You don't have to travel far to see a Blue Rhino -- the cerulean rhinoceros with a flaming snout is displayed across all 50 states in the US and Puerto Rico. Blue Rhino exchanges propane cylinders (the ones used for gas grills). Customers exchange empty cylinders for prefilled ones at hardware and convenience stores, including Home Depot, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, and Circle K. In an effort to gain greater control over distribution, the company has acquired additional independent propane distributors that deliver the cylinders to stores. The company also serves the paintball market through Rhino Power, which provides a retail-based CO2 tank exchange program. Blue Rhino is a unit of propane powerhouse Ferrellgas.
The Blue Rhino Corporation was founded in 1994 by Billy Prim. His vision was to build a national brand of propane tank exchange that would capitalize on the growth in gas grill sales and year-round grilling activities. Ferrellgas acquired Blue Rhino in 2004; Prim is now a Ferrellgas Board member. – less