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Snow’s Fuel Company: Serving the Lower Cape
Over a Century of Service
When searching for heating oil, propane, and HVAC companies in the Cape Cod area, Snow’s is your trusted provider. As a local heating fuel company, we’re there for you when you need us!
Snow’s has been owned and operated by members of the Snow family for five generations. The family business consists of Snow’s Fuel Company, your trusted heating fuel company in Cape Cod, MA, and Snow’s Home & Garden, a retail store and garden center, both located on Main Street in Orleans, MA. In 2011, Snow’s opened a satellite home and garden retail store on Route 39 in Harwich, MA.
Our team of expert technicians and office staff are knowledgeable about all of our products and services, and we will happily work within your preferences and budget when it comes to your energy options. Learn about what some of our current customers have to say about Snow’s, or contact us to learn more about our company.
The ancestors of the Snow family were one of the seven families to settle Eastham and its off-shoot, Orleans. Since 1644, the Snow family has served the town both in government and business, a tradition that continues today. In the 1870s, Captain Aaron Snow transported coal, grain, and other items along the eastern coast aboard the merchant ship Nettie M. Rogers. He first conducted business from a shed and wharf he owned on Town Cove. There, friends and neighbors gathered to buy the conveniences he brought back for them. Over a century later, members of the Snow family continue Aaron’s tradition of accommodating customers.
Captain Aaron’s son and daughter-in-law, William and Annie Snow, established the first official Snow’s Store on Main Street in 1887. They dedicated part of their home (which stood in front of the current store) to the business and sold coal, wood, nails, hand tools, household items, gardening tools, and other supplies. Often, customers would find a sign on the store’s door from the proprietor: If you need anything, call out the back—I’ll be in the garden.
The arrival of the railroad opened the Cape to even greater economic development. A turntable and sidings were erected near the store. The town boys, including Will’s son, Harry, helped turn the train on the turntable for the return trip to Boston. William and Annie’s son, Harry, literally grew up in the store and, upon completing studies at Worcester Academy, returned to the Cape to learn the business. World War I, however, took the young businessman away from the store. Harry enlisted in the Army Signal Corps then transferred to the Army Air Corps. Letters home were filled with details about training and sightseeing—and a continuous preoccupation with the business. Harry wrote this note, postmarked November 11, 1918:
Here Monday A.M. Came through part of Alabama and am in my 24th state. Have seen half of the states of the Union. (like Virginia)—Train late as usual. Cancel Addie Crosby’s order for wood. Harry
Harry’s curiosity and keen intelligence made him a natural businessman. His warm and accommodating personality drove the business forward. He truly loved being with his customers and would stop whatever he was doing to find an item someone wanted—whether it was up in the attic or down in the basement. Upon William’s death in 1930, Annie and her son, Harry, ran the store in partnership. In 1940, the store celebrated its 54th anniversary with summer sales and the opening of a new Basement Store. Harry considered the expansion a feather in his cap. Not only was it the first basement store below Hyannis, but it provided another venue to showcase products, mount sales events, and mix with more people across the counter.
To accommodate a growing trade, the store was enlarged in 1906 and then again in 1922. The latter addition included a large center section, complete with second-floor apartments and a good-sized attic, along with a new wing—an exact replica of the original. During the years this building stood on Main Street, it gained a reputation for furnishing just about everything one might need to build, maintain, or decorate a house and care for the property around it. Local folklore maintained that, when in need of something, you could generally “find it at Snow’s.”
The 1950s were a significant decade for the growing store. Harry and wife Adeline’s three sons, William, Robert, and Stanley, joined the family business.
After graduating from Boston University, Bill returned to work full-time in the store in 1951. Five years later, after serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, Bob also returned. Like his brother Bob, Stan served in the Air Force during the war before coming back to Orleans in 1957.
The brothers united to conduct business in the small community, a business that depended on agreement and harmony among equals. To foster success, they concentrated on different areas. Bill focused on details in the office, Bob built up the domestic heating and service business, and Stan supervised the growing store. In turn, Harry’s sons married. Anne Snow, Bill’s wife, worked in the store’s office for more than 25 years. Stan’s wife, Bonnie, and Bob’s wife, Elisabeth, also became intricately linked to the store and its success.
Regrettably, the old store could not withstand the company’s continued growth. The building that had been enlarged many times from its modest beginnings was strained to its limits.
In 1970, Harry turned the first spade full of earth to start construction of a new, more modernized store behind the existing one. In April 1971, the old store closed and, without skipping a beat, the new store opened on the same day. As his sons entered another decade of store keeping, Harry Snow lived quietly in retirement until his death in 1977, a few months shy of his 90th birthday.
Business flourished under the leadership of the fourth generation. In 1983, the family dedicated a new addition. Four years later, the store celebrated its 100th anniversary. Like their fathers, Sidney H. and Susan Snow (Bill’s children) and James M. Snow (Stan’s son) literally grew up in the store and did everything from stocking merchandise to bagging birdseed. While their other siblings Penny, Julie, and Alan also worked at the store, Sid, James, and Susan chose to carry on the family business with the same commitment and dedication as the previous generations.
Sid currently serves as the President of the store, Jim has assumed the position of Vice President, and Susan is the Garden Center Manager. After years of research and planning, Sid and James proposed the store’s most significant expansion to date. In November 2000, the family opened the doors to a 12,000 square foot addition and a 3,000 square foot greenhouse. The tradition of accommodating customers now continues into the 21st century.