BEECHER - At least one hundred people stopped by Mary's Place Restaurant in Beecher Monday morning, but they were looking for more than a hot meal.
They want propane to heat their homes, and Larsen Cooperative of New London says it can help.
The company was signing up new customers at the restaurant.
Larsen sales representative Kim Leisner says the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association asked her company to find additional propane for people in the Northwoods.
"Things fell into place and we were able to obtain some propane for this area," said Leisner.
Larsen is charging new customers seven dollars a gallon, which is more than four times the normal cost of propane.
"It is what it is," said Leisner. "We have to pay the price we have to pay to get it."
She says most of that cost is due to transportation.
"We're getting our propane out of Conway, Kansas," Leisner said. "Our truck drivers that drive down there wait in line from eight to 12 hours, and then they come back. We pay them the whole time."
Delores Reitz of Amberg says her propane tank is less than 30 percent full.
"It bothers me," said Reitz. "I can't even sleep at night. Each day you think, 'Am I going to run out today?'"
She didn't sign up for Larsen's propane.
Reitz says her only choice is to wait until her current provider comes through with more gas.
"I'm on a fixed income. I couldn't afford it," she said.
Right now, the cost doesn't matter to Lee Pullen of Beecher. His propane tank only has 13 percent of supply remaining.
"My wife has breast cancer," said Pullen. "She's in treatment. So we had been keeping the house at 73, right now we are keeping it at 58."
Pullen is thankful Larsen will be able to provide him with propane.
Leisner says the company has 27,000 gallons of propane earmarked for this area. She hopes customers who signed up Monday will get a delivery of propane by the end of the week.
Leisner says she knows the cost is high. She emphasizes that Larsen is a co-op, so any profits go back to customers.
If people need help to pay for heat, Leisner encourages them to get assistance.
"Don't be proud, call for assistance," she said.
People in Marinette County who want to learn more about heating assistance are asked to call the county's economic support office at (715) 732-7840.