As Kristy Richardson prepares to assume leadership as the CEO of the propane business founded by her parents, the second-generation business owner’s first priority is to continue the practices that made the company such a success in the first place.
Steve and Shelly Brown founded the business, Western Propane Service, in Santa Maria, Calif., in 1988. They, along with their children, Kristy (Brown) Richardson and Mike Brown, who were respectively 11 and 8 years old at the time, had picked up and relocated from Gilroy, Calif. They had a business plan to start a locally owned and operated propane company with the philosophy of providing customers with fair prices and excellent customer service. In the beginning, Steve was setting tanks, delivering propane, and selling door to door, and Shelly was taking care of the general office duties in a spare bedroom they called their home office.