Taylor Refrigeration in St. Augustine, Fla., has been in business close to 60 years.

“When a customer calls you, don’t think you are too important to call them back.” That willingness to quickly return a customer’s call - be it a call for service or a complaint - has been one reason that Taylor Refrigeration & Air Conditioning of St. Augustine, Fla., has been in business for close to 60 years.

The quote comes from the company’s founder, Mario Taylor Sr., who is 82 years old and still comes to the office regularly. His son Rebel is president, daughter Trudy Ellen is vice president, grandson Wade is general manager, and another grandson Luke is a technician. There is also a fourth generation in the wings. For in addition to eight grandchildren, Mario Taylor Sr. has nine great-grandchildren.

The founder recalls his interest in refrigeration started during World War II when refrigeration technicians were often airlifted to the ship he was aboard. He would help those techs in the service work.



He and a couple of others started Taylor Refrigeration from his garage in 1951 doing mainly commercial refrigeration work - coolers, freezers, ice boxes, etc. But by the mid-1950s “the population got used to air conditioning in stores and banks,” said Mario Taylor, and wanted it in their homes. So the company became Taylor Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.

Today about 90 percent of the company’s work is air conditioning, said Wade Taylor. The business has grown from three people to 15, but the service vans still travel about a 50-mile radius on calls. It is just that there are a lot more people, homes, and businesses in those 50 miles these days.

“We use the K.I.S.S. system, Keep It Simple Silly,” said Wade Taylor. “Do a good job correctly for a fair price and with a smile on your face, and chances are we’ll earn business for life.”



Three generations of Taylors are involved in Taylor Refrigeration.

FOLLOWING THE FAMILY

Wade Taylor had actually planned for a career outside of HVACR. He graduated from college with a degree in physics and was told by some to look for jobs that could pay better. But having worked for his family since age 14, he decided to become part of the third generation in the business.

“I can work here and build a future, while spending time with my wife and kids. It is a decision I have never regretted,” he said.

In the entire history of the company, it has been a Carrier dealer and, in fact, is the longest running Carrier dealer to date, according to the manufacturer. Part of that can be traced to Mario Taylor Sr. recalling it was Carrier equipment that was often brought aboard his ship during WWII. “I was always impressed with Carrier’s commitment to quality,” Mario Taylor said.

Recently, the contracting company was awarded the President’s Award given to Carrier Factory Authorized Dealers “who exemplify superior customer service, industry expertise, operational excellence, and business effectiveness,” according to the manufacturer. They were one of only 30 Carrier dealers chosen for the honor.



Clara and Mario Taylor celebrate Taylor Refrigeration earning a President’s Award from Carrier.

THE FUTURE

While the company now operates out of a single location in St. Augustine, Wade Taylor said the goal is to eventually have more than one location - if anything, to shorten the driving distances and travel times of its technicians.

The company averages more than $2 million in annual sales and business has held steady during the re- cent rocky economic times, in part, by continuing to focus on the add-on and replacement market, rather than new construction.

The Taylors rely on a high profile in the community as well as customer satisfaction.

Publication Date: 01/19/2009