Yarra Valley (Vic) residents love a local gas pair

By Gordon Campbell 27/01/2021

Michael Alexandrou and partner Jacqui, are Yarra Valley Gas, Vic.

In October 2016, Michael reached out to me because he read of a frightening experience I had had..

You see, I received a solicitor’s letter. It was threatening me with a fine of up to $14,000 because, on this website when it was barely months old, I had innocently used a tradename owned by a huge international gas producer.

At age 79, I had known for years that ignorance of a law is no defense. So yes, through ignorance, I was guilty.
But was heavy-handed legal bullying really necessary? A simple phone call would have had me scurrying apologetically to correct my error.

In a personal message, Michael wrote.  “I am an independent gas supplier. If it’s any consolation, I’ve also had a few legal letters from them.  My only advice is – stick to it – the power of social media and people-power is amazing.

And Michael was right. I changed fifteen hundred mentions of that trade name to “swap”, resolving not to give one word of free publicity to that company ever.

Before COVID-19, there were months when this website has recorded 100,00 page views. I wonder who is the biggest loser?

And that’s what Michael of Yarra Valley Gas does – reaches out to people

On the Yarra Valley Gas Facebook page, (see here) Michael recently posted some really poignant thoughts. Here is a slightly edited version:

“Dealing with the Coronavirus has been one of the biggest challenges we have faced since becoming a completely independent Australian owned and operated LPG company.

Many nights have been spent researching the effects of Covid-19, not only on our business but on the lives of our customers, our team, our friends, our families, and our community.

Most of Australia’s prestigious vineyards and conference centers are based in the Yarra Valley. We talked to many that buy gas from us. Tragically, all have suffered and some have lost millions because of event cancellations and lost wine sales.

We have listened to CFA captains, school principals, teachers, restaurant owners, baristas.
We have engaged with members of parliament, doctors, police officers, farmers, mechanics, service station owners. All have been affected – each with an individual story to tell. Some are financially ok but some are not. Some are emotionally ok, many are not”.

Caring so much for their community

“This Coronavirus has taught us much about our business and us as business owners. It’s taught us that we need to adapt, we need to be flexible and we need to listen.

Since the pandemic began in mid-March we have answered, on average, over 140 phone calls per day. Calls from customers wanting to pay an invoice, to placing an order, and some to say they have lost their jobs and now have no income.

The conversations have been real and some have been quite confronting.

Last week the accident that took the lives of 4 police officers also hit us hard.

163 of our customers are classed as emergency service workers. They are police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, CFA staff, and paramedics. They are all hurting.

One thing we have learned is that behind every front door we deliver to, there is a family just like ours.

Things are hard at the moment but they will get better.

On behalf of Jac and me – thank you for choosing us as your LPG supplier and approved gas bottle tester“.

 

01/11/20 – David Brown wrote:

Your gas bottle refills site is fantastic, incredibly helpful, and so easy to use.