BLUE MOUNTAIN – When Butch and Von Coombs started Coombs Gas in September 1969, they didn’t know that their story would come full circle two generations later. After nearly 50 years in the propane business, they have now sold and passed down both their heritage and their company to their eldest grandson, Braxton Coombs.
Even at a young age, Braxton had a passion and an interest for what his grandparents were doing in Blue Mountain. “I can still remember being eight or nine years old, in the summer when I was off from school, waiting in anticipation for my granddad to come pick me up at 5:15 in the morning to take me down to Coombs Gas. I had a uniform and everything,” said Braxton Coombs.
According to family members, with a work rag in his back pocket and his Coombs Gas uniform on, Braxton would go to Ruby’s Café early in the morning with his grandfather for breakfast, and as he walked inside, the then eight-year-old would lean onto the counter and say, “Ruby, I need some coffee!” And then away he’d go after breakfast to “work” at Coombs Gas.
Braxton hasn’t changed much since then – he still loves coffee, and he still has the work ethic that began as a boy, spending time at his
grandparents’ propane business.
Since those early years, Braxton has graduated from Mississippi State University with degrees in both business and economics and has married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Joslin.
He has spent the majority of his career working as a management consultant for companies such as Accenture, SunTrust and Ernst & Young while living in the Washington, DC and Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan areas. During his time in consulting, Braxton’s primary focus had been to improve and grow businesses in the financial services industry.
With the purchase of Coombs Gas in October, Braxton and Elizabeth are now back in their hometown of New Albany and close to their family roots. They have two daughters, Allie (4) and Lily (almost 2).
Coombs Gas is one of the few family-owned and operated, local propane companies in the Southeastern United States. Three generations of the Coombs family have provided propane to both residential and commercial customers in North Mississippi and Western Tennessee. Additionally, they sell and install a variety of propane and natural gas products such as fireplace inserts, gas logs, tankless water heaters, gas appliances, and generators. Next September will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of Coombs Gas.