An early Blue Rhino display.
People ask us all the time where the name "Blue Rhino" came from. Well, 2009 marks our 15th birthday. It all started back in 1994 with a man named Billy Prim.
Billy was from a small town in North Carolina, but he thought big. An entrepreneur at heart, Billy wanted to take his convenience store business to the next level. He found what he was looking for on a trip to Paris: a propane cylinder exchange display at a local gas station.
Billy thought cylinder exchange might work in the states, and he was right. It didn't take him long to convince a couple hundred stores in North Carolina to try it, and sales were good. So he decided to start a national tank exchange company that would capitalize on gas grill sales, which were starting to grow dramatically. Still thinking big, Billy also decided he wanted to build a brand, not just some no-name commodity. Something like Owens Corning's Pink Panther.®
In 1994, Billy went on a photo safari trip in South Africa. According to the book Rhino Tough, inspiration struck when Billy zoomed his camera in on a rhino.
"'It's a natural!' he told his wife. 'He's tough, sturdy, and looks like a tank.' And the propane flame, he said, would make a perfect rhino horn." Adding the color blue -- the color of a propane flame -- brought it all together.
With that, Blue Rhino® came to life. A national distribution network was constructed, retailer partnerships were established, and a new brand was born.
Today, Billy Prim's vision is a reality. Blue Rhino is America's #1 propane tank exchange brand. But it doesn't stop there.
Blue Rhino is also a leading designer and marketer of barbecue grills, outdoor heaters, mosquito traps, and other outdoor appliances. In fact, you will find a Blue Rhino product in the middle of half a billion barbecue events nationwide every year!
Blue Rhino is now a proud part of Ferrellgas,® a propane industry leader and good neighbor to more than 1 million residential, agricultural, industrial, and commercial customers.
Yet Blue Rhino hasn't forgotten its roots. We still love those rhinos. Blue Rhino is a sponsor of the American Association of Zookeepers' Bowling for Rhinos, an annual bowl-a-thon that raises money for rhino conservation. And we are even making a difference for the environment.
Blue Rhino - It's not just propane™!
For more info on Blue Rhino, read Stan Swofford, Rhino Tough (Winston-Salem, NC: Primier LLC, 2006). It's available from Amazon.com.