It all started in 1933 with Etheridge Oil, a small oil company owned by Foss Etheridge. The company operated with only four 15,000 gallon above ground tanks. Then in 1944, Charlie Gale and Ken Colby went to work for Etheridge Oil and by April 1946 purchased the business, changing the name to Colby & Gale, Inc. The company had two trucks; Charlie drove one and Ken drove the other.
By 1947 Colby & Gale had grown into a fuel oil and bottle gas company. They purchased three trucks, increasing their capacity to move 650 to 1,000 gallons at a time. Neil Sprague joined the company that year, working as a book keeper and manning the pumps. Neil left to join the Navy in 1950 and returned in 1954.
Ken Colby sold his share of the business to Charlie Gale in 1957. Charlie continued to run the company until his death in December 1961. Neil Sprague bought Colby & Gale from Charlie’s widow, Kathryn, and began another expansion. In 1966 the Laundromat was added. Colby & Gale acquired Jimmy Phillip‘s’ power equipment and named it Phillips Power Products in 1977.
In 1979 Neil retired, selling the business to Jimmy Phillips and Barry “Gus” Knott. Colby & Gale started to really grow in 1988 when six fuel tanks (four 15,000 gallon tanks and two 50,000 gallon tanks) were moved to our new location on Biscay Road. All six tanks are still in use today.
In April 1991, Jimmy Phillips retired, selling his half of the company to Danny Hallowell. In 1993, Barry Knott sold his half to Robert Clifford. In January 2001, long time employee Verne Verney became an owner after Danny Hallowell retired.
Now, in addition to an active fuel business that includes delivery of diesel, kerosene, propane and oil, Colby & Gale has expanded its business to include the Service Station in downtown Damariscotta, the Laundromat, and the apartment rentals and retail space at Elm Street Plaza. Colby & Gale has a 24 hour Service Department and 24 hour Visi -monitoring system available for seasonal customers.
From humble beginnings in 1933, Colby & Gale has grown into a full service, community based company, with 42 employees, tanks with capacity for 200,000 gallons, and 16 trucks which haul between 2,800 and 3,300 gallons each. Verne and Robert credit Colby & Gale’s 65-plus years in business to great relationships with their customers and successfully meeting the needs of their community.
Colby & Gale’s support for the community includes donations to the Lincoln County Little League, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the CLC YMCA, LincolnHealth, Lincoln Academy, Lions and Rotary Clubs, local Churches, Lincoln Theater, Pumpkinfest, sponsor of the band for the Damariscotta 4th of July celebration and much more!