News & Press

Sandri Wins Best Family Business Award


The 2010 Family Business Association Awards for Massachusetts is an award program designed to promote and highlight some of the great achievements of Massachusetts-based, family owned businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The 2010 Family Business Association Awards for Massachusetts took place on October 21st at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, MA and was sponsored by the Family Business Association (FBA). The Family Business Association is an independent, non-profit organization focused on providing educational services and information to family businesses. The FBA’s mission is to support family businesses working through the complex issues they face every day.

Ed Tarlow, President of the FBA, noted “the Sandri family is an excellent example of what makes the USA great and strong!” Tarlow also explains that the FBA was formed in order to honor family businesses, such as Sandri, Inc., because its Founding Directors believe that family businesses are an essential and invaluable part of the business community that often go unnoticed. According to recent statistics, more than 80 % of all business enterprises in North America are family owned and operated. In fact, family businesses now account for 60% of total U.S. employment, 78% of all new jobs, and 65% of wages paid.

The Sandri Companies have a rich history spanning three generations. Acilio Remo (A.R.) Sandri began the business in 1930 with one gasoline service station located on Main Street in Greenfield. By 1962, A.R. was a successful Cities Service distributor in Franklin County with 26 service stations, a strong farm and commercial account base, and a fuel oil business of about 5 million gallons yearly. A.R. was searching for more ways to expand and grow his business and in 1964 Sun Oil Company offered him just that. The conversion to Sunoco products was completed by the next summer, and by 1969 Sandri's service stations numbered almost 50, with about 2,200 heating oil customers, and 230 commercial and farm gasoline accounts. A.R. Sandri, Inc. had now grown to serve two counties in Massachusetts and also the lower portions of Vermont and New Hampshire.

In 1969, A.R.’s son William (Bill) came to work for the business full-time. He began working in the business as a young boy doing various jobs during his summer vacations. By 1973, Bill had been handed the reigns of the company and was President of A.R. Sandri, Inc. He began a series of steps to take the company to the next level. The most impressive of these moves came in 1976 with the buyout of all of Sunoco's stations in Vermont and Western New Hampshire and Northeast New York. That move single-handedly put Sandri Inc in the forefront of Fuel Distribution in New England and resulted in the company becoming the largest distributor of Sunoco gasoline, fuels, and lubricants in the United States at the time.

Bill Sandri also furthered the diversification of the family business by becoming involved in the Golf and Restaurant Industry with the acquisition of Crumpin-Fox Club located in Bernardston, Ma and related businesses in 1987. Years later with his addition of two more golf courses; Fox Hollow Golf Club in New Port Richey, Florida and Fox Hopyard Golf Club in East Haddam, Connecticut, the Sandri name has become synonymous with award winning golf as well as energy and fuel.

In 2005, The Sandri Companies welcomed Timothy Van Epps, Bill’s Sandri’s son-in-law, into the family business as Executive Vice President. Tim came with a strong background in financial sales and a fresh outlook that has contributed to a new energy within the Sandri organization. In 2007, Bill Sandri promoted Van Epps to President of the Sandri Companies. Van Epps set his mind toward capitalizing on the ever expanding opportunities within the Energy Industry by leading the expansion of the Sandri product line beyond its traditional fossil fuel roots into the realm of renewable energy products and services.

Van Epp’s leadership over the past 3 years has lead Sandri to become uniquely situated to help residents and business owners throughout Western New England find an energy solution that works for their needs and circumstances. “Our current goal is to be a full service energy company that offers the widest range of energy services to meet the diverse needs of our customers,” said Van Epps. “We’ll leverage our current knowledge and expertise as much as possible in our efforts to meet that goal, and if there’s a gap then we’ll fill it.” Sandri has recently acquired two businesses (Propell Energy and Deerfield Valley Heating and Cooling) to supplement their current strengths and expand their renewable energy product line.

“My grandfather founded this company 80 years ago out of a gas station on Main Street in Greenfield,” said Wendy (Sandri) Van Epps. “It’s been growing ever since. It’s such an honor to have received this award in recognition of the generosity that our family has been able to show over the years to our community, as well as the innovation and diversification that my dad and Tim have brought to Sandri. We are humbled, and I know that my grandfather would be so proud.”

The Sandri organization was nominated for the award by Kevin Keyo of Northwestern Mutual who became familiar with the western Massachusetts based company through their insurance benefit program. “The FBA looks to recognize and support the many businesses that face the unique challenges associated with running a successful family business,” explains Keyo, who is also on the FBA board of directors. He added, “The story of how the Sandri Companies started, evolved and successfully transitioned ownership through to the next generation on two separate occasions is a great American success story. I admire their ability to remain viable for over 80 years and thought they would be an excellent candidate for the family business awards. I was ecstatic to see them win in a very competitive category.”

A panel of independent judges evaluated family businesses’ applications and selected the Winners based primarily on the following criteria: business success, positive business and family linkages, multi-generational family involvement, contributions to the community and industry, and innovative business practices or strategies.

Any Massachusetts-based family-owned business that had transitioned from at least one generation to the next, and whose policies and business practices have had a positive impact on the business and community, were eligible nominees. In fact, the FBA received over 450 nominations of family-owned businesses for the 2010 Family Business Association Awards for Massachusetts.

Sandri’s award application highlighted the many ways in which the company contributes and gives back to the local community including a $100,000 contribution to Baystate Franklin Medical center in 2006, the $700,000 that Bill Sandri’s annual Crumpin Fox Pro-AM has raised on behalf of Franklin County Big Brother Big Sister Association over the past 29 years, a $10,000 underwriting sponsorship of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s Green River Festival, and the strong support they show for local educational institutions.

“Our family is honored to be chosen as the winner of the 2010 Family Business Award. Sandri is a family business, but that family encompasses all of our employees, customers and the communities that we service. We will continue to strive to be a company that is worthy of such an honor,” said Van Epps.


About Sandri
Sandri ( is a family owned and operated full-service energy provider offering a variety of fuels and HVAC equipment to thousands of customers throughout the Northeast. Leveraging their vast knowledge and experience in energy related products and petroleum distribution, Sandri has recently added a renewable energy division offering solar hot water and geothermal installations, wood pellet fuel and heating systems, and photovoltaic installations as well as distribution of these products to professional installers throughout the Northeast.

About the 2010 Family Business Association Awards for Massachusetts and the FBA
The 2010 Family Business Association Awards for Massachusetts is run by the Family Business Association, Inc (FBA). The FBA is an independent, non-profit, 501 c3 organization, and is supported by various corporate, academic and media sponsors. Additionally, it is supported by a number of professional and non-profit organizations, as well as several local chambers of commerce. For more information about the 2010 Family Business Association Awards and/or the FBA, please visit or call 1-617-218-2062 for further information.

About Sandri