Back in 1932, when Anyzek Plumbing, Heating & Cooling first opened for business, the median value of a house in New Jersey was $7,426. A pound of pasta, then referred to as macaroni, cost 15 cents. Sirloin steak was 34 cents a pound. A loaf of bread cost 7 cents. A brand-new Chevrolet Confederate set you back $635.
Much has changed since then. Anyzek’s products and services have expanded and evolved. But the quality of our work in every facet of our fourth-generation family business has remained steadfast. That’s how we’ve grown and thrived for almost 90 years.
Here’s what we give our customers:
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Edward S. Anyzek started his own coal business in 1932. He worked during the day as a toggler (a person who stretches leather hides) in a leather factory in Philadelphia.
His first truck was a 1928 Ford stake body with closed sides, which he used to deliver coal in the evening and on the weekends. His wife, Julia, would sometimes ride shotgun with his brother to upstate Pennsylvania to pick up a load of coal.
Edward’s son, who grew up to be Edmund “Ed” Anyzek Sr., was told that when they heard of a weight checkpoint they would stop and shovel off excess coal so they would not be fined. Edward’s truck held eight tons of coal. He and some helpers would shovel off the coal into a small flatbed truck and he would deliver the coal in 100-pound potato sack bags, dumping the coal into the customer’s cellar window.
Julia ran the coal yard and sold 100-pound bags of coal out of their home at 827 Liberty Street in Camden to customers. About 400 tons of coal was stocked in their yard for the season.
In the early years of business, Edward bought a 1936 Diamond T high-lift coal truck but soon after purchasing it the truck got wrecked, forcing him to go back to the flatbed truck for his deliveries. He bought a 1936 White three-ton high-lift truck around 1942. To start this truck in the cold weather, Edward had to keep the battery on charge all night and would park the truck on a pile of horse manure and cover it with a tarp, the manure would generate heat to keep the engine warm. Boy, did it smell in the mornings!
Ed Sr. sometimes joined his father on the trips to the coal mines. On many of these trips, the heater was not turned on in the truck because Edward had been told he wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel if he was cold. They would stop at Edward’s favorite restaurant at the halfway point. Ed Sr. remembered one time where it was so cold in the truck that he thought he would freeze. When they got to the restaurant, Ed Sr. was crying, and the owner asked him what was the matter, and Ed Sr. was replied that he was freezing. The restaurant owner let Ed Sr. stay with him at the restaurant until his father returned with his load of coal. The owner then took Ed Sr. into the kitchen and sat him on a chair in front of the oven with the door open so he could get warm. Edward installed a heater in the truck after that, but they never had a radio.
When Ed Sr. was 15, he learned how to drive the old coal truck and made deliveries in the city of Camden on his own.
Edward decided to go into the oil business in 1950, buying a 1932 International KB7 1,200-gallon oil truck with five compartments. It was an old ESSO farm delivery truck. The smallest compartment was 145 gallons. The Anyzek family still has the tank from this truck to this day and plan to restore the tank and install it on a period-correct cab and chassis.
Edward retired from the coal business in the 1950s but continued with the oil business. He joined Calso Petroleum on Route 38 in Cherry Hill as one of their dealers, staying with them until they closed. Then he started to buy from Federal Oil Company in Camden. The owner was Chris Weber who was the mayor of Delaware Township (Cherry Hill now). He was one great guy.
The Anyzek’s primary place of business was from their home at 827 Liberty Street in Camden. Our phone number was 856-964-1275. Julia did all the bookkeeping. In the early 1950s, Edward and Ed Sr. went to Camden County Vocational School in Pennsauken for twice-a-week evening classes about oil burner installations and services. At the age of 17, Ed Sr. was doing heater cleaning for $9.50 each plus parts. His first oil burner installation was for the family’s milkman, Ed, on Constitution Road in Fairview. Ed was an Anyzek customer for 30 years until he passed away.
On Sept. 1, 1956, Ed Sr. Barbara Batezel of Gloucester City. Also in 1956, he entered into a partnership with his parents that lasted until 1958 when he and Barbara started their own business delivering heating oil and performing oil burner service and installing heaters from their home at 316 South 3rd Street in Gloucester City. Barbara oversaw paying all bills and sending out all statements. Their first oil truck was a 1946 Reo which was a 1,200-gallon truck which they paid $800 for. In 1962, he got a Camden City plumbing license and added plumbing services to the company. In 1964, Ed Sr. and Barbara moved to 38 Yale Avenue in Gloucester City and ran Anyzek Fuel from their basement office.
