This excerpt taken from the VLG 10-K filed Sep 28, 2006.
We currently have more than 211,000 customers, none of which accounted for more than 1.0% of net sales in fiscal 2006. We serve a number of industries, including the manufacturing, industrial, metal production and fabrication, construction, healthcare, and mining, oil and chemicals, and other industries, as well as the propane needs of our residential customers. The following chart illustrates the percentage of our net sales represented by each of these industries:
Our customer base also includes smaller distributors in close proximity to our larger facilities, who chose to purchase certain products from us.
We believe that the packaged gas industry has been characterized by relatively high customer loyalty because of the importance of quality service and personal relationships. We believe this focus on customer service and relationships has made it difficult for new entrants in our geographic markets to acquire our existing customers.