Ragamuffin Persons of the Year respect parade’s tradition

Ferrantino Fuel owners looking forward to big march

BAY RIDGE – Two brothers who operate a fuel oil and energy company that has been in their family for more than 100 years have been named Persons of the Year by the organizers of the 53rd annual Ragamuffin Parade.

Mark and Rodger Loughlin Jr., owners of Ferrantino Fuel, will be marching at the head of the parade along with Grand Marshal Philip Guarnieri, the CEO of Empire State Bank, when the big parade takes place on Saturday, Sept. 28 on Third Avenue.

“We’re honored. We’ve been involved with the Ragamuffin Parade for over 20 years,” Mark Loughlin 47, told the Home Reporter during a recent interview in the offices of Ferrantino Fuel at 180 Ninth St. in Gowanus. The brothers also own FFC Energy, a company dealing in natural gas, electricity and solar energy.

“We’ve always been supporters of the neighborhood. We love Brooklyn,” Rodger Loughlin Jr., 45, said.

The Loughlin brothers (Mark is the president and CFO of Ferrantino Fuel, and Rodger is the president and CEO) have donated funds to the Ragamuffin Parade in the past and said they believe family-oriented events like the parade are an important part of life in Brooklyn.

Other organizations and institutions they have supported over the years include: the Guild for Exceptional Children, the 68th Precinct Youth Council, Xaverian High School, the Bay Ridge Ambulance Volunteer Organization (BRAVO), the American Cancer Society, the Salvation Army, the 17th of May Parade, the Norwegian Christian Home and the American Legion.

Ferrantino Fuel is a member of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

The Loughlins said they were excited to learn that Ragamuffin Inc., the non-profit group that sponsors the parade, had named them Persons of the Year. The designation is deeply meaningful to them, according to Mark Loughlin.

“Ragamuffin is a great Bay Ridge tradition, and my brother and I know a lot about tradition,” he said.

The Loughlin Brothers are carrying on a family tradition.

Ferrantino Fuel got its start in 1911 as the Ferrantino Ice and Coal Company, back in the days when homes were heated by coal, and refrigerators, known as ice boxes, contained huge chunks of ice. The company was founded by Angelo Ferrantino, an Italian immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1901.

In 1935, the Ferrantino Ice and Coal Company became the Ferrantino Fuel Corporation to keep up with the changing times. Homeowners were now heating their houses with oil.

Mark and Rodger’s grandmother, Grace Ferrantino, who was Angelo’s daughter, joined her father in the business. “She worked here from the time she was 15, 16 years old. She was way ahead of her time. She worked in the business and her dad trusted her. She ran the office and he ran the outside operation,” Mark Loughlin said.

Grace Ferrantino was something of a visionary. For example, it was her decision to move the company from coal heat to oil heat in 1935.

Photo by Michael Alba
Mark and Rodger Loughlin (Mark is on the left) have expanded their fuel oil business to include natural gas, electricity and solar energy.

Grace’s daughter Lucretia, is Mark and Rodger’s mother. Lucretia and her husband, Rodger Loughlin Sr., went into the business and Rodger encouraged his sons to learn about it.

Young Rodger would accompany his father on jobs from the time he was six years old.

The brothers grew up in Dyker Heights. Both attended St. Bernadette School. Mark Loughlin is a graduate of Xaverian High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business and psychology from St. Francis College. Rodger graduated from LaSalle Academy and is also a graduate of St. Francis College, earning a BA in business administration and management.

What Rodger Loughlin learned most from watching his father all those years ago was how to treat customers. “My brother and I were brought up the old-fashioned way. We believe in honesty, dependability and reliability. You treat everyone with respect,” Rodger Loughlin Jr. said.

“We go out there and we talk directly to the customers. We’re very hands-on,” Mark Loughlin said.

Ferrantino Fuel and FFC Energy service all types of clients, from one-family homes to multi-unit apartment houses.

The brothers run a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation that handles oil, gas, plumbing, electrical services, wiring, thermostats, repairs and installations. They also sell oil and handle conversions from oil to gas and from gas to oil.

With America’s changing energy consumption and the increasing interest in environmental conservation, the Loughlins have adapted to keep up with the times. “We also do energy conservation. We’ll come to your house and tell you how you can save on your heating costs,” Mark Loughlin said.

Like the parade they will be marching in on Sept. 28, Mark and Rodger Loughlin are upholding a tradition while at the same time moving forward into the future.

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