When Waterbury first started in 1950, it was started with the basic concept of hard work, technical knowledge, team work and treating the customer right. Those concepts are still at the foundation for Waterbury’s success. We also run with the theory that we treat employees like family and customers like friends. Waterbury’s continued success is driven by each and every employee who embodies these thoughts.
The Waterbury company was founded in 1950 by a heating repairman named Don Bliss. For the first few years, Don worked by himself doing repairs on oil furnaces, then converting old oil burners to gas burners when the gas company came to town. The Waterbury Company thrived with Don’s hard work, technical knowledge and knowing how to make the customer happy.
A few years down the road, Don developed a relationship with George Schaffer from Schaffer Reality. As this relationship grew, Don decided to start doing the heating and sheet metal in the new homes being built in the hilltop area and in the new leaders addition, working with Duane Ronning and Mr. Penny, the newest and most prominent builders in Sioux Falls. Now, keep in mind that during this time air conditioning was not in existence, so with the invention of air conditioners and the growth of the community, Waterbury grew.
In 1985, Don decided to retire and sold the business to Pete Ackerman and Bob Ritter. Now, Pete and Bob had worked at the wholesale house Bartley Lindsay, so Pete had the technical knowledge and Bob had the office management skills; together, they set out to grow the company! However, the late 1980’s economy had not provided the growth they expected. During their short time as owners of Waterbury, they employed a handful of service and installation technicians, one was still employed well into the 2000’s and one of whom goes on to become Waterbury’s next owner.
As Pete and Bob struggled with growing the company in the marginal economy, the partnership decided to split ways. Pete had left and Bob wanted to in the near future and looked for someone to take over. In 1990, Tom Stritecky became part owner and in 1991, became full owner when Bob left. With 3 or 4 employees and the will to make it work, Tom moved forward. With a great customer base and the improving economy, Tom leveraged what he could to attract new jobs. Building the residential replacement and service business was the goal, however, the new construction installations were needed to provide the cash flow to keep the operation successful. As time went on, we were able to move the business more to the replacement and service side of the business and less to the new construction.
Then, in 1995, an opportunity to gather forces and grow Waterbury’s strength in the residential market, Waterbury purchased competitor Weber Heating and moved back to West 12th Street. The new facility gave Waterbury ample room for growth and an excellent location in Sioux Falls. After the acquisition Waterbury grew to approximately 15 employees and with the rapidly growing economy Waterbury really started to thrive. In 2000, Waterbury purchased Service Experts, a national company that took off in Sioux Falls, giving Waterbury the customer base to take them to the next level.
The spark that propelled Waterbury would be with the addition of the electrical department in 2006, followed by the plumbing department in 2009. With the ability to cross market all parts of the mechanical retail, it only suggested that Waterbury’s growth was forthcoming. Then in 2011, Waterbury added duct cleaning to the list of services, making Waterbury the only contractor in the Sioux Falls area that provided all of these services.
You’re thinking, “So where is Mr. Waterbury?” There never was a Mr. Waterbury! The name came from a popular furnace they used to install in Sioux Falls in the 1950’s and 60’s, and was discontinued in 1962, when they were purchased by a small heating and air conditioning manufacturer in Minneapolis named Honeywell.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Waterbury Heating & Cooling, Inc. of Sioux Falls, SD, is not affiliated with, nor a licensee of, Honeywell Corporation. Further, Waterbury Heating & Cooling, Inc. is not a successor to “Waterbury Furnace,” the former manufacturer of heating equipment acquired by Honeywell in or about 1962. Waterbury Heating & Cooling, Inc. has never manufactured, supplied or dealt in asbestos-containing equipment, materials or goods. Any claim that Waterbury Heating & Cooling, Inc., at any time past, has manufactured or supplied such items is a false assertion.