We hit a tremendous milestone this year, eighty-five years in business! Granddaddy McCarthy started Glades Gas in Okeechobee, Florida in 1929, following his arrival from Nebraska in 1911.
In 1929 after the stock market crashed, he started a side business aside from the D.B. McCarthy General Store on the northwest corner of Park Street and 5th Ave in Okeechobee. He brought in propane gas refrigerators by train from Tampa, and for the first time, every resident in Okeechobee was offered refrigeration in their homes.When Daniel founded Glades Gas Company in 1929, he offered the Okeechobee housewife a luxury, which had not been available to her previously. She was now able to have refrigerators powered by propane in her home.
McCarthy’s only son, Daniel M. (Dennis’ Dad) returned from the service (WWII) and in 1946 married Ruth Ottens from St Louis. The following year the young couple founded the Clewiston Glades Gas and they moved from Okeechobee to that community.
In 1954, Indiantown Gas Company came into the company fold. Timer Powers had worked with the McCarthy family from the time he was a young teen and when the Indiantown office was opened, he left as manager of the Okeechobee office and took over the Indiantown operation which his family still operates today.
Daniel Benedict McCarthy died on December 16, 1963 following a bout with pneumonia. He had been a vibrant part of Okeechobee and its economic development for more than 50 years at the time of his death.
In 1987, Monica McCarthy Clark took over the reins of her grandfather’s company. Monica’s brother Kevin managed the Clewiston operation and Dennis and Karen operate the Belle Glade facility.
Currently, the only Glades Gas still operating is the Belle Glade office. Okeechobee and Clewiston sold off the propane side of the operation to Florida Public Utilities in February of 2013. They continue to operate the air conditioning side.
The Family Business Institute reports that only 30 percent of family businesses survive into the second generation. Twelve percent survive into the third and only three percent make it into the fourth generation and beyond. I guess that makes us a pretty rare statistic. Everyday business for us is just a family tradition.