In 1966, Ed Sr. and Barb purchased a brand-new GMC 2,000-gallon oil truck. The same year, turned his company and his accounts over to Ed Sr. A couple of years later in 1973, Ed Sr. and Barbara purchased Topeka Oil Company which was located in Mantua, and in 1975 purchased H. Rhoda and Son Fuel Company which was located on Cumberland Street in Gloucester City. In 1978, they purchased Penn Jersey Coal and Oil, located on North 27th Street in Camden from Al Dematos. Penn Jersey had 10,000 pounds of coal in stock, putting them back in the coal business. They would deliver coal by the ton to people’s homes or they could come to Ed Sr. and Barbara’s home and buy 50-pound bags of coal or 5-gallon cans of kerosene.
Due to the growing size of Anyzek Fuel, Ed Sr. and Barbara moved the company to its current location at 916 Market Street Gloucester City. Moving the business out of their basement was a big change for Ed Sr. and Barb. It was very convenient being able to work right in their home but moving gave them much more space to grow the business.
Ed Jr. graduated high school from Camden County Vocational School in 1985 with certifications in both Plumbing and Heating. He then went to Camden County College for a year and a half while working part-time for Anyzek Fuel. After three semesters of college, Ed Jr. decided it was time to go work for Anyzek Fuel full time. In 1995, Ed Jr. took and passed the New Jersey Masters Plumbers test. His current Master Plumbers number is 9802. Prior to taking the Master Plumbers test, Ed Jr. took a class over at Philadelphia Community College for the New Jersey State Plumbing Course test.
Anyzek Fuel purchased Pavonia Fuel/Bell Coal, located in Camden NJ. They later purchased the coal customer list from Granite Coal in Pennsauken, C. Harry Price Coal in Burlington, and Peter Kandle Coal in Pitman.
In 1986, realizing that air conditioning had become more of a necessity than a luxury for their customers, the Anyzeks started doing air conditioning repairs and installations. They acquired M.D. Crane and Co. from Williamstown in 1992. In February 1993 Barb, unfortunately, had a heart attack and decided to retire from Anyzek Fuel.
Ed Jr. married his wife Patty on June 1, 1996. That August, Patty started working for Anyzek Fuel and became a very important part of the company, taking over the day-to-day office operations.
With Patty running the office, Ed Sr. and Ed Jr. decided it was time to expand Anyzek Fuel. Over the next several years, the following acquisitions of quality companies have been added: Porch and Robb Plumbing of Gloucester in 1996, Williams Fuel of Williamstown in 1997, L&M and Vandergrift of Glassboro in 1999, Craig of Berlin and Obergfell of Riverside in 2005, OLT Brothers of Pennsauken in 2006, Granate Fuel of Pennsauken in 2011, and Tiver Fuel of Medford in 2012.
Sadly, on Sept.14, 2002 our founder Edward S. Anyzek peacefully passed away in his home at the age of 97.
In 2010, Anyzek Fuel stopped selling coal and started referring their coal customers over to Woodstown Ice & Coal.
Today, Anyzek Fuel is a nice-sized oil company along with plumbing, heating, and A/C services, which is presently run by Ed Jr. and Patty.
On March 17, 2015, Ed Sr. passed away. Although his passing was an extremely difficult time for our family, the family know that he would expect the same quality service and the quality acquisitions of Anyzek Fuel to continue. Following his passing, they added Dobbs Fuel in Cherry Hill and General Fuel in Woodbury in 2016 and took over the oil deliveries of Vaughan Oil in 2017.
Sadly, tragedy struck the Anyzek family again on December 17, 2016, with the untimely passing of Barbara.
A new era is about to begin with Anyzek Fuel celebrating its 85th Anniversary. Edmund E. Anyzek III has graduated from Gloucester Catholic and will be attending Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Penn., where he will be studying HVAC, Plumbing, and Business.
We look forward to seeing what the next 85 years bring!