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‘Stay Alive and Thrive’: How Three College Friends Built a Business That’s Helping Fuel the Region’s Economy

running-a-business | Read Time: 3 minutes

By WSFS Contributor | Published: July 2020


The idea to start a business together began on July 4, 2017, three friends with strong entrepreneurial spirits brainstorming ideas for a successful business and industry to break in to.

As rowing team members heading into their senior year at the University of Delaware, Amedeo DeLuca, Bailey O’Brien and Sam Bacharach had no experience in the commercial fueling industry. But as they bounced ideas off one another, they kept coming back to their experience working on construction sites and noticing the influx of commercial vehicles coming  and going.

“We thought there might be a market for a regional, 24/7 fuel delivery service that brings fuel to the fleets rather than the drivers having to take time out of their schedules to visit diesel fueling stations,” says Amedeo. “For the next year, we researched the market, speaking with gas station owners and other industry-related businesses to find out more about the market’s fueling needs.”

One year later, in July 2018, D150 Fueling began operating out of Newark, Del. thanks to some funding raised through connections with the rowing team and a consultative relationship with their bank, WSFS.

“Early on, we met with Glenn Kocher at WSFS and he walked through some of the options available to us as small business owners that were not on our radar,” says Amedeo. “From the start, our motto has been ‘stay alive and thrive’, applying what we learned as rowers. Rowing is a grind, it’s sheer effort. You must be 100% dedicated and building and running a business is the same. I think the WSFS team saw that in us.”

Says Kocher, WSFS’ Senior Vice President and Chief Retail Lending Officer, “Amedeo, Bailey and Sam are ambitious, hardworking, thoughtful young entrepreneurs who enjoy learning and building a business.   They had a creative business model and early success in gathering customers and early stage capital, and we saw some opportunities for them to grow.”

Soon D150 and the WSFS team of Kocher, Small Business Lending Team Leader Amy Flynn and SBA Relationship Manager Greg Bula developed a strategy to gain access to additional funding and cash flow through an SBA 7(a) Express Loan and letters of credit through the Delaware Capital Access Program to refinance trucks and increase cash flow and buying capacity with refineries.

“I’ve been in banking 40 years and they were new to all this,” says Kocher. “I enjoyed sharing my experiences with them and having the opportunity to work with them. They are always learning, seeking guidance from attorneys, accountants, and other entrepreneurs. And they are incredibly dedicated to their business, even driving the fueling trucks themselves night and day to deliver to their customers.”

“They’re support and guidance is amazing,” says Amedeo. “The WSFS team continues to be massively helpful to us as we build D150 Fueling.”

What started as an idea among friends has now grown into a burgeoning business delivering 20,000 gallons of fuel to up to 600 trucks a day, 450 in Delaware alone.

“We’re proud to be a Delaware-based business serving the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond,” says Amedeo. “Now more than ever, we’re focused on delivering needed fuel to drivers where and when they need it, so they can keep moving and spend more time with their families when the day is over. The work they are doing to help the economy by delivering goods, materials and services to consumers and businesses is amazing, and we’re grateful to be a part of it.”

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