Ahh, the summertime. It's in full swing. With no school schedules to maintain, life is carefree and kicked back.
It's days spent at the pool, reading under the shade of a tree, and evenings entertaining outside while grilling up some great food.
Summertime, to me, is synonymous with tranquility. That is, until you go to fire up the grill with a yard full of guests coming only to find that you're out of propane. That tranquility quickly ramps up to a code orange stress level.
You're scrambling trying to get the last details for your gathering pulled together and you're not about to head to the store to exchange your grill tank. That's when you enlist your significant other to this much-dreaded mission.
The tank is disconnected from the grill, put in the car and lugged up to the store. Then you have to find someone to unlock the cage so you can swap out your tank, pay for it and put this highly explosive device in your car. In my experience, a broad range of expletives typically accompany such an endeavor.
Well, dare I say that someone has actually come up with a better way for such an unpleasant task?
Thomas Dury's company, Bring It Home Propane, makes running out of propane a thing of the past.
In short, you'd call up Dury or sign up online (http://bringithomepropane.com), leave your empty tank, and he comes and swaps it out for a full one at a price that is comparable to the exchange cages.
If you're technically challenged, he'll even hook the new one up for an additional nominal fee.
And, if you're really smart, you'll sign up for a regularly scheduled service that would prevent ever running out of propane again. Dury says the typical griller can expect to get about 17 uses out of one tank. (Are we all trying to count now how many times we've used our current tank?)
Just think: No more half-grilled chicken or steak that you then have to throw into the oven to finish cooking. No more driving around with a tank that could detonate under the right circumstances.
So how does one come up with such a great service idea? In talking with Dury, it grew out of his other business, Bring It Home Delivery, a service where people with small cars can call him to pick up their purchases from the big-box stores (you know, things like furniture, lumber, mulch, Christmas trees and, of course, grills).
Dury's sister came up with the idea of adding the propane exchange to his menu of services. Dury's wife, Marjory, tells me: “It was such a simple idea – a no-brainer.”
He hooked up with Freeman's Gas, one of the largest propane dealers in the Southeast. They helped him get his own facility out by the airport where tanks are inspected for safety before being refilled. Freeman's also assisted Dury in getting fully licensed and insured.
With the help of his wife and two children, Clint and Marjory, he's able to serve quite a large piece of Charlotte. From Independence to Interstate 77 and from downtown (or is it uptown?) south to our area, you'll find Dury delivering tanks.
He likens himself to a grown-up version of the ice cream man, and tells me stories of being in neighborhoods making deliveries as folks chase him down for help. So if you see him, don't hesitate to stop him.
“Once people sign up to use us, they will never go back to lugging their tank again,” he said.
Thanks to Thomas Dury, peace and tranquility are restored to the backyards of Charlotte.