HARRISBURG, PA — Eshenaurs Fuels Inc. is more than just a mechanical contractor, fuel oil retailer, and residential heating, air conditioning, and plumbing service company. Not that the company has to add any more feathers to its cap.

The company is run by president Craig Eshenaur and employs over 80 workers, earning revenues in the $7 million to $9 million range. The company can attribute its success to roll-ups of smaller local contractors and an aggressive public relations/advertising presence. The company takes great pride in servicing its customers, but the company and its employees are just as proud of what they give to non-customers as well.

The company that began as a fuel oil dealer in 1953 is now known around Harrisburg as a contracting company that cares a great deal about the less fortunate people in the community. Don Fry, corporate secretary, explained Eshenaurs’ involvement.

“Eight years ago we were looking for something we could do for our community,” Fry said. “We wanted to know how we could help some of the charitable organizations that we had worked with in the past.

“We started a blanket drive that could be administered through local schools and civic organizations. In seven years, we have donated 15,000 blankets to the Salvation Army, Goodwill Indus-tries, and the Bethesda Mission.”

During that tenure, local businesses Karns Food Market and Boscov’s Department Stores have added their help to the program, donating blankets and acting as collection agencies.

“The program starts in late September and runs for five weeks, where blankets are collected at selected areas,” said Fry. “In early November, the blankets are delivered to needy families and individuals.”

Involving Customers

Eshenaurs invites its customers and prospective customers to join the blanket drive by giving a $5 service voucher to any group or individual who brings in a blanket.

Fry said his company keeps customers informed of the blanket drive and other company news by distributing a quarterly newsletter.

“We talk about our business, spotlight employees, and talk about energy-saving tips, etc.,” he added. “The mailing goes to 4,000 customers.”

Fry said the company constantly looks for advantages over larger companies. Characterizing his company as very competitive, he attributes its strength to some very simple philosophies.

“We think we do things differently because we look at customer names and don’t view them as numbers,” he said. “We take the time to get to know most customers personally.”

The company still relies heavily on fuel oil sales — it has 2,600 accounts — but is also proud of the many other markets it participates in, such as new installations, retrofits, and plumbing.

“If we have a customer from the plumbing side, we try to move them over into one of our other businesses,” Fry said.

The combination of community service and a diverse number of niche businesses has made Eshenaurs a rock-solid member of the Harrisburg hvacr trade, and a good neighbor as well.

Harrisburg: It’s Not Just a Capital City

HARRISBURG, PA — There’s more to Harrisburg than meets the eye. Not only is it the capital of Pennsylvania, it is also home to many different industries and many successful service businesses — in our case, many successful hvacr service contractors.

When it comes to success, there aren’t too many mechanical contractors that can match McClure Co. and Sponaugle Co. The two mechanical contractors have a combined revenue of $130 million and employ 750 workers. They are two of the most prominent names in the trade throughout Harrisburg and mid-Pennsylvania. Yet they are as different as two hvacr contractors could be.

While McClure enjoys its position as a wholly owned subsidiary of local electric utility Pennsylvania Power & Light and attributes much of its success to that relationship, Sponaugle owes its success to its close relationship to Hershey interest in nearby Hershey, PA.

Their unique stories are on pages 31 and 32 of this edition of The News. Their success stories, along with the success of Eshenaurs Fuels Inc. (profiled on this page), demonstrate that good service and a dedication to employees are two strong reasons why mechanical contractors can be among the most copied and respected business models in today’s service industries.

Publication date: 09/18/2000