joined the business—Mark Pennington serving as president, along with Terry, Gary, Keith and Dean—and the customer base was extended with new plants in Michigan and Ohio.
When the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2003, the workforce numbered 45.
“The Pennington family has thoroughly enjoyed working together with our employees and our customers for many years,” Mark Pennington said, “but the time has come for Dean, Keith, Terry and me to step back and see what else we may want to get into.
“The folks at Inergy Propane have been great to work with in transition, and we are very pleased with the outcome for the owners, and with the opportunities created for our employees.”