Breslau-based BRC Mechanical takes local to new levels.
Owned by Breslau residents Nancy Dalgard and her husband Bob Rebelo, the business has operated out of four different locations in the village in its 12-year history. Having recently moved into a brand-new building all their own, Dalgard hopes they’ll be staying put for a while.
BRC Mechanical’s new location on the west side of Woolwich Street offers 3,350 square feet of space, more than three times the square footage of their old location.
A combined reception and showroom in the front showcases all the products they sell – fireplaces, water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces and geothermal units. In the back is a shop and storage area, and there’s a meeting room upstairs, used for staff training and public information sessions.
Dalgard and Rebelo started BRC Mechanical in 1998, working out of a small shop on their property.
Thinking back, Dalgard just shakes her head at the audacity of their timing. They had a new house and a young son, and she’d lost her job when the medical supply company she was working for went bankrupt.
They started out doing a lot of subcontracting, installing furnaces and air conditioners. Rebelo had all the required licences and Dalgard worked alongside him. It was two years before they hired their first employee and five before they felt they had their feet squarely under them.
“We both really love this industry so there’s nothing we’d rather do, but it was tough,” Dalgard said.
It was also difficult being a woman in a male-dominated industry, Dalgard said. More women are moving into the trades these days, but 12 years ago they were few and far between. That experience has proven valuable as she spends more time in the office handling orders, sales and organization, because she understands all aspects of the job.
“There’s nothing our guys have done that I haven’t done at some point.”
The company has grown to 12 employees, but customer service is just as important as it was in the early days, Dalgard said. They keep track of how their customers find them, and more than 80 per cent of their business comes through referrals.
They’re also seeing an increase in customer knowledge, particularly when it comes to geothermal. Geothermal clients have researched the technology for two years on average before they call BRC Mechanical, Dalgard said.
Two years ago, oil prices went up and stayed up for several months, only coming down with the onset of the recession. For many homeowners, that price climb was the final push they needed to switch to geothermal heat.
BRC Mechanical started doing geothermal installations five years ago, but they already make up 30 to 40 per cent of the company’s business. The new building is heated with geothermal, and the unit is on display in the showroom, so people can see it at work. The walls are decorated with photos of installations in progress, so potential customers are aware just what the process looks like.
BRC Mechanical moved into its new headquarters last December, but the busy winter months mean the finishing touches were put in place this week. The business is throwing open the doors of the new building for a community open house June 17 from 2 to 8 p.m.