As we near 70 years of service in the Hamel area, we want to celebrate our company history by telling you some interesting stories …
We sat down with our manager, Dusty Ernst, and asked him some questions about how Ernst Heating & Cooling got started.
The company was actually founded by Dusty’s grandfather, Al Ernst, back in 1951. Originally, Al bought a hardware store in Hamel from the Suhre family.
Over the years, in addition to selling all the standard hardware store products, Al would also deliver propane to customers that he sold gas-powered appliances to. Then customers started asking Al to install gas furnaces to go with the gas appliances he sold them and with the propane that he delivered. The combination of these two services meant that, over the years, his customers started trusting him more than anyone else to install their furnaces … even though he wasn’t even in the HVAC business, yet!
Ernst Heating & Cooling is born!
As legend has it … a man named Charlie Zahn from the Williamson HVAC manufacturer, (which was a big brand of the time) went to visit Al.
Charlie wanted to get Al to sell Williamson equipment. So Charlie went out to lunch with Al, and as Charlie was driving and pitching the idea of becoming an HVAC dealer, Al fell asleep.
Al woke up to Charlie asking, “So what do you think?” Al hadn’t heard what Charlie said but he replied, “Let’s do it.”
And that was how Ernst got started back in 1951!
Dusty takes over the business
We asked Dusty about when he first started learning about and becoming interested in the HVAC industry:
In the mid-2000s Dusty’s dad started taking him out on sales calls and teaching him to install systems. He recalled his very first job, where he was asked to go get a copper 1/2″ street 90 degree elbow from the truck, and was nervous because he had no idea what it was or what it looked like! But, with more of a description, he was able to locate the item. He says that was the moment that he knew he was hooked — hooked on the feeling of success, and getting the job done right!
Soon, Dusty was able to do the work independently, and also graduated from college with a business degree.
Now, about 10 years later, Dusty and his dad (who is retiring soon) manage a team of techs, installers, customer service reps, and more. We are constantly driving to grow the business, innovate, and make things even better for customers like you.