Many Delaware Valley businesses are struggling to stay afloat as indoor operations have ceased once again just as the cold weather is driving people indoors.

These challenges have motivated businesses to innovate, with some finding creative ways to balance the pandemic with the holiday season, while also helping their fellow business owners.

Great Valley Propane in Malvern is one example of the community embracing the spirit of giving when generosity is most needed.

Great Valley Propane has operated in the Chester County area since 2006. Its sister store, Haly Home Comfort, originally Haly Oil, first opened its doors in 1985. Owner Bud Haly says for 35 years he has prioritized his customers and community.

“We’re a family-owned business,” the Home Comfort website says. “We live where you live, we raise our kids here, and we strive to have a positive impact on the environment. Our community is your community, and your friends are our friends.”

To ease the challenges the community currently faces, Haly’s Great Valley Propane has started offering free propane fill-ups to local, family-owned restaurants while indoor dining is suspended, helping those restaurants who are having to heat outside dining areas that have been hastily added in the wake of the pandemic.

Great Valley Propane made the offer Dec. 11 on its Facebook page, also posting in the Feed Us West Chester and Surrounding Areas Facebook group, a digital community of local business owners, workers and community members.

Randy Dehaven, ofGreat Valley Propane’s Service Department, filling up propane tanks for local restaurants

Scott Levene, sales and marketing manager of Haly Home Comfort/Great Valley Propane, said of the offer, “We always look for an opportunity to help our community. With the recent rules put in place in the state of Pennsylvania, such as indoor dining being re-suspended, we saw a great opportunity to help our local restaurants. All businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, but we feel that the restaurants have possibly suffered the most.”

Great Valley Propane has not yet placed a concluding date for fill-ups since they are hopeful that businesses will return to normal as quickly as possible, Levene explained.

“We have made great friends with many of the family-owned restaurants in our area over the years and understand what they are going through. As soon as we put [the offer] out, we received a tremendous amount of praise and appreciation from the community.

A number of businesses have already responded to the offer and received free propane. Levene said he is unsure of just how many businesses they have serviced but many of them have expressed that they will use Great Valley Propane as their supplier going forward.

Harry’s The Neighborhood Place of Sadsburyville was one of the businesses that accepted the offer for free fill-ups and responded in kind — bringing their famous hot dogs to Great Valley Propane out of appreciation.

The pandemic has affected Great Valley Propane in the opposite way than local restaurants. As an essential service, it has remained open throughout the shutdowns.

“Business is busier than ever!” said Levene of both Haly companies. “More of our customers are home now, thus using more heat for their home.”

The colder winter months have also led to increased business for Haly Home Comfort and Great Valley Propane.  Aware of how many families are struggling financially, Great Valley Propane extends different payment methods to suit the customer. “We also work with each family specifically if there is an emergency.”

“Haly Home Comfort and Great Valley Propane is committed to helping our community at every opportunity. Thousands of residents in this community trust us to provide total comfort to their home. We are growing every year and always promise to treat each customer as family! If anyone needs support, please feel free to reach out to us anytime,” Levene added.

Businesses can bring barbecue tanks and grill bottles to the Great Valley Propane location at 57 Lancaster Avenue on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10 a.m. and noon. For larger tanks, restaurants are advised to call 610-251-2203 to schedule a delivery.