In 1947 Robert Harris, Sr. leased a gas station on East Main Street in Orange, Massachusetts. He bought a delivery truck and started peddling home heating oil. If a customer had a service problem or ran out of oil at night, a phone call would get him out of bed. He worked at building the trust of customers by emphasizing personal attention to each one of them. In 1956, our business moved to its current location in New Salem, Massachusetts.
In 1957, while still attending High School at New Salem Academy, Robert Sr.’s son, Robert, Jr. joined his father in the business. He would often drive an oil truck to school and peddle oil when he was dismissed. Robert (Bob) Jr. told his father the company could save money if they hauled their own oil, instead of hiring it out. Upon graduation, Bob, Jr. proceeded to attain his Class A tractor trailer license and CDL with hazmat endorsement. The company then purchased a tractor trailer truck and an oil tanker trailer. Bob. Jr. worked during the day doing deliveries and began hauling oil at night. He was also instrumental in starting a service department. He went to school to attain his Oil Burner and Pipe Fitters™ licenses. The business then started servicing customer heating systems. He managed delivery dispatch and service. In 1983, Bob, Jr. took over the business along with his wife, Pamela who helped manage the office and customer service.
In 1979, Robert Harris, III, son of Robert, Jr., began working part time in the summer, assisting with tune-ups, repairs and installations of heating systems. Upon graduating Mahar Regional High School in 1982, he joined the company full time. He attained his burner license and eventually his air conditioning license. This allowed the business to expand into installing and servicing air conditioning systems. Robert, III became Service Manager in 2010 and began promoting heat pumps/mini-splits. Today, Orange Oil is one of the largest dealers of Mitsubishi heat pumps in Massachusetts.
Throughout high school and college, their daughter, Kirsten, worked part time in the office as well as assisted the guys doing service work. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration right after high school and worked full time for the business for about 1 year. She then worked for over 20 years in finance for an international company and obtained her M.B.A. during that time. She returned to Orange Oil in 2015 as the Business Manager. She obtained her CDL with hazmat and delivers oil as well. She oversees the office as well as manages dispatch and delivery.