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The History of Colby & Gale, Inc. at Bristol Area Lions 09/17/2014

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Robert*Clifford, President of Colby & Gale, Inc. was the speaker at the September 15, meeting of the Bristol Area Lions Club.

Mr. Clifford was born at Miles, raised in Newcastle and graduated from Lincoln Academy in 1975 as Class President. Graduating from Florida State University and receiving his ROTC commission, he entered the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant.

While serving in Germany he earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Boston University. He joined Colby & Gale in 1991.

Colby & Gale, Inc. started in April, 1946 with the purchase of Etheridge Oil which had been in business since 1933. The company had two trucks, Ken Colby drove one and Charlie Gale drove the other.

Colby sold his share of the business to Gale in 1957 who ran the company until his death in 1961. Neil Sprague an employee purchased the company from his widow. He continued to expand the company. In 1966 the Laundromat was added. In 1977 Jimmy Phillips power equipment was acquired.

In 1979 Neil Sprague retired and sold the business to Jimmy Phillips and Barry Knott. In 1991 Phillips retired and sold his half of the business to Danny Hallowell and in 1993 Barry Knott retired and sold his half to his son-in-law Robert Clifford. In 2001, Danny Hallowell retired and employee Verne Verney became an owner.


Today, the company has 43 employees, the main office on Biscay Road serving over 7,000 customers with fuel oil, kerosene, and propane and 24-hour service.

Phillips Power Products next door sells and services lawn and garden equipment. It is managed by Vice President Verne Verney.

Colby & Gale owns the full service Irving gas station on Main Street. In addition, they own the Elm Street Plaza which leases a Laundromat, barber shop, consignment shop, Radio Shack and 10 apartments upstairs. Behind that a former restaurant is now leased to Muscongus Bay Oyster.

Lion John Janell (left) thanks Robert Clifford.

Lion John Janell (left) thanks Robert Clifford.

In 2005 Clifford with Todd Maurer co-founded the Community Energy Fund of Lincoln County. This non-profit provides fuel assistance funds to residents who meet income guidelines. At the end of this year it will be 10 years old and will have dispensed more than $1 million in aid with no overhead expenses.

At the Bristol Area Lions business meeting that followed Treasurer, Michael Hope reported on the success of the various summer fundraising projects: the raffle ticket and book sales, trunk sales, golf tournament and silent auction.

The next meeting on Monday, Oct. 6 at the Willing Workers Hall will feature David DeLong speaking on the history of Hanna’s in New Harbor. To make dinner reservations for that meeting, please call Herb Watson at 677-6191. To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, contact Walt Johansson at 677-2584.


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