HEATING OIL COMPANIES – PORTLAND, OR
About Priestley Oil Company
The Priestley & Sons Heating Oil LLC of today represents the evolution of the Priestley Family businesses for moreFuel Oil Companies, Portland Oregon than 50 years. In 1955, two years after the birth of his first child, Chester “Chet the Jet” Priestley bought an old black tanker truck and began delivering heating oil to his friends and neighbors in his SE Portland neighborhood. Back in those days, most everyone had heating oil and Chet didn’t need to travel far to service his customers. Chet had formerly worked in his father’s moving business, Priestley & Sons Moving, throughout his school years at Franklin High School. His wife Darlene, who also attended Franklin HS, was his dispatcher and Office Mgr. Chet’s motto was “Fill ‘em and Bill ‘em, which caused some concern for Darlene, who was famous for her efforts to collect the money! Many a long-time customer will tell you about why they have been loyal to the Priestley are all these years. More than once, Chet was known to pull his pants over his pajamas to make a delivery to a customer who had run out late in the evening. Priestley’s practice of going the extra mile for their customers has earned them many loyal repeat customers over the years. In fact, much of their business today is still based on referrals.
In the late 1980’s, Chet’s first son, Michael, joined him in the business. Chet Priestley Heating Oil operated in Southeast Portland, where he still lived, and Michael started AAA Heating Oil, servicing the rest of the Portland Metro Area, including the West side of town. The two operated their businesses out of their homes in Southeast and Lake Oswego, continuing to employ family members as dispatchers and office help. Over time, the old trucks had to make way for new ones and along with that, came a change of name to Priestley & Sons Heating Oil. By that time, Mike’s oldest son, Ben, had graduated from college and joined the business as a truck driver. With the business in capable hands, Chet was able to retire in 2001. He lives locally and enjoys seeing his sons and grandsons on a regular basis.
More change came in 2005, as the family grew. Ben’s first son was born and Ben moved on to work in the corporate world. Mike hired his first “out-of-family” employees and worked hard to instill in them the values of this small family business. Customers first—be flexible and accommodating—appreciate the urgency of being out of heat, etc. Governmental zoning codes and regulations no longer allowed parking the oil trucks behind their homes to do evening deliveries the way Chet used to, so Mike moved the trucking part of the business to a commercial lot on NE Columbia Blvd. The new space gave more room for the trucking operation while allowing the Priestley’s to continue to operate efficiently out of their home. Being home- based gives the Priestley’s the ability to keep overhead low and catch those emergency messages left at all hours of the night!
Mike and his wife, Jani Priestley, are involved in day-to-day operations; in fact, they are the ones answering the phones most days. They still enjoy the interaction with long-time customers and continue to be excited about each new customer as well! What do Mike and Jani most want you to know about them? They want their customers to feel appreciated and well cared-for. They want you to know that they are careful with your property, they are listening to your concerns and they are service minded. They get to know the specifics of your property and are sensitive to the possibility that there may be special needs with your particular oil tank’s situation. Most of all, the Priestley’s want you know that your business is appreciated and that relationships still matter in business!