Phillip and Jeanie Brunell of Worcester founded Pioneer Oil in 1957, using their basement as a stockroom, their cars as service vehicles and operating one oil delivery truck that they parked in their driveway at the end of a long day.
Phillip already knew the business pretty well. His father had sold milk, kerosene and coal from a horse-drawn wagon on the east side of Worcester during the early 1900s.
When Phillip grew up, he started delivering oil for a now-defunct company in the same neighborhoods his father traveled. Eventually, Phillip had saved enough money to buy his own truck and he become a contract carrier for another oil company.
More trucks and drivers were added as the years passed. One of the drivers was Phillip’s son, Bob, who worked for Pioneer until the day of his passing in April 2014.
Eventually, Phillip and Bob struck out on their own, and Pioneer Oil was born. Business was slow in the beginning as they decided not to accept customers from their prior employer, but eventually, the company established itself.
In 1961, the office was moved to 483 Pleasant St. where in addition to operating the oil business, Pioneer sold and serviced air conditioners—a service that continues today. In 1971, the office relocated to 450 Southbridge St.
Shortly thereafter, Bob’s son, David, entered the business after high school and started delivering oil, later moving to the service department. In 1983, Pioneer moved to 60 Canterbury St. in Worcester, its current home, and Dave assumed the presidency from Bob in 1987. All of Dave’s three sons have worked for Pioneer Oil as well, giving Pioneer the distinction of offering four generations of family service to our friends and neighbors.
In 2005, Pioneer Oil opened a second office at 59 Technology Park Drive in Sturbridge. This office, with 200,000 gallons of storage, allows the company to have a secure supply of oil. The Sturbridge location was built to surpass Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements and has additional motorized valves to limit the risk of any spills.
Recently, Pioneer widened its energy offerings by offering propane deliveries and services. To reflect this important expansion, Pioneer changed its name to Pioneer Oil and Propane.