Suppliers of fuel to homes and businesses since 1925
In 1925, tin miner Dick Opie was in his early fifties when East Pool Mine closed down, leaving him jobless. He borrowed some money, bought a pony and trap and started a door-to-door paraffin round in Redruth. This was the beginning of Opie Oils.
The area was largely rural and most homes without electricity relied on paraffin for heating and lighting. The business grew; in 1926, Dick was joined by his son Gordon, aged 14, and together they worked the rounds. In 1938, they bought their first motorised van. Gordon used the van on the good roads whilst his father continued to use the horse-drawn wagon on the rough roads.
When in 1941 Gordon was called up to join the Army, his wife Phyllis and his two sisters ran the business during the war years, delivering rationed paraffin to about 1000 homes and businesses. Gordon returned in 1946 and they bought a bigger van and moved into larger premises in Falmouth Road, Redruth where they opened up a shop and a depot. A part of the business still operates there today!
The Opies retired in 1968 and the business changed hands twice before the present owners bought the business in 1984.
The Barnards (the current owners) continued to run a small fleet of mini-tankers until 1985 when the delivery capacity was increased by purchasing two 4,500 litre tankers, enabling the customer base to be increased to 2,500.
The great family tradition of Opie Oils was continued in 1993 when their eldest son Simon joined the business to take the company into the next millennium.
Today, Opie Oils has two sites and operates a fleet of 6 modern tankers from 6,000 – 12,000 litres capacity. Opie Oils delivers heating oil (kerosene) and services boilers for more than 10,000 customers throughout mid and west Cornwall.
Since 2006, Opie Oils has built a successful online performance oils business, www.opieoils.co.uk. Operating from a new 2000 sq ft warehouse at its depot in Redruth, this business offers a huge range of automotive and specialist oils for retail and trade purchase with delivery throughout the UK and Europe.
In 2011, Guy - the Barnard's youngest son - took over the running of the online business, continuing the great family tradition of Opie Oils.
Tin miner Dick Opie on a paraffin round