MILTON – Tri County Heating & Cooling recently opened its doors for business in Milton.
The man behind the business is Ritchie Lake, a red seal oil burner mechanic and red seal refrigeration and air conditioner mechanic, who has lived in Queens County his whole life. He’s spent many years working in Lunenburg, Queens and Shelburne counties with various organizations.
Lake is still busy getting the operation up and running - he says he’s getting his signs and truck logo made – but it will include a variety of services for people along the South Shore.
“My business is going to be servicing oil furnaces, boilers, mini splits, central home heating systems, ventilation systems,” said Lake.
His services will include sales and repairs, he added.
“A lot of the services that people in Queens County need, they have to get from (the) Bridgewater area, where I can save them some money because I’m local,” said Lake, describing part of the reason he decided to open his business. “And I’ve always wanted to.”
A long time ago, Lake worked as an electrician with Steel and Engine Products Limited. He says working in the shipyard industry was up and down. When he saw a job in the paper for an HVAC equipment installer, he applied thinking he would not get the job. In the end, he was hired.
From there, he says he went through the apprenticeship processes, worked his hours and got his training.
“I started in 1998 and just kept working and signing up for different trades,” he said.
Opening his own business is something he’s been thinking about for the past five years. He almost took the plunge to open a business three years ago, but decided the time wasn’t right then.
This will be Lake’s first step into running a business. There are some challenges ahead, he knows - getting the word out so people know someone local has the skills they need is a key one, he says.
“My challenge is to provide an excellent service for people to want to switch over to me,” he said.
But, Lake is also excited about the opportunities. He says he likes to go and chat with people.
“I’m an empathetic person. I like to talk people,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to getting out in the public.”
The products Lake’s business will sell are top quality, he said. Some of the brands include Lennox, LG and Mitsubishi, which he says have good equipment with good warranties.
To help him with the business side of things, Lake says he’s been using the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre (AEC). Part of what the AEC does is provide training to individuals, businesses and not-for-profits.
“I’ve been taking training courses with them now since January,” said Lake.
That training, he explains, has been free.
“It’s been a big help and a really good service,” he said.
Lake says he plans to be on-call 24-hours a day, and his rates will remain the same in the evenings and on weekends.
“I just want to be able to respond to the customers’ problems as quickly as possible,” he said.
Lake’s wife, Julie Wigglesworth, will also be helping with the business by answering phone calls, helping to dispatch and doing some paperwork.
He says he and his wife are excited. Lake adds because the business is in his community, he feels as though he’s giving back.
To find out more about Ritchie Lake’s business, visit http://www.tricountyhc.ca/. For more information about the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre, visit http://www.acadiaentrepreneurshipcentre.com/what-we-do/